Change.org petition to Toys"R" Us

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by rjblue, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    I am getting increasingly horrified at how segregated by gender the toy stores and toy departments of major stores are becoming. The "girls" section has been "shink it and pink it"'d to an insulting degree, and the "boys" section contains only action/mecanical toys.

    When I was a child in the '60s, toys were jumbled together, and you'd find trucks beside dolls. When I had my children in the '80's and '90's, the toys were sorted with dolls in one aisle, trucks et al in another and things like blocks and kitchen stuff in non-gendered aisles. Now they are almost completely separate departments in stores like WalMart, and on opposite sides of the store in Toys "R" Us.

    There is a Change.org petition started- Petition link. Maybe if enough people start complaining about this, the shoppers will start complaining, and parents will stop limiting their girls to princess shopping, and limiting their boys to superhero shopping.
  2. KatieC

    KatieC On hold

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    As a child of the 60's, I recall spending a lot of time looking at the trains. :shuffle: Even though I know I played with dolls, I don't ever remember looking at them in the toy section of the store.

    I've only been in Toys R Us once or twice and didn't like it. Hamley's is my favourite.
  3. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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  4. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    It's been maybe four years since I've been in a Toys R Us (kids in my family have outgrown it), but I don't recall sections labeled "boys" and "girls" like in the example of what Hamley's stopped doing. And if you look closely at the new sign shown, toys are still grouped by type which is essentially what this complaint is about. I'm not sure how a toy store is supposed to organize things if not by type. Also, most chain stores are laid out very specifically for the purpose of marketing and nothing is by accident. In other words, stuff is grouped as it is because it sells best that way. So they aren't going to be in a hurry to change it.
  5. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Exactly. There has to be a system, especially in a major chain store, or inventory will be a massive nightmare. And for the shopper, it makes a lot more sense to put dolls all in one place, trucks/toy cars together, 'building' toys (Legos and knockoffs) together, etc. I do *not* remember ever being in a toy store as a kid that was a free-for-all layout (and God help when our Toys r Us would change something around...dammit, the Star Wars figures/Breyer Models/My Little Ponies were in THAT aisle, not THIS one, I demand restitution for my trauma...I didn't like change, even as a kid.) A shopper doesn't want to have to go halfway across the store to find something in the same category because someone hopes that instead of buying that Skipper to go with Barbie they'll go "Hey, maybe I'll buy my daughter a Tonka truck instead" when the trucks are right next to Barbie and Skipper's over near the LeapFrog pads.
  6. Really

    Really No longer just a "well-known member" Yay!

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    I've never felt limited to buying dolls for my granddaughters in ToysRUs. In fact, I bought Chuggington train stuff there for one of them a couple years ago. I've certainly never seen anything even remotely resembling a 'boys' section or a 'girls' section in the store. There's a big Barbie section that's pink, but Barbie stuff has always been pink.

    *shrug*
  7. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    "Shink it"?
  8. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Well-Known Member

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    My problem is not so much with organization as it is with every thing for girls being pink! Or not pink if it is for boys.

    I see kitchens in pink, and wonder - why does it have to be pink? It is a toy kitchen?

    Also my son has loved walking with his doll stroller since he could walk, he races it around. At least I found a red one, despite it being a 'girls toy'.

    It is lik everything is color coded so we don't get confused - or more like has to buy different versions of the same things fo our sons and daughters.
  9. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate New Member

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    I understand the idea. For example, Lego has always been in the "building things" section with Duplo, Lincoln logs, kynex, etc. Lego makes a new "brand" called Lego Friends. They are not shelved with Lego or the building items. It's shelved next to Polly Pockets. So a girl won't see Lord of the Rings Lego, City Lego, Superfriends Lego, Ninjanjo?, Harry Potter Lego because she would have to "cross the line" and walk through the "Boys section" to get to the "building section."

    I "get" that it is excluding.

