Gender stereotypes have been a hot topic this year when it comes to marketing, from Target’s decision to stop gendered advertising to a mom who created an ‘American boy’ doll for her son. Major companies are finally beginning to realize that grouping kids into gendered boxes is not just pointless, but harmful.
In their 2015 Christmas catalogue, Spanish company Toy Planet decided to stop the silly gender divide, and it’s totally awesome. So far, the catalogue has been welcomed warmly by consumers, featuring boys pushing baby strollers and girls playing with tool sets; the company’s general director, Ignacio Gaspar, stated in El Pais that he wishes more companies would join them.
Why is it still surprising to major toy companies that boys may dream of playing with baby dolls, and girls aren’t necessarily itching to cover their walls in pink? Every kid is different, just as every adult is. Sure, boys and girls may play with their toys differently, but that has nothing to do with the object itself. Peggy Orenstein, author of “Cinderella Ate My Daughter,” stated in Examiner that children are divided into categories at their most vulnerable:
“[This is] the precise moment that girls need to prove they are girls, when they will latch on to the most exaggerated images their culture offers in order to stridently shore up their femininity.”
Really, what’s the advantage for toy companies, and society in general, to differentiate between “boy” and “girl” toys? Shouldn’t we just focus on having toys kids like, and potentially learn from?
We should be teaching kids, regardless of gender, that they can be caretakers, because parents don’t just come in one gender. And that anyone can build cool stuff. It’s just all about having the choice to do so.