I was just reading about the new "Let Toys be Toys" campaign being championed by Tesco, Boots, Sainsbury's, The Entertainer and now Toys R Us in the October issue of ToyNews. I of course agree that this can only be a good thing. The power of marketing and making certain toys just for girls and certain toys just for boys is daft, but I wonder just how much of a difference doing this will actually make to normal Girls and Boys across the country. I suspect it may take a good few generations to actually make a difference.
Having only just read the one article on this subject I have to make the point that these are just my initial thoughts on the subject. I do intend to check out more on the "Let Toys Be Toys" campaign. On Toychief.co.uk I've toyed with the idea of sorting my toy reviews via gender but it never really seemed right to me to do it like this. Most of the children I know play with any toy regardless. Girls more so than Boys though.
One thing that also keeps popping in my mind is, does it really matter? Boys and Girls are different, they always have been and always will be. Is it the right course of action to make everything Unisex? Isn't that in some regards as bad as Sexism in Toys, Making everyone Sexless?
I'm not going to deny at all the power of peer pressure on children, it is a real thing that does have a huge factor in forming your children's opinions of the world. More often than not there is also little that you can do to actually stop this either.
When my Son was about two we asked him "what colour bike do you want?" and he would always answer pink. We always said OK, if thats what you want, but you can't help, well I can't, having been brought up in a world were there is a divide between the sexes, to think "Really do you want a pink bike, thats a Girls bike isn't it?". Once he started Nursery, to took maybe three weeks for his opinions on the colour of his bike to change, not to blue but to red.
The power of Peer Pressure is there even at a very young age, people form their children's opinions based n the way they have been brought up, its a circle thats going t be hard to change.
I have to agree that making Toy Shops less gender defined is of course a good thing and a valuable first step. I do though think it will take a lot longer than I will be on this planet to make much of a difference.
Maybe I'm wrong in this but in my experience, more often than not, Boys will be tempted by a certain type of toy and Girls will be tempted by a certain type of toy. But of course that not exclusive and I'm no scientist, thats just my observation.
I actually thing on the whole Girls can play with a lot more types of toys and its accepted as nothing but normal. But even now if your mate Bob was playing with Sylvanian Families and Flutterbye Fairies, it would be considered odd by most of the population. Of course its not at all, Bob can play with what ever he likes, and I'll be honest, I've always liked Sylvanian Families I can't wait to get some for my Daughter. I guarantee my Son will be playing with them too straight away.
Pink was always a boys colour in the olden days wasn't it anyway?
This was something I keep telling people "In the olden days Pink was a boys colour" I do feel I need to go off and do a bit of research on this point though. its one of these things you say with conviction but truthfully your not 100% sure its a true fact your passing on or just an Old Wives tale, you see even that could be construed as being sexist... you can't win... an old mans tale doesn't have the same ring to it!
After a bit of reading n the font of all knowledge... Wikipedia, it turns out that this was the case.
In Europe and the United States, pink is often associated with girls, while blue is associated with boys. This distinction is relatively recent, usually dated to early in the 20th century. Before the 20th century, European countries varied, with some assigning colors based on the baby's complexion, and others assigning pink sometimes to boys and sometimes to girls.
By the 1950s, pink was strongly associated with femininity" but to an extent that was "neither rigid nor universal" as it later became.
Many have noted the contrary association of pink with boys in 20th-century America. An article in the trade publication Earnshaw's Infants' Department in June 1918 said:
The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.
So there you have it. Its interesting to see how things change over a relatively short period of time.
I'll definitely be keeping an eye on how the Toy Industry changes going into the future although as I've already mentioned, this is going to take a long time to have a big effect. If it helps to let children play with what they want with out being marketed to, then that can only be a god thing in my eyes.
You can check out more about this excellent campaign at the Let Toys be Toys website. Also make sure you sign the petition to help to try and get Toy Retailers in UK and Ireland to Stop promoting toys as only for boys, or only for girls.