    But I take FULL responsibility for my child's toys. We did not do the Disney Princess thing. She got Waldorf-style dolls, I bought a gender neutral doll bed (pine, not pink plastic) and never bought the vanity or princess crap. When she got Barbies I returned them for something she could use in more ways. Since she wasn't indoctrinated into Barbie (or the idea of having to be in pink) she was indifferent to Barbie. I almost never brought her to a toy store. I researched and bought and brought home. We didn't stroll through the toy aisle at Target. WHY do parents do that and then gt upset when the child cries because they can't have something?

    We had very little commercial tv until this year. So TRU can sell however they want. They put the crap cereals at eye level with kids in carts, there is candy at the check out stand. It's business and marketing and the companies that have these practice are sou-less and have no issue selling to children. And there is candy EVERYWHERE! Now THAT is a petition I would sign. Old Navy, Justice, Macy's, candy is EVERYWHERE. Why does a country were 70% of the population is overweight need candy at a clothing store?

    I told me daughter since it is candy in a CLOTHING store, no health department is involved and rats eat it and walk on it at night. Disgusting. I told her I don;t have proof but the idea of it is unsanitary.:p
  10. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    1--Toys R Us isn't making it all in pink. They are just stocking and selling it. Any objections to the color pink should be directed to the companies manufacturing the toys, not the stores.

    2--They wouldn't be making things pink if pink wasn't selling. Corporations are about profit not gender or any other sociological concern. And they aren't going to be petitioned out of making what sells.
  11. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

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    It was a nightmare trying to find appropriate baby things for my BFF, who was not finding out the sex of her baby ahead of the birth. 98% of everything is blue/brown for boys and pink/purple for girls - and I went to many stores including Target, Kohls, department stores, etc. I was shocked at how gender-segregated baby items are. Even animals don't escape the treatment: monkeys for boys and bunnies for girls.

    I was finally able to find some pastel yellow and green items with ducks and frogs, but the experience left me a little shell-shocked.
  12. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    However, corporations construct societal norms and standards, especially with respect to gender. They do not merely reflect those norms/standards.

    Consumers can, therefore, influence the norms/standards that corporations construct by buying/not buying certain products.
  13. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    You would think baby stuff manufacturers would know by now, even if most parents (not ALL) know the baby's gender before birth, they don't always tell everyone else, including those who are buying gifts. My boss and his wife didn't tell anyone but the grandparents that their baby was a boy before he was born, so on gifts (I tend to make stuff) I was just told the nursery was being done in 'primary colors' (as opposed to pastels.) Either one wouldn't have told me gender (heck, Baby Snoopy stuff in blue is all pastel blues.) Greens and yellows, meanwhile, are pretty safe and generally won't clash. In fact a LOT of the patterns and kits Keepsake Quilting sells for baby gifts are either yellow, or some combination of bright primaries.

    And pink used to be "boy colors". (we're talking a century ago, but still.) Right now, "girly" stuff is pink--mostly because most little girls like pink. Not because they are TOLD to by society--I went through my I WANNA PINK RUFFLY BEDSPREAD AND ROOM phase, despite not being especially directed one way or another with toys. I have no idea why. Never owned a real Barbie--I played with Star Wars action figures and My Little Ponies (until I was considered responsible enough to have Breyer model horses, which break more easily and are very hard to repair without a heat gun and pins. As far as dolls, I *wanted* an American Girls doll, and got one...when I was seventeen and my parents decided I was past the 'dismember generic Barbie' phase of doll care.) My parents tended to buy toys I WANTED, and they didn't really care if my brother and I played with each other's toys, as long as we didn't destroy them. They usually only said no if they thought we were going to be especially destructive (like none of the old-school toy lightsabers, that were solid non-collapsing plastic Mom correctly assumed I'd use to whale on my little brother.....)

