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Gender biased marketing of childrens toys

(45 Posts)
Nelliemoser Sat 19-Jan-13 00:16:15

I have picked up this facebook site from my DDs FB page.

It is an attempt to convince toy manufacturers and retailers to stop aggressively marketing childrens toys in a manner that rigidy aims at gender specific toys.

We were supposed to be the woman's movement generation and to do what we could to avoid gender stereotyping children. Looking at the some of the examples that have been posted on FB things have fallen back a very long way.

Look at this facebook webpage.!/pages/Let-Toys-Be-Toys-For-Girls-and-Boys/104658933034521
This is a quote I hope from the above link.
"Help us tell M&S and other retailers that science is for everyone, not just boys! Sign the petition"

Bags Sat 19-Jan-13 07:22:20

And when we've sorted the toys issue, let's start on the clothes!

Mind you, people who buy things for children don't actually have to take any notice of the advertising ploys. I never did when buying toys, and my daughters were happy to wear so-called boys' shoes/socks/T-shirts/trousers if they fitted. I think all this 'genderisation' has got much worse in the last twety years than it used to be.

JessM Sat 19-Jan-13 08:23:08

I get fed up with ELC doing things like easels in pink and blue. But presumably the idea is that one might need more than one per family... Little brother cannot possibly use big sister's easel.
Certainly has bags almost impossible to buy clothes that can be passed down from brother to sister or vice versa, these days. Suits the retailers though doesn't it.

absent Sat 19-Jan-13 08:25:19

'Twas ever thus. Go to a toy museum and look at the Victorian and Edwardian toys; think back to the fifties when many of us were young. Parents and grandparents are the ones who will most influence what their children play with. I think my parents were ahead of their time when they gave me a clockwork train set one Christmas – at my request.

mollie65 Sun 20-Jan-13 08:21:23

this is being taken out of proportion - it is not a serious issue. Gender preference will out no matter what the toys given. But I do despair of the 'pink' thing on everything from computers to phones to cars smile

JessM Sun 20-Jan-13 08:39:09

Do you not think mollie that presenting some toys as male and some toys as female is one of the factors that conditions children to think that science, technology etc are boys stuff and housework is girls stuff. Roll on the day when toy vaccuum cleaners are marketed to boys I say!
In other countries there are much higher proportions of women doing degrees in subjects like engineering, software, physics and maths than this country.

Bags Sun 20-Jan-13 08:40:45

I disagree, mollie. I think children can become frightened of "not being the same as" their peers of the same gender unless one mocks all the marketing crap. I think mocking the gender nonsense is important for boosting a child's self-esteem and ability to stand out from the crowd and dare to be "different". It's a great strength to have.

So, for instance, it really does matter if science toys are labelled for 'boys'.

Kali Sun 20-Jan-13 09:22:37

I agree with the last two posts. Recently saw in ASDA two packets of stickers of words. Boys in blue contained words like train and mud, girls in pink words included doll and fluffy. No kidding. What kind of message does that send? angry

MiceElf Sun 20-Jan-13 09:25:01

Well said Bags. Have you seen the pressure group (two mothers only I think) called Pink Stinks? Like them on FB to see their efforts.

Kali Sun 20-Jan-13 09:29:56


feetlebaum Sun 20-Jan-13 09:34:47

The odd thing is that a century or so ago, it was pink for a boy, blue for a girl... I wonder how it got switched around?

MiceElf Sun 20-Jan-13 09:34:58

Two young mothers who were appalled by the gender stereotyping of toys and products for children. They bring it to the notice if the media in whatever way they can their (and many others) distaste at this and they also lobby the manufactures and retailers.

annodomini Sun 20-Jan-13 10:27:07

Computers are a great leveller. All my GC, regardless of gender, make use of technology one way or another. GD2 and GS2 (cousins) are both devotees of Lego and are great designers. I agree that gender stereotyping of young children's toys is pernicious, but take a look at your older GC. Have the girls survived the pink phase to enjoy their own interests whatever those may be and have the boys developed interests that they can share with friends of either gender - even with their sisters? And are they mostly surgically attached to DSs, i-Phones, tablets....?

gillybob Sun 20-Jan-13 10:37:22

Good for the MiceElf it annoys me too. Yes eventually children will make their own decisions between pink/blue , dollies/trains but why do manufacturers have to "help them along" so to speak with totally unnecessary colour coding. I have two granddaughters and a grandson and there is no way I am going to buy another paddling pool for GS just because his sisters happens to be pink, or a seesaw, tent etc.

