A group of Swedish sixth graders studying gender roles noticed something fishy about a Toys ‘R Us Christmas catalog: The boys pictured in it were all doing active things — playing with action figures or sports toys. The girls, on the other hand, played passively with dolls and princess.
The kids took their complaint to Reklamonbudsmannen, a consumer watchdog group that keeps an eye on marketers and advertising. The complaint led the agency to cite Toys ‘R Us for gender discrimination.
When she was two, my older daughter looked at a toy catalog and said, “Boys build.” TWO! Kids don’t wait until they’re five or six to start developing gender stereotypes, it starts right away.
And while there are plenty of girls out there (including one in my own home) who do prefer to spend a large chunk of their time playing dolls and princesses, there are others (including one in my own home) who love sharks and space and science. And as a parent, I’m tired of her seeing image after image of boys doing the things she loves most.
I guess what I’m trying to say is BRAVO Swedish kids. Reklamonbudsmannen has no authority over Toys ‘R Us, but the fact that kids are bringing this to their attention may open their eyes to the way they market toys to kids.