    And if consumers WANT to change those standards, they can. Otherwise the job of corporations, be it toy manufacturers or retailers, is to supply the products they want, not to social-engineer something a few people think is more 'gender neutral' (which even there operates on the assumption that gender neutral is morally superior to 'girl' vs. 'boy' toys and carries the implication that allowing children to play with what under modern stereotypes are toys appropriate to their gender is somehow destructive.)
  14. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate New Member

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    Right now, "girly" stuff is pink--mostly because most little girls like pink. Not because they are TOLD to by society

    I disagree. They like pink because pink is foisted on them as the acceptable color for girls- any girl aisle from newborn through preteens - pink is the color girls are supposed to like - it's internalized. The color preference is not genetic.
  15. made_in_canada

    made_in_canada INTJ

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    I completely agree. I work at an independent toy store and we really try hard to get things like strollers in colours other than pink. Manufacturers just don't seem to be getting with it though. Even boy dolls come packaged in girly pink. So consequently our doll section is pretty much entirely pink. Though I will say that it's been a lot easier to find doll clothes in other colours (blues, oranges, etc..) lately.

    I actually think that infant toys are one of the areas that there is a lot less gender segregation in toys and also in packaging. There is lots that's just brightly coloured and not predominately pink or blue.
  16. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

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    The petition asks that the catalog not have "boys" and "girls" sections. The aisles in the stores are not labeled "boys" and "girls" but this essay provides a glimpse at how a store is divided in a way that the boys toys and girls toys do get divided in a way that sends messages to children about what are appropriate for each gender.

    I took a look at the online Toys R Us catalog and urge people to look at it themselves. It isn't very subtle.

    When I looked at the "Building Sets" drop down button under the "Girls" toys, it listed eight sets. Two were the Lego Friends -- the "Olivia's House" and the "Treasure Hunt in Heartlake City." There also was a Lego table and three Mega Blocks. Then there was a Lego Creator space shuttle and a bridge. The "Boys" building sets showed 67 sets. The first 12 that appeared were a samurai, a ship, a dragon, a city forest police station, a number of trucks, a passenger plane, a "builders of tomorrow" set. Star Wars and Harry Potter Legos were listed in the Boys sets, but not among the Girls sets (though a Star Wars death star did appear in a "recommended" link below the girls sets, but not as one of the eight actual sets.

    "Boys" toys also included categories labeled "Action Figures" and "Vehicles, Hobby, and R/C" but "Girls" toys don't have those categories. Sorry, girls, but if you want any characters from Toy Story, Star Wars, Marvel or DC, those are "Boys" toys only. They are not included in the "Dolls" category that "Girls" get. (Girls also have "Bath, Beauty & Accesssories.")

    I also urge you to compare the "Pretend Play" link for girls and boys. The "Girls" link had at least a dozen different kitchens, several toy shopping carts, and a number of items geared around make-up (like a toy salon, a vanity, and a nail kit). It did have one "medical kit" (in pink), one toy garbage truck, and one lawn mower. On the boys link, two of the first four toys were toy tool sets (there were no tools in the "Girls" section). Also compare the "Outdoor Play" categories and you'll see that the "Girls" toys include two t-ball sets, one soccer set, and a bowling set. "Boys" get those, plus a bunch of basketball sets and flag football set (not to mention everything that Nerf makes).

    Also, apparently, girls don't play drums. This drum set appears in a the "Boys" musical instruments, but not in the "Girls" musical instruments. And this Fisher Price Harley Davidson tricycle is Boys only. So are these dirt bike and ATV.
  17. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

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    This is a big case of 'much ado about nothing'

    Some parents (not all) are smart enough to figure out that if they want a Power Ranger for their girl it's in the action figure section of the store and if your boy wants a Barbie-go to the doll section. I did see where a girl wants Easy Bake Oven to change their color (I do think they should change it to what color real ovens are) but if her brother wants to bake a cake with a light bulb who cares if it's pink? It seems like some parents have too much time on their hands.
  18. RFOS

    RFOS Well-Known Member

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    Having 2 sisters, I had some pretty "girly" toys growing up. I liked making Barbies figure skate and do gymnastics (with apparatus made out of K'Nex). :shuffle: We made up weird names for them and weird storylines and judged them (sometimes only I judged).

