Thursday, January 20

Pink and Blue Toys Color Our Children’s Future, Study Warns | Life and Style


“It’s not just the wall-to-wall blue and pink in toy stores that bothers me, but the assumptions made,” says Sam Larkin, mother of two boys, Arthur and Austin, ages seven and three. “If I buy in a store, if I want advice, the first thing they ask me is if it is for a boy or a girl. Should that matter in this day and age? “

As the UK holiday shopping frenzy gets underway this year, toys categorized by gender are still as obvious as glittery tinsel and tropes in store and online.

But a national campaign to encourage toy manufacturers and retailers to abandon their “lazy stereotypes” and the segregation of toys by gender is about to intensify, with the release of a major report urging the industry to do more to improve. his game. .

Last year, organizing campaigns for equality the Fawcett Society set up an 18 month commission on the effects of gender stereotypes in early childhood, the first of its kind in the UK, to examine the harm it causes and explore how it interacts with race and class.

Armed with evidence from hundreds of parents and teachers, and with input from the UK’s leading toy and clothing brands, the commission will publish its findings later this month in a hard-hitting 90-page report. Urgent recommendations for action and collaboration will be established for three main sectors: parents, education and commerce, and will cover toys, clothes and books, online shopping and beauty.

In a seasonal act to raise the curtain, the report singles out the multi-million pound toy industry, worth 3.2 billion pounds to the UK economy, as one that must take responsibility for not perpetuating the gender stereotypes.

Sam Smethers, CEO of the Fawcett Society, said: “When we do our Christmas shopping this year, we have a choice; We don’t have to accept the tired old stereotypes of girls as princesses and boys as adventure seekers. Sometimes it can be hard to find something a little different for kids, but there are great gifts that defy lazy stereotypes.

“Gender stereotypes are at the root of problems such as limiting career options for girls or boys who have a hard time expressing their emotions, so what we give our children this Christmas really matters.”

Their message is reinforced by research in the report that reveals that 41% of parents (45% of mothers and 36% of fathers) prefer to buy toys that are advertised as gender neutral and suitable for any child. . That significantly exceeds the 26% who say they prefer toys labeled for boys or girls.

In terms of future actions, Smethers thinks that government intervention should not be necessary, but points to “the important precedent” set by France. Last year, a letter It was crafted by the French government, the French Federation of Toy and Childcare Industries, and the toy manufacturers trade association, to counter insidious messages that discouraged girls from topics such as engineering and computer coding.

In the UK, the Fawcett Society has scored success with publishing giant Pearson, which owns the Edexcel review board and produces books and online resources for schools, helping it produce guidelines to “change” gender stereotypes and “avoid unconscious biases.”

They are being rolled out for its 22,500 employees in 70 countries over the next 12 months, with footage showing girls as firefighters, astronauts and mechanics and boys watering plants and playing in a simulation kitchen.

To help parents make more gender neutral decisions this year, the society has partnered with the national campaign group Let toys be toys to select a list of 10 inexpensive toys and games.

The group was launched in late 2012 as a result of a thread on the parenting website Mumsnet about the explicit gender of toys and has since successfully persuaded a number of UK toy retailers and children’s book publishers to remove labeling “boy” and “girl”.

“Boys need a wide range of play for their development, but gender-stereotypical toy marketing limits their play opportunities by stating that certain toys are for girls only or for boys only,” said Tessa Trabue of Let Toys Be Toys.

“We recognize retailers who are doing a great job breaking stereotypes and selling toys inclusively with our Toymark award.”

Natasha Crookes, a spokeswoman for the British Toys and Hobby Association, said the industry had responded to a growing demand for diverse products. “We’ve seen brands like Mattel’s Barbie inspire girls’ achievement with role model toys that include pilots, astronauts and sports stars, as well as their Creatable World with sets of short and long hair, dresses and pants to make dolls that appeal. to a wide audience. spectrum of children.

“The way toys are sold has also undergone changes, with many stores classifying toys based on function and moving away from gender stereotypes.”

Frédérique Tutt, toy industry analyst for NPD Group, said: “Manufacturers have been working to make their packaging more gender neutral. Nowadays it is quite common to see a science kit with a boy and a girl in the photo, and also a role-playing kitchen.

“However, 86% of doll sales go to a woman and 90% of toy vehicles to children.”

Gender neutral toys

1. Rosie Revere, Engineer (book) £ 12.99

Link to buy: https://www.waterstones.com/book/rosie-revere-engineer/andrea-beaty/david-roberts/9781419708459

2. Yellow Pterodactyl Knitted Dinosaur Toy € 14.99

Link to buy: https://www.bestyears.co.uk/en/dinosaurs/yellow-pterdactyl-knitted-dinosaur-toy-info

3. Lottie Dolls, activist doll € 22.99

Link to buy: https://uk.lottie.com/collections/all-toys/products/kid-activist-doll-mari-copeny

Four. Rainbow Chest Robot € 22.50

Link to buy: https://www.woodentoysedinburgh.co.uk/products/rainbow-chest-ned?_pos=1&_sid=dff0499ac&_ss=r

5. Knitting mushroom € 6.95

Link to buy: https://www.rexlondon.com/knitting-mushroom

6. Julian is a Mermaid, by Jessica Love € 6.99

Link to buy: https://ottieandthebea.com/products/julian-is-a-mermaid-by-jessica-love

7. Mr & Miss Match – The matching pairs memory game £ 16

Link to buy: https://bossbabs.com/collections/games/products/mr-miss-match-the-equal-pairs-memory-game

8. My dad is a nurse € 6.99

Link to buy: https://www.notonlypinkandblue.com/product/my-daddy-is-a-nurse/

9. Space Bound Magnetic Dress Up Game € 12.00

Link to buy: https://www.buttercupwhitstable.co.uk/product-page/magnetic-dress-up

10. Katy Watson’s Spacegirl Pukes; Illustrated by Vanda Carter € 9.99

Link to buy: https://www.waterstones.com/book/spacegirl-pukes/katy-watson/vanda-carter/9780995658707


www.theguardian.com

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