Toys R Us Says “Down With Gender Roles!”

by Katie Fustich

Gone are the days of toy stores with a visible dividing line down the center! Barbie and G.I. Joe are now free to mingle! Abolished are the sparkly pink aisles and the Hulk-decaled linoleum floors! Well…at least that’s the plan.

On Friday, the U.K. branch of Toys R Us met with Let Toys Be Toys, an organization committed to changing the gender-inclusive labeling and marketing that has dominated the toy industry for, well, as long as it has been an industry. The grass-roots movement was founded by parents who wanted their children to grow up in a world free of stereotypes. One campaigner, Megan Perryman explains it like this, “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.” 

The average toy store display. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know a single person, boy or girl, who wouldn’t want to get crazy with that Play-Doh. 

The campaign has already made strides with other U.K. stores, such as the supermarket Tesco, which is now devoid of “boys” and “girls” signage. Toys R Us is the campaign’s first multi-national tackle, and things are going quite swimmingly. Following Friday’s meeting, Toys R Us agreed to work on plans for a fresh marketing scheme that falls in line with Let Toys Be Toys’s principles. The goal of the partnership is to eventually phase out gender-specific marketing and to promote the idea of boys and girls being able to fully enjoy the same toys, no questions asked and no suggestions made. The upcoming Christmas catalog will be the company’s first true test of these new techniques.

While we can’t all be Sweden (see below for the latest in “What’s a stereotype again?” news) this pairing has the potential to be a wicked awesome step to foster gender equality from the roots up. 

Sweden’s toy catalogs = 24k gold

Thanks to Let Toys Be Toys

Images via The Local and Women’s View on News

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