    I sometimes got jealous if they both had something that I didn't have so I wanted it too, but there were some things they had that I just wasn't interested in. I also liked cars a lot, which they had at most a very casual interest in (I wasn't into the "macho" trucks or action figures though) and of course we had some toys and games we both played (and made up games of our own that didn't need any kind of equipment). We all went through phases of being really into Legos and K'Nex and collecting "sea creatures." We got very competitive about who could have the most and who could have the coolest "house" for their sea creatures (meaning a collection of boxes hitched together that took up most of our room :shuffle: ). We got pretty lenient in our definition of sea creature towards the end. I counted a Marvin the Martian figurine by saying he fell from space and landed in the ocean. :lol:

    And nobody probably cares. ;)
  19. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. Nowhere has it been indicated that if you buy the Harley tricycle for your daughter the Toys R Us swat team is going to come take it away.

    The best cure for all of this is making sure your kids play with children of both genders. If you have a boy and girl or mix of boys and girls, you'll find out really quickly that they aren't going to be that uptight about the assigned gender of toys. My older brother was thrilled to have a baby sister because he concluded I would not play with his toys. He learned he was totally wrong about that. Barbie dated GI Joe and drove a Tonka truck. And I played with the car track more than he did.
  20. Tesla

    Tesla Whippet Good

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    Huh, I didn't know you were forced to only buy girl stuff for a daughter. Do you get eaten or something if you try to buy an action figure or Star Wars legos for a girl?
    Really and (deleted member) like this.
  21. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Yes. Toys 'R' Us stands you in front of a firing squad. But you get to choose pink guns if you want them.
  22. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    Are you saying they separate the stuffed animals into those for girls and those for boys? They don't just have a section of stuffed animals? :huh:

    Haven't been in a toy store in many many years.
  23. Tesla

    Tesla Whippet Good

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    Good to know! Thanks! :)
  24. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    How about rainbow guns?
  25. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    How did you know?

    I find it odd that in a thread where people are complaining about gender-specific toys, there is so much acceptance that there ARE gender-specific toys. If my son wants a doll and it comes in a pink package, does that make it a "girl's toy"? Why?

    Maybe it's just me, but when my kids were little, I got them toys that they were interested in and didn't much worry about what section of the store the toys came from or how they were sorted or whether some distant entity or the people next door considered it a boy or girl toy. It was a toy. Toys have no gender; 'tis only thinking that makes it so.

    Oh, but you are all worried about the messages being sent by the organization and labeling put on things by the store. Ah. Well, maybe there is something to that. But it seems to me that when you have people complaining about not being able to find genderless toys, or that the "girls' toys" are all pink or that you can't find "genderless" items in the stores or that parents can buy "genderless" toys because of the color or lack thereof of a toy, then it would appear that a lot of us have fairly set ideas of what constitutes gender in toys and children's items. Small wonder, then, that the stores are successfully catering to this.
  26. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Just a thought, but toys aren't always purchased by parents. They are often bought by well meaning relatives, friends and others who are doing their best to pick something the child will like, and thus go with the safer bets. Sure, there are plenty of boys who play with dolls and girls who play with trucks, but let's be real - for most kids, it's the other way around.

    I'm not agreeing with the extent to which Toys R Us is categorizing their merchandise; just pointing out that not all toys are bought by parents since that seems to be a large part of this discussion. When my niece and nephew were little, their parents bought them almost nothing, because they were constantly showered with gifts from grandparents, aunts and uncles, older cousins, even great grandparents. They got a lot of board games and Lego, but there was also a lot of very well received Barbie and Hot Wheels.
  27. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Well-Known Member

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    I knew I was having a boy, but I still wanted neutral stuff as the main part - I knew if everything went well I wanted a second kid, and I wanted to be able to use the clothes again. I was dissapointed too.
    I also don't like the fact that most stuff in the US, except boy stuff, is pastels - I prefer saturated, bold colors. Funny, much more baby clothes from Denmark is like that.

    My sister in law made some purple pants (a cute owl print) for my son, since in her opinion purple is a bold, unisex color - and I agree. Some of the daycare teachers were very confused :p
  28. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate New Member

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    Small wonder, then, that the stores are successfully catering to this.

    Exactly.

