Toys ‘R Us in the UK is taking a bold step in toy marketing, doing away with “boys toys” and “girls toys” in an effort to reduce their role in gender-based marketing to children.
The decision by UK’s Toys ‘R Us has not been echoed by US versions of the popular toy store, with only British kids affected in the outcry-led change in gender stereotyping.
The change was rallied for by a group in the UK called “Let Toys Be Toys,” and the campaigners explain how the boys’ toys/girls’ toys dichotomy is harmful to kids of both sexes:
“Boys and girls need the chance to develop in all these areas, but many stores divide toys into separate boys’ and girls’ sections. Action construction and technology toys are predominantly marketed to boys while social role play and arts and crafts toys are predominantly marketed to girls. Both boys and girls miss out this way.”
Last week, Let Toys Be Toys’ Megan Perryman commented on Toys R’ Us’ decision to eliminate gender-based toy marketing in their UK stores, saying:
“We’re delighted to be working so closely with a major toy retailer and believe that there is much common ground here. Even in 2013, boys and girls are still growing up being told that certain toys are ‘for’ them, while others are not. This is not only confusing but extremely limiting, as it strongly shapes their ideas about who they are and who they can go on to become. We look forward to seeing Toys “R” Us lead the way to a more inclusive future for boys and girls.”
While UK Toys ‘R Us outlets will no longer use gender-based marketing, the US arm of the retailer hasn’t acknowledged the petition.