The Duck of Minerva

Monday Evening Linkage: have yourself a gender-neutral Christmas?

9 December 2013

Have yourself a gender-neutral Christmas, let your toys be yellow. From now on our princess costumes and toy guns will be out of sight…. Well, you try to rhyme with this material. The Daily Mail asked yesterday “how to shop for gender neutral toys” noting the sea of blue and pink dividing stores like Toys R Us. But when Toys R Us introduced a gender-neutral toy catalog, in Sweden, France, Finland, Norway, Germany, Denmark and France- featuring Spider-Man pushing a pink pram and a young girl wielding a gun- conservatives bucked, calling the images brainwashing and ‘male hatred.’ Play Unlimited is a consumer action group that has been lobbying for more gender-neutral toys. Spokeswoman Thea Hughes argues that children need to be exposed to a diverse range of toys, noting “If a boy, for example, hasn’t had experience carrying dolls around or pushing prams. We see fathers pushing prams around. Why is it OK for fathers to be involved in child rearing, but not OK for boys to play with dolls?” Some companies have capitalized on the debate- particularly with regard to the question ‘what’s good for girls‘. Goldie Blocks, toys that are meant to inspire engineering skills within girls, has become an internet sensation (notwithstanding debate about it’s own gender bias).