    That is why I shop online at places like Rosie Hippo or Bella Luna Toys. Toys are in category but none are by sex. Sure it costs a little more, but I can hand down something nice to a friend that lasts.
  29. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    I'm guessing this is why they have the tabs for Boys and Girls. You can look by type of toy and that's not divided by gender. But it looks like they think some people are coming to the website to find a toy for either a girl or a boy and will be glad to have such tabs.

    I looked at the stuffed animals for boys and for girls. They show the same products.

    When I was four years old my far-away grandmother sent a birthday present for me. I don't remember exactly what it was but it was like some pink-pink-pink dressing table thing with hair brushes and stuff. I was so horrified I screamed and screamed that my parents had to send it back.

    I don't suppose my grandmother had found it under a listing for girls toys back in those old days though.
  30. Alex Forrest

    Alex Forrest Banned Member

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    I'm not really sure why this is an issue. It helps the customer by identifying pretty easily the traditional boys toys versus the traditional girl's toys. I don't think it is a deliberate attempt to somehow be 'genderist' or heterosexist or whatever. I'm surprised this is considered a big deal.
  31. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

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    I don't think the issue is that a concerned parent is unable to find a particular toy. I think the concern raised by the petition is that a lot of people, including children, are influenced by the subtle -- and not-so-subtle -- messages that are sent by the way things are categorized by gender.

    We can say that girls like pink things and enjoy playing with toy kitchens, so it makes sense that toy kitchens are painted pink, are marketed to girls, and are listed in catalogs as "girls" toys. But there is a chicken-egg aspect of that statement. Do girls like pink things because they innately like pink? Or do they like pink things because, from infancy, they receive pink things, see other girls wearing pink, and are get messages from others that reinforce the idea that girls are supposed to like pink? Similarly, do girls play with toy kitchens because they innately like to cook or because they pick up clues from society that cooking is something acceptable for girls to do?

    And, no, there isn't going to be anyone with a firing squad shooting the person who buys a "boys" toy for a girl or vice versa, but the ways toys are classified do create a sense of what is "normal" and what isn't. So the boy who wants to play with a doll or with the kitchen is labeled at a young age as strange or, even worse, as gay. The girl who doesn't like pink and hates Barbies is considered unusual. Obviously, that may depend on where you live and the different viewpoints in your local community, but there are a lot of parts of the United States that still subscribe to very traditional gender stereotypes. Certainly, there are people who buck the system and refuse to conform to those strictures, but a lot of people -- especially children -- don't know how. Instead, they conform to the norms and find themselves feeling lost and confused.

    We hear a lot about bullying of gays and lesbian children and teens, but that is just one part of a much larger issue during childhood with children struggling with dealing with the sense of what is "normal" and what isn't. I think we tend to hear more about gays and lesbians because sexual orientation is something that is impossible to for many teens to suppress and it becomes a source of very overt bullying. However, I think children conform in a lot of other ways. When a girl wants to play with blocks with the boys is told that she should be having a tea party with the other girls, that sends a message about what is acceptable for girls versus boys. When a girl sees images of only boys playing with erector sets or toy science labs and only girls playing with dolls, it sends her the message that her role is to be a carer and nurturer, while boys are supposed to build and discover things. When the little girl is in a group with boys and girls, who is she going to generally play with? Other girls. And what is she going to generally play with? Toys that girls collectively consider acceptable for girls. So if girls collectively are being sent the message that Legos -- a toy that the author of the petition correctly points out is a very useful tool for helping children develop spatial awareness -- are a "Boys" toy, girls are not going to be willing to play with Legos because they may fear being teased. Certainly parents can do a lot to counteract those messages, but I think it is worth pointing out when our children are being sent these messages and raising concerns about how they reinforces gender stereotypes and myths.

