Toys R Us has dropped gender filters from its UK website following complaints that such signposting puts off girls from playing with trains and construction sets. Campaigners and politicians have warned that stereotyping can deter girls from studying science and engineering. The shift has occurred in the three years since the pressure group Let Toys be Toys started campaigning. All the toys in his web store come either from companies that promote diversity or are aimed at children, regardless of gender. Orders from the UK are growing at around 20 per cent a month, with the IAmElemental range of female action figures, a brand launched after a crowd-sourced Kickstarter campaign, proving the most popular, he added. Lottie dolls, a response to the hypersexualised Bratz and Barbie dolls, also sell well, as do ecologically sourced wooden blocks. There has been very little work to destigmatise or degenderise the toy industry. Woozy Moo takes a strong stand against companies that lack female leadership or fail to embrace diversity. Mattel and Lego are banned on this basis.
Continuing to limit access to birth control would wreak economic havoc
More alike than different
M any parents are tired of the pink and blue divide in the toy aisles. Just last month, the White House held a conference on gender stereotypes in toys and media, with many toy manufacturers and experts attending. After feedback, Target announced in that it would get rid of signs labeling toys for boys or for girls. Developmental psychologists and sociologists are happy to finally see pushback from parents. Researchers have worried about the impact of having toys that were so segregated by gender for some time, says Lisa Dinella, associate professor at Monmouth University and Principal Investigator of the Gender Development Laboratory. Clearly divided pink and blue aisles with dolls and tea sets on one side and trucks and building blocks on the other is actually a pretty recent development. As recently as the s, toys sold in the US were not always marketed with clear gender distinctions. Advertisements from the s showed kids playing with a variety of toys in bright, happy colors like red, green or yellow. By the s and s however, there was a backlash against feminism, says Sweet, and toys started to become more gender segregated, though it was still not like the sharply divided pink and blue aisles of today. While it may seem like a trivial issue, toys help children to learn new skills and develop intellectually, says Dinella.
Shopping for kids can be difficult, especially if you haven't a clue what any given age group is into these days not to mention what's safe for them to play with. Younger children need toys that build on learning basics and strengthening motor skills, while older children need toys that are more challenging and stimulating. Either way, you want to shop for toys that encourage imaginative play and that they'll be thrilled to receive for holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions. Each year, the Good Housekeeping Institute pays close attention to the newest toys hitting the market, keeping up with the latest toy trends and testing out top-sellers to find out which toys are the best of the best for our annual kid-approved Best Toy Awards.
Parents navigating the toy aisle this holiday season may notice that some retailers and manufacturers have moved away from marketing toys specifically toward boys or girls. Across genders, generations and political groups, more say girls should be encouraged to play with toys and participate in activities that break with gender norms than say the same about boys, and this is particularly the case among men, older adults and Republicans. When it comes to raising girls, Millennials are somewhat more likely than Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and those in the Silent Generation to say parents should encourage their daughters to play with toys and participate in activities that are typically associated with boys. But majorities of seven-in-ten or more across all four groups see this as a good thing. Republican men are particularly resistant to the idea of boys playing with toys and participating in activities that are typically associated with girls. About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.