Sunday, 30 April 2017

TOYS ARE TOYS AND COLOURS ARE COLOURS- GENDER STEREOTYPING CHALLENGED

More and more I am seeing rows of pink in toy shops. Especially the big ones like ToysRus.  Other rows with exciting toys that have boys all over the packaging. Similar exciting toys have been added with girls on the packaging but these toys have been changed in to pink and purple versions....... because girls can't have the blue or red version. I mean they wouldn't want one that colour would they?

Well you know what........ When i was growing up, we didn't care what colour a toy was. Everything was bold and bright. Primary colours. Dolls buggies were mini versions of the real thing. Mini orange and brown striped Maclarans like mum and dad had! My dolls pram was navy corduroy  and my sisters was burgundy.  This is what I found in ToyRus today.......






Dolls with pink packaging, buggies in pink and lilac, not a single item of clothing for a boy doll. No jeans, babygrows or tops that are not pink. Baths and high chairs... no they are pink too. My advice to buy gender neutral for your children's dolls..... go to Build a Bear!! The clothes they sell are cool and all the children in my setting use the build a bear clothing on my dolls.

(This photo was taken form this blog http://notimemommy.com/category/build-a-bear/)

Lego have really lost respect in my view the past few years. They used to be the role for gender neutral toys and to be fair I see no need for them to have sold out and introduce their "Lego friends" brand. This is pastel colours and the sets pretty much show girls shopping and drinking tea in cafes. Sometimes they are running a boutique or a puppy parlor! Is this all our girls can aspire too?




They already have a brand that appeals to both genders with strong roles for each. Their "city" range shows both genders as firefighters, law enforcement, vets and so on. As does their "Easy to build" range.



 Their Elves range is a great introduction to fantasy without the extreme pink packaging and the use of male and female Elves means it is appealing to all.



Again they have a lot of great ranges that appeal to both genders with male and female characters that use pink in a way that is not directed at females. That do not push a gender and look could not be described as male or female toys. Even their Duplo brand which is aimed at their younger consumers can appeal to each... so why ruin it Lego? Why not stand up and say you are not going to get dragged down this marketing route........ Look at the cool toys you can produce!









Hot Wheels seem to have the packaging covered. Bold colours or natural packaging. Sadly the images they pu on the back show only boys playing with their toy. I love Hot wheels. making ramps and loops. I look after so many children who feel the same as i did as a child. The car box and garage is one of the most played with toys in my setting by both genders. So why market this at boys? You are missing a whole section of the population and all it would take is to show both boys and girls using the toy on the packaging!



Shopkins. Now this is very much aimed at girls. That was probably the market that was being targeted but let me tell you something. My 11 year old lad likes shopkins. But it bothers him that everything is so pink and pastel. Even the larger accessories to add to your collection are pink. I go shopping... in supermarkets, that's what Shopkins is based on....... but I don't see all this pink. So how about making the next series a little more gender neutral. I recon my son will be buying more of your products then and so will more boys!




Mega Blox are one of the worst....... Instead of one product for all.... we must add pink and then brand it to girls. Why?






Vtech though.... they have to be the worst offenders in this. Pushing gender stereo type from birth. WHY do they feel the need to brand the same toy in two colours? Blue and pink. Conditioning starting from birth.... This is where it starts. Our children's open minds start to be programmed to pink and blue. Girls and boys toys.





As I reached the "PINK ZONE" in ToysRus I actually saw a dad and his two boys walking towards me. The dad stopped at the sight of pink and turned around. Saying to his boys "This is all the girls toys,There's nothing for you up there"....... and off they went.......  A whole section of toys and experiences denied these boys because the shop became very pink!

The facts are clear. Children need a wide range of toys and experiences to develop in a well rounded way. They are bright beings and quite capable of deciding for themselves what they enjoy and what toys interest them. Marketing and packaging is now influencing our children and guiding them to what the manufacturers consider socially acceptable. This creates generations of children and inevitably adults who have be pre conditioned to like pink because they are girls. like cars and guns because they are boys. Why and how have we let this happen. It has been creeping up on us for years but the divide is so great now that it has become more obvious...... but can we change it back? Has it gone too far to reverse?

In my childcare setting children have full access to all toys no matter what. Colour is considered when I buy them and I try and keep things primary or neutral coloured. Sadly once the children leave me and start school I start to hear gender stereotyping showing it's very unwelcome face.
  "That's a boys toy"  or "That's a girl colour".  I was actually asked why one of the toddlers in my care, a little girl, had a Thomas the tank engine lunch box. Girls don't have lunch boxes like that.

I am teaching them a new phrase.... 

"There are no boy's toys and girl's colours. Toys are toys and colours are colours!"

I could rant for hours.  I have soooooo many photos from toys trip to the toy shop. I fear I may loose your interest if I carry on though. You get the idea! I will do another post showing the good brands I found today though! Some Brands just seem to get it!

1 comment:

  1. I didn't realise how much of this goes on until I spent some time in a toy shop once my daughter was born. I really don't see any need for it, yet marketing departments seem intent on pushing gender stereotypes as a way of making sales. It just needs enough rejection by consumers for them to change their tune. Lego saddens me the most. It's so unnecessary from such a universally appealing toy.

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