    Everyone here seems to agree that there is no reason why nearly all of the Legos should be classified as "Boys" toys by Toys 'R' Us. So why do we accept that? Shouldn't we object to the fact that a person looking at the website for "Girls" outdoor toys won't even know that Toys 'R' Us sells a half-dozen different basketball hoops? Sure someone who knows they want to find a basketball hoop for a girl can go find one by searching for it, but that isn't the point. The point is that Toys 'R' Us is sending messages about what is and is not apprioprirate for girls and boys when there is no reason for it to do so. It could have a category for "toy appliances" that includes tools, lawn mowers and kitchens. Just have "bikes and tricycles." "Action figures" can include the ones they list for boys and the girls figures that, inexplicably, they have under beauty accessories. "Building sets" should include everything in one category. It shouldn't matter that the set has a samurai, an airplane, or Olivia's kitchen.
    rjblue and (deleted member) like this.
  32. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    I guess the concern is that young children, who can be highly influenced without realizing it by cues telling them what's associated with each sex, should feel welcome to browse among categories of toys that have been traditionally associated with the opposite sex.

    For the youngest kids, websites aren't the issue, but the actual store layout is.

    Definitely the manufacturers play as much of a part as the retailers.

    E.g., it's getting hard to find just the general bright-colored open-ended Lego sets that aren't geared toward building a specific themed product. Since my niece loved Lego more than her brother, it's lucky they had an older basic set that they could add to.
    rjblue and (deleted member) like this.
  33. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    Where do you hang out that girls are told they can't play with blocks and must have tea parties?

    I live in a suburban town in a county so red that five people showed up for our Democratic caucus and only three were voters. This town of less than 8000 has 20 churches listed in its phone book. In other words, this is a conservative place.

    Yet when I have subbed at the local public preschool, I have observed "center time" where both boys and girls have play time turns at "kitchen" center, "doll" center, "trucks and cars" center and two centers with different kinds of blocks. No one grabbed the girls and forced them to the kitchen play area and no one kept the boys away from that area.

    I have a hard time believing that outside some extreme fundamentalist families, very many people are actively forcing kids to do or avoid certain things in regard to play due to perceptions about gender.

    As to Toys R Us...I just visited their website. You do have the option to click "Categories" and be taken to a page that divides toys by type. You can also click on an age range, or search by brand, character or theme, or just look for sale items. "Girls" and "Boys" are not the only categories available to search in.

    And if someone was going there to find a basketball hoop, I would think the person would be smart enough to search for "basketball hoop" on the search bar. I did that. Here's what I got: http://www.toysrus.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=3130081

    Notice that both boys and girls are pictured playing with the Little Tykes hoops. Toys R Us has not gender-segregated basketball.
  34. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    My point is that you put a 5-year-old in the store and say "Let's look around and see what you're interested in," the kid is probably not going to head for an area of the store that seems color coded to exclude him or her. So they may not even become aware of toys they might be interested in if they're all located in a section geared toward the opposite sex.

    If everything were geared toward both sexes -- including production in a variety of colors -- and marketed to both sexes, there would likely still be a larger percentage of girls leaning toward traditionally feminine toys and boys leaning toward traditionally masculine ones, but everyone would have more options.
  35. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    gkelly--reckless above your post specifically suggested that in some theoretical world, little girls are being drug away from the blocks and forced to have tea parties. I doubt that is happening anywhere outside the most extreme fundamentalist Christian families (some of whom do have very narrow views about gender and toys--google "Vision Forum").

    And what kids are interested in at the toy store can be influenced by more than the layout of the toy store. They don't choose their own toys all that much until the preschool years. What parents provide for them prior can make a big difference in what they are interested in when they are old enough to choose. It never ceases to amaze me that parents think they have no influence on their children and are going to be blown over by outside forces. A 1997 study indicates that parental influence is the most central factor in gender roles and socialization. Not the layout of the nearest toy store.
  36. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    Everyone should have more options. That sounds good to me. But I don't see much to get particularly exercised about. I think the toy market reflects society more than shapes it. If a girl is going to feel comfortable rejecting girly-girl things, its mainly going to have to do with her how her parents, family and friends handle it.

