Barbie for boys? Toys “R” Us to drop gender labelling


Toys “R” Us have pledged to stop marketing toys as either for “girls” or for “boys”. The move comes after a meeting with the ‘Let Toys be Toys’ campaign which campaigns to stop retailers “limiting children’s interests by promoting some toys as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys.”

The Let Toys be Toys campaign is one that, despite not yet being a parent, I support passionately.

Of course there is a correlation with gender and the type of toys played with (although the chicken and egg question remains). But what I have issue with is retailers promoting a toy, and in turn behaviour, to one gender which tacitly stigmatises the other gender who may equally wish to play with such a toy.

In short, kids should be able to decide that they play with and what they don’t without the interference of hundreds of years of patriarchal gender stereotypes.

Too much to ask for in 2013?

The change.org petition hits the nail on the head when it says:

“In 2013 it is time to take down the signs, labels and categories that tell parents, grandparents and children that construction sets, adventure games, cars, science toys and superheroes are ‘toys for boys’, and that baby dolls, play kitchens, make-up sets, fashion, princesses and crafts are ‘toys for girls’.

Toys are for fun, for learning, for stoking imagination and encouraging creativity. Children should feel free to play with the toys that most interest them.”

Sign the petition here.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Barbie for boys? Toys “R” Us to drop gender labelling

  1. I don’t know? How far do we go? Fact is we are male or female! I think society is try to be so politically correct thay are going to extremes. Maybe its just my age group and I am a bit old fashioned. I know as I grew up I just naturally followed my father as a roll model. so are we going to tell our boys to start following their mother and girls to follow thier fathers? Boys are build different, act different and think different than a girl. But getting into what colour we make a toy, I don’t know really? Do we just make everything white? Not colour at all? Anyway food for thought I suppose!

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  2. jodie

    Nice work Hynd! Great news from ToysRUs!

    I agree with Del in everything too – apart from that nowadays the idea of gender is more relaxed – I think it is in certain subcultures but in the mainstream it’s hugely stereotyped and is massively narrow in what a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’ ‘should be’…

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  3. Del'Amore

    these days even the idea of gender is so much more relaxed. I personally know people who do not define themselves as any gender. the idea that as a child you should be molded to be a certain way and to act a certain way is ridiculous. As a child should i not have joined in playing with my 2 brothers because they were playing ‘boy’ games. Toys should be used to encourage growth and development in any direction that the child wishes. Such repression from a young age of how people should act can only lead to questioning an identity or values at a later date.

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