Toys R Us to Halt Gender-Specific Marketing
Toys R Us has caved to pressure from a group called Let Toys Be Toys, which asserts that labeling toys as boys’ toys or girls’ toys is sexist.
Toys R Us said from now on, their marketing will be more inclusive and they will not make any explicit references to gender in their stores. Future Toys R Us ads will show boys and girls both using toys such as kitchens, toy guns, and Legos, and the upcoming Christmas catalogue will reflect the company’s new gender attitude.
Toys R Us started their move toward eliminating gender differences last year in their Swedish branch, showing a girl with a toy gun and boys and girls romping together in a kitchen.
Managing Director Roger McLaughlan joyfully reported, “We very much enjoyed meeting Let Toys Be Toys. We will work with the Let Toys Be Toys team to ensure we develop the best plan for our customers.”
Megan Perryman, a campaigner for Let Toys Be Toys, said:
We’re delighted to be working so closely with a major toy retailer and believe that there is much common ground here. Even in 2013, boys and girls are still growing up being told that certain toys are "for" them, while others are not. This is not only confusing but extremely limiting, as it strongly shapes their ideas about who they are and who they can go on to become.
Let Toys Be Toys’ website describes its success in convincing Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Boots, The Entertainer, and TK Maxx to capitulate to their demands by removing signs saying “Boys” and “girls” above the aisles in their stores.
Let Toys Be Toys was created by British parents last November, who insisted girls were being urged to play with pink dolls and pink kitchens while boys’ toys were cars, guns, and involved with sports.
Tricia Lowther, 44, a co-founder of let Toys Be Toys, and has a five-year-old daughter, told MailOnline:
It does bother a lot of parents, we seem to have tapped in to a huge and growing sense of frustration with the way toys are promoted according to outdated, illogical and sexist stereotypes. I can't speak for any of the others but what pushed me to make a stand was the realization, after my daughter was born, that gender stereotyping in children's products had become worse than when I was a child myself back in the Seventies. It's something that has become almost impossible to escape and is very limiting for children.