    And given that, I really have to wonder is there not more openness toward less strict gender patterns today than in the 1960s? I find it hard to believe there isn't and that its somehow worse for kids today, but I don't really have much experience to go on.
  37. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate New Member

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  38. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

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    Did you read the petition an what prompted it? The author explains that it was triggered by her niece refusing to play with Legos because they were a "boy's toy." Now, obviously, that child got the impression that Lego's are a "boy's toy" from somewhere. And ask yourself this: why would Lego have to create a special product line for girls if they did not believe Legos were for boys? The fact exists that, at some point, boys learn to play with Legos and girls don't. As discussed in this Bloomberg article about the creation of the girls line:

    In creating the girls line, Lego tried to design a line that caters to the way girls play, while still encouraging them to build (and develop the spatial skills). But that also makes the new line more gender-specific and has the adverse effect of reinforcing gender stereotypes. As the article explains:

    These issues are not made up. Children (and their parents) do form these beliefs. And it is not that hard to then ask if this has some relation to why girls do not perform as well as boys in math and do not go into careers in science and engineering at the same rates as boys.

    I can't speak for the school at which you subbed. Maybe it has a very good early education staff that is sensitive to gender issues, but I know a number of fathers who would be extremely upset if they saw their preschool-age sons being encouraged to playing in a kitchen or with a doll. They aren't extremely fundamentalist, but they would object to their sons engaging in such "feminine" behavior.

    I also don't think that you need "force" children to do things for them to feel pressure to conform to messages they are exposed to. The pressure to conform can be far more subtle, and it comes from other children as well as teachers, relatives, and other adults. I also never said the littler girl would be "dragged" to a tea party instead of playing with blocks. However, I think a teacher might suggest that Sally play with Lisa and Sarah, who are playing "tea" instead of Johnny who is building something with blocks. Or it might be Johnny who tells Sally that the blocks are a "boy's toy" -- something consisent with commercials and ads -- and nobody corrects him. Maybe Sally tells Johnny he's full of it and she plays with the blocks anyway, but maybe she assumes Johnny is right and she goes and plays with the other girls.

    Your search works if someone is looking for a basketball hoop. If someone is more casually looking for a toy for a girl and goes about it by thinking, "hey, let me find a toy for a little girl" and then clicks on "outdoor play," no basketball hoops appear. Doing the same search for a boy shows nine basketball hoops. (Ironically, the Little Tykes hoops is not one of them.) There is no rhyme or reason why so many more outdoor toys are listed for boys than for girls, and why so many obviously gender neutral sprots toys are. But that is how the site arranges them.
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  39. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    ...Never in any one I've been in. Or Meijer/Wal-Mart's toy aisles. Cuddly toys seem to either have their own aisle or they end up with the preschool/baby stuff.

    And right. I only went through a phase of wanting pink stuff because the world told me to. (I moved on to yellow when I was ten or so.) A lot of girls like pink. It's a pretty color. I don't think my brother picked blue for his room because the universe told him to--we both started out with the same color walls until we were old enough to express a preference. (Didn't play much with other girls and almost never with dolls, so no, not peer pressure. Even then I didn't really think of other kids as 'peers.') I never recall being directed what to play with in nursery school or kindergarten. I liked to wear one particular yellow ballet costume, I liked to play with a pegboard that I thought resembled a control panel from Star Wars. My brother liked to play with cars and trains. (Though when another parent at the Co-op nursery asked him if he was going to drive the train when he grew up, he apparently said no, he was going to OWN the train when he grew up...his definition of cars and trains were a little more specific than some kids...) Blocks were blocks--I liked the wooden ones, got fed up with Legos. (I'm result-oriented, not process-oriented. I never got interested in Legos until they put out specific, directions-included kits for fandoms I like.) I don't even remember any sort of differentiation in types of cuddly toys we got except I got more, probably because I liked them more. Still do, I'd rather have a stuffed toy than flowers.

    I suppose what I really dislike is the underlying message to the whole idea of MAKE EVERYTHING GENDER NEUTRAL is the idea that a boy might have no interest in dolls or toy kitchens or EZ-Bake, or a girl WANTS to play with sparkly pink dolls and not her brother's trucks is terrible and they should be made to play with toys generally preferred by the opposite gender whether they want to or not.
  40. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012