However, the children have bicycles they keep at my house and the younger girl inherits the older girls bike as it gets too small . It does annoy me that we are having t start again for grandson as granddaughters say he can't possibly "be seen" with a Fifi and the Flowertots bike or a Peppa Pig scooter. shock

Bags Sun 20-Jan-13 10:37:44

Thanks, elf, I'll take a look. I expect the DDs will like it too.

gillybob Sun 20-Jan-13 10:40:24

Oops that was supposed to say "Good for them " MiceElf


Good for the MiceElf which is an entirely different thing ! smile

annodomini Sun 20-Jan-13 11:32:50

My GSs used to love Peppa Pig and would watch episodes over and over again. Peppa pig is a subversively feminist programme - Mummy Pig should be a feminist icon! Dora Explorer ignores gender boundaries and the Tellytubbies are gender-neutral. My days of CBeebies are now over, since youngest GS has taken to CBBC, but the toy manufacturers are lagging behind the programme makers.

j07 Sun 20-Jan-13 11:36:45

Girls will be girls and boys will be boys. Most of the time. It's a biological thing.

I gave DD2 lorries. She wanted, and soon got, barbie dolls.

gillybob Sun 20-Jan-13 11:48:47

Yesj07 at the end of the day children will play with what they want to play with and no amount of encouragement on our behalf will change that. Incidentally ( and perhaps strangely) my two granddaughters love to play with their little brothers cars, lorries, fireman Sam stuff etc. but he shows absolutely no desire to play with their dollies !

JessM Sun 20-Jan-13 12:33:55

Computers are a great leveller are they...
I have pasted this from elsewhere on the net
In 1996, females in India were 11.3% of the IT related graduates; in 2002, they were 20.3% of the IT related graduates (nearly doubling in six years).
41% of Iranian CS graduates were female in 1999.
In Australia in 1994, 22% of IT graduates were female; by 1998, only 19% of IT graduates were female.
Western European countries show females as being less represented in the ranks of computing undergraduates (Germany: 10.5% in 2000, United Kingdom: 19% in 1999, Netherlands: 6.6% in 1999) than in the United States (26.7% in 1998); Northern Europeans (Norway, Sweden, etc.) show the same or more women graduates (Sweden: 30% in 2000, Norway: 23.2% in 1999) as a percentage than the United States for the same years (26.7%).
India’s percentage of female IT undergraduates doubled (from 12% to 24%) from 1997 to 2000; South Africa had an impressive 32.1% graduates in 1998; Mexico’s 1999 number was a whopping 39.2%; and Guyana had an astounding 54.5% of female CS graduates in 2001.

annodomini Sun 20-Jan-13 13:39:55

Let's hope that the up and coming generation turns it around. My GD (then 9) was one of a group of kids from Hampshire who were chosen to go to Oxford to a kind of seminar about ICT and then were shown round one of the colleges. She was very favourably impressed. In about 7 or 8 years...

Mishap Sun 20-Jan-13 14:01:17

I had 3 girls - one was obsessed with pink and sparkly and loved music; one was interested in scalextric and horses and loved singing; one loved horses, swimming and sport of all kinds. They had a choice of toys - no-one pushed them in any particular direction. Their choices were defined by their personalities and skills.

Four of my GC are boys and it is very striking to me how they make a beeline for anything with wheels from a very tiny age - none of my girls did at the baby stage. My only GD is surrounded by boys and their toys and has no interest in them at all - she wants to draw, nurture her hamster, cook. They all have the same stuff around them and the same opportunities offered - but their choices fall along stereotypical gender lines. I know that their parents have not set this agenda.

So what do we conclude form this? - very little really! Except to say that I can see why marketing has fallen into this pattern.

JessM Sun 20-Jan-13 15:03:18

I conclude that there is a "liking things with wheels" on the y chromosome.
How much sense does that make...

j07 Sun 20-Jan-13 15:05:47

Yes! Both of my grandsons loved dolls' pushchairs. Although I think there was a bit of "mummy copying" going on there. And their dad was/is very hands on.

Mishap Sun 20-Jan-13 16:36:07

Indeed - we often speculate about cavemen with wheeled toys when we are wondering where this preference comes from! - it makes not a whit of sense! Or does a predisposition amongst males to have an interest in mechanical things have some survival value? - is it a modern manifestation of some survival mechanism?

But there is no doubt that my grandsons gravitate towards anything mechanical in a way that my DDs did not - neither my GD. No pressure anywhere from family - and this preference certainly shows itself long before they are aware of marketing.

Curioser and curioser!

I think what I am saying is that the marketing bias may follow rather than lead.