Campaign targets toys marketed on gender

  • Breaking
  • 06/12/2014

It's the time of year when kids start writing lists of toys they want for Christmas. But campaigners in Australia want Santa and parents to avoid toys that they say promote gender inequality.

The No Gender December campaign says marketing of boys' toys and girls' toys should be banned.

It's the busy season for toyshop owners like Clare O'Connor. She and husband Brendon have run Wellington's Hopscotch Toys for seven years, and say there are definite favourites for boys and girls.

"Boys are definitely more construction and girls are more arts and crafts," says Ms O'Connor. "Girls are more dress-ups as well."

But gender stereotyping of toys is under attack across the Tasman, with a campaign underway to promote toys as gender neutral.

"Dolls are for everyone if you ask me, and trucks are for everyone, equally," says Thea Hughes of Play Unlimited, the organisation behind the campaign.

Campaigners say promoting guns and action figures for boys, and dolls and crafts for girls is archaic and can alienate children. Gender-specific colours are also said to be harmful.

"Few parents come in and say, 'Look I don't want pink for my daughter and I don't want blue for my boy,'" says Mr O'Connor.

The topic of gender and toys has made waves in the US recently too. A young American girl wrote to a publisher, upset that a series of books had been written for boys.

"When I saw the back cover title, which said 'biggest, baddest books for boys', it made me very unhappy," Parker Danes told CBS.

The publisher wrote back saying it would print a new series for boys and girls.

ToyWorld Wellington's owner, Philip Bramley, says he hasn't seen that attitude from consumers here, pointing to what's popular this Christmas – Disney's Frozen.

"That's been a huge contributor – the whole spectrum – jigsaw puzzles, the dolls themselves have been very, very strong," says Mr Bramley.

Mr Bramley says the movie's merchandise is marketed for girls and boys, much like many other toys in his store.

"We don't believe there's a gender bias coming through. People will buy what they want to buy for the child that's appropriate."

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source: newshub archive