After pressure from parents group, Let Toys Be Toys, Toys ‘R’ Us stores in the UK will stop gender-specific marketing to kids. Take a second to realize how cool this is before you freak out about how your little girls are allowed to love pink and your little boys are allowed to love Star Wars.
The organization has lobbied retailers, marketers and advertisers across the U.K. to raise awareness of gender-stereotyped toys. Let Toys Be Toys has made agreements with popular British chains such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, The Entertainer and TK Maxx to alter the way they market toys.
Toys R Us’ pact with Let Toys Be Toys will apply only to the retail giant’s U.K. stores, but a spokesperson for the company said it does not have gender-based sections in any of its U.S. stores. Instead, its stores are organized by product type.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to see an end to “girls” sections and “boys” sections. Ultimately, it is about giving kids more choices – not pigeon-holing them into choosing toys that are “gender appropriate.” Every time I write about scaling back gender-specific marketing, there are always a ton of people that say things like this:
This is ridiculous. I really feel that all of this PC bull has gone too far. I actually love the idea of my daughter thinking she is a princess, but she also considers herself strong and powerful. Can’t she be all of these things?
… So they advertise traditional gender roles. That’s okay. These are children. Five-year-old kids are not going to get upset because a girl is wearing princess shoes and a boy is in Star Wars. It’s the parents that create this strife, this struggle. If a girl wants Star Wars shoes, then she’ll pick them out. If a boy wants princess shoes, then that’s what he’ll choose. It doesn’t matter what they play with or what they wear…
I don’t feel that it’s the responsibility of a major corporation to make my child feel comfortable in what he chooses to wear or play with. That’s my job. Plain and simple.
I’m so tired of this argument. Girls ARE princesses, Boys ARE super heroes or whatever. Perhaps if we’d move back to those ideas, we wouldn’t have so many people out there confused about their gender.
I’m not denying that some girls love pink and some boys love Darth Vader, but I think marketing specifically to genders and making separate sections for girls and boys in toy stores is tantamount to shaping a child’s interests for them. How comfortable will a young boy be wandering down the “girl toy” aisle? Same question for a little girl? Why are we imposing these restrictions and parameters at a corporate level? No one’s saying “stop making pink toys.” We’re just asking, “do they all have to be pink?”
In the seventies, when we played with Legos and Lincoln Logs and Play Doh, there was no separate marketing for girls and boys; Legos and Play Doh were primary colors and Lincoln Logs were brown. Even my Holly Hobby EZ Bake Oven was blue. Somewhere along the line, marketing for kids when way over the gender-specific top. All moms like me are saying is – let’s reel that in a little.