A Swedish group which campaigns for “ethnic and gender equality” has complained about Danish toy catalogues which are “too white”.
A report by Swedish newspaper Metro looked at photographs in toy company brochures, including two operated by Danish company Top Toy, and found just two solo photographs of non-white children.
It said that the four examples it looked into were “packed” with white children playing with toys and other Christmas present ideas.
The findings prompted Swedish campaign group Equalisters, which aims to “correct imbalances of ethnic minority and gender representation in media, culture and business” to criticise the companies.
It says the brochures fail to reflect diversity in Sweden, where according to Statistics Sweden, 15 per cent of the population are foreign born and five per cent born to two immigrant parents. However this does not represent the number of ‘non white’ people in the Scandinavian country.
“These catalogues are too white” its chairperson Seher Yilmaz told The Local. “I think it’s really sad for non-white children. I think this kind of thing can affect their sense of what they can become and do in the future and how welcome they feel in Sweden.”
“Think about how you would feel if people who looked like your children were never seen anywhere in the media.”
Ms Yilmaz said that parents of white children should join the organisation’s campaign efforts.
However the Danish company has hit back at the criticisms, saying that changes made by Top Toy over the past years made it among the first to reject gender stereotypes.
“The debate over gender-neutral toys started in Sweden and was later picked up in Denmark, the UK and the US. We have now implemented that into all of our catalogues,” said spokesperson Liselotte Gjerdrum.
“We now have both boys and girls playing with the same toys, and many different age groups so that everyone is given the opportunity to play with the toys of their own choice,” she added.
“Lately, we have been criticised for not having enough diversity in our BR Toys and Toys R Us catalogues in terms of models and dolls of different skin colour.
“We always appreciate feedback from our customers and take into consideration that our customers should be able to identify themselves with our catalogues.
“It’s important to reflect the demands of the market and the society we are part of and that is also what we try to do,” Carlsen said.
The company pointed to one of its best selling toys, Doc McStuffins, who is a dark skinned African-American girl.
Doc helps toys “feel better” by giving them check and diagnosing their illnesses with “The Big Book of Boo Boos”.
It was not reported if anyone apart from the campaigning group has actually complained about the catalogues or if any parents have contacted Equalisters to support their campaign.