UK Toys “R” Us To End Gender MarketingRebekah Kuschmider
If you’re the kind of mom like I am, who wants your kids to find their own identity without undue gender-marketing, you have probably experienced the exasperation that comes with stepping into a toy store wanting some play food for your son and finding it swathed in pink and categorized as a “girl” toy. Or you’ve rolled your eyes at Lego ads that feature boys playing with the blocks that are obviously AWESOME for kids of all kinds and didn’t need to be pinked up to make them appeal to everyone. You’ve probably muttered some choice under-your-breath insults aimed at marketers who want to put kids into pink and blue silos and never let them escape.
If this describes you and you live in the UK, you can stop your muttering and get happy. Thanks to a campaign called “Let Toys Be Toys”, major retailers, including toy-selling leviathan Toys “R” Us, will cut out the gender marketing and sell toys to kids. According to the Huffington Post:
Toys “R” Us announced Friday that its U.K. stores will stop labeling toys “boys” and “girls.” New standards will be set for in-store signage and images will show children of both genders playing with the same toys.
The change comes in response to a campaign from the group “Let Toys Be Toys,” asking retailers “to stop limiting children’s imaginations and interests by promoting some toys as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys.”
Yes! Let toys be toys and kids be kids! Kids play with toys that are fun. When my son was a toddler, his favorite kinds of toys were balls and anything that made a good noise. My daughter is now a toddler and you know what her favorite toys are? Balls and anything that makes a good noise. Today my son and his female friend were both completely engrossed in a large book about sharks and riding scooters. Kids figure out their own fun if we let them. I’m sick to death of Madison Avenue and weird corporate focus-group-think getting in the way of kids getting the message that they can do whatever their amazing little imaginations lead them to do.
I hope that Toys “R” Us brings the gender-neutral philosophy to our side of the pond and gives U.S. kids the message that they can play with anything that’s fun.
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