In Sweden, there is something a little different about the Christmas toy catalogue parents are flipping through this year.
Top-Toy Group, which is part of the Toys “R” Us brand, has published a “gender-blind” catalogue with advertisements showing boys and girls playing with toys that typically would be categorized by gender. Little boys iron on a toy ironing board next to little girls and little girls let little boys blow dry their hair with toy blowdryers.
Brands in the past have tried to incorporate the female gender into their marketing. Yet they have still kept them separate. Nintendo for example, now has many ads and commercials showing girls playing on their own handhelds. But those handhelds are usually pink. It’s not wrong, but it is still separating the two genders in terms of which toys belong to which gender. Color coding doesn’t count as gender neutrality.
The marketing director of the Top-Toy company, Thomas Meng, stated this on their website:
“We want our catalogues to reflect the way that boys and girls play in real life, and not present a stereotype image of them. If both girls and boys in Sweden like to play with a toy kitchen, then we want to reflect this pattern.”
Hear, hear. I think this is an amazing effort. Why aren’t we doing this, America? Do you think people here would be against this sort of advertising for their own children, lovelies?