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Fighting the girls boys toy divide again

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FinEntPost, no to pink and blue, toys are toysIt’s just not acceptable to place all the science toys in a shop under a ‘Boys’ sign.

The campaign group Let Toys Be Toys have set their sights on the UK’s largest independent toy retailer, The Entertainer.

The latest attack on the gender divide in toy shops includes, along with a series of sustained social media posts, an open letter to the store’s CEO, Gary Grant, asking that the Entertainer take down their pink and blue ‘Girls’ and ‘Boys’ signs.

The letter goes on to say; “We feel that making a change will benefit your business by giving children a wider choice and showing parents that The Entertainer is a progressive company, willing to step into the 21st century and discard these outdated attitudes”.

On their Facebook page Let Toys Be Toys named The Entertainer as “one of the worst culprits for gendered toy segregation” and went on to publish a poster that shows photographs of the store’s gendered shelving under the caption ‘Why Do We Entertain This?’

Commenting on The Entertainer’s place on the Paypal Etail Awards shortlist, in the Best Re-Design category, Tricia Lowther from Let Toys Be Toys said: “We don’t think much of The Entertainer’s re-design.

“The pink and blue divide is a regressive step. This is 2013, not 1913.”

“It’s just not acceptable to place all the science toys in a shop under a ‘Boys’ sign”, Tricia continued.

“In my local store even toys specifically aimed at girls such as spa science sets and Lego Friends had been placed on ‘Boys’ shelves, making a mockery of the claim that gendered labelling makes toys easier to find.

“What’s wrong with a ‘Science and Construction’ heading instead?

“It’s not just girls that suffer either.

“Retailers put too much emphasis on aggressive toys for boys and inhibit them from expressing their full nature when toys such as dolls, cuddly animals and arts and crafts are placed solely under a ‘Girls’ sign”.

Supporters of the group have joined in the campaign with tweets and emails, and while The Entertainer are yet to respond directly to the Let Toys Be Toys letter, replies shared by supporters show the store has received a lot of negative feedback concerning their boy/girl divide.

A recent email response, shared by Margaret O’ Hara on the Let Toys Be Toys Facebook page, suggests they may be beginning to take notice.

The reply includes the phrase: “It seems as though a new approach may be necessary to avoid any risk of gender stereotyping”.

Let Toys Be Toys is a parent-led campaign that grew from a thread on the social networking site Mumsnet.

We’re asking retailers to stop limiting children’s imaginations and interests by promoting some toys as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys.

Follow us on twitter @lettoysbetoys – and sign our petition.

Like us on Facebook – and sign our petition.

  1. Margaret O'Hara says:

    I think I got something more than the standard response because in my letter to them I focused specifically on the issue of how a little girl would find a science toy in their shop. The pink issue they can argue, but what are they going to say, science isn’t for girls? I’ve flagged this up with the Institute of Physics, they spend a fortune trying to get teenage girls to do physics, but they’re fighting a rearguard action against a whole childhood of conditioning, in which this kind of marketing plays a part. Maybe other scientists could bring it up with their professional institutes?

  2. well pf course girls can be good at science, mother
    earth is science! its because they dont play woth science toys because they are denied them, i buy mine science toys no matter what the label, if they are encouraged and theres gender neutral
    toys around and the girls
    are in the advertising as kids (not some frilly princess) then you will
    see the results at school, early play is linked to the educational future, if a gorl is only taught to dress up in long gowns and be inactive then thats all they will
    learn,
    we need roles models like tomb raider, the bionic woman, sarah jane adventures, superwoman, itsabout time
    girls got their rights, its a long time in coming.

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