Change.org petition to Toys"R" Us

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

  1. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    I don't know anyone who has multiple strollers for one child, or even a jogging stroller for that matter. I don't think there's an American Girl shop in my entire state, so no one is running out buying multiple ones on credit or otherwise. That may be the reality in your very narrow niche, but it's hardly true broadly speaking.

    As for Angelskates and Prancer's comments, they are rather obviously true, no? For something to be gender-neutral, you first have to have a concept of what is gender-specific, then designate things outside that realm to be gender-neutral. So gender neutral toys presuppose that toys are generally gendered as a matter of course. The arbitrariness of such classifications was pretty apparent in the link from rjblue. That blogger classified super heroes as gender specific, but toy kitchens as gender neutral. But that only reflects on her internalized gender schemes projected onto toys. It says nothing about the essential nature of the toys themselves.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  2. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    Do toys have essential natures? :saint:
     
  3. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    I don't think so, no.

    It's been a while since I read a lot of child psychology, but I have a rather dim memory that most young children go through a strongly sexist phase when young, regardless of what their parents do or don't do regarding sexist stereotyping. This is part of figuring out their identities. First they associate strongly with a parent (which is why a lot of little boys go through what is for many a very worrying stage where they wear their mother's shoes and such; they spend more time with their mothers on average and so identify with mothers more). As they develop a sense of self apart from the parent, they become rather fixated on what it means to be themselves. And as part of that, they grasp onto rather rigid ideas of what is Boy and what is Girl.

    When my son was in this phase, he informed his sister that boys are doctors and girls are nurses. I laughed, I'm afraid, because I am a bad parent, but also because every doctor my son had ever seen in his entire short life to date was female. It amused me that he had, in defiance of all personal experience, come to this conclusion.

    Where did that come from? I don't know. I didn't take my kids to toy stores when they were little (I am not a masochist), he didn't have doctor toys, he didn't watch a lot of TV and what he did watch was all terribly, terribly PC. I'd say it was most likely from other kids, but I don't know. Maybe I should have started an indignant blog blaming....I dunno. Somebody!

    Most of the concern about sexism seems to come from women and mostly about the messages sent to girls--which is natural, given what kind of sexism has dominated our society. Such messages, however, change over time, as does the awareness children have. For example, I see a lot of pro-girl gender messages--girls can do anything, girl power, girl rule, boys drool, etc. Those are gender-based messages as well. Most women think they are great--how wonderful that girls are being given such a positive message! But it seems to me that if you are worried about gender stereotyping, those messages are also a prime example thereof--just a different one. What message do boys get from all this?

    I also wonder what happens to those girls who do just want to grow up and have babies. What kind of messages do we--liberal, educated, empowered feminists that we are--send them? Why is it okay to wring your hands over whether or not Susie Q might get the idea that she can't be a doctor when she grows up because of gender messages she gets, but we should avoid at all costs telling Suzie R that maybe it's okay to not focus her existence on having a career? One way or another, we are directing our children into pre-defined roles.

    Not among middle class parents in general, no.

    Wow.
     
  4. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Indeed. I remember this discussion about the family that was refusing to tell anyone if their child was a boy or a girl. On the one had, the flag is waved for gender neutrality - don't classify people, we're all equal, we can all do whatever we want regardless of whether or not we have a penis or a uterus. On the other hand, there's the girl power messaging, and while there may not be a parallel for boys, in some ways it's always been there.

    We act all pc and open minded about these things, but the fact is that boys are different from girls, and I don't know when that became a bad thing.
     
  5. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

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    I know several people with multiple strollers for one or two children. I see plenty of jogging strollers when out on the running/walking/biking trails. When our daughter was born 29 years ago, I got a phone call from an American Girl retailer. I see American Girls in several malls. But I agree that there are different pockets/attitudes in different parts of the country.

    I suspect that Toys R Us market the way they do, because it works. I have been in Toys R Us and Babies R Us many times over the last 3 years. I never really noticed the "girls"/"boys" sections. Just the grouping of like items. Mega Blocks, Duplo Blocks, Lego sets, Capsella sets, Science lab together. Infantimo and V-Tech infant toys, Kitchen/dolls/strollers etc. in another. I never specifically looked at all the kitchen stuff as being pink - there are plenty of options/ads showing both girls and boys playing with them.

    Didn't this whole thing start with not being able to find a "blue" easy bake oven? here is a blue one, one that looks like a microwave oven with a slightly pink touch pad,

    This is just :rolleyes: to do about nothing in my eyes. There are bigger gender issues to fight than "stereotyping of toys and how they are marketed"
     
  6. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    The responses to this topic just reinforce for me how this is something we need to make women more aware of. They are the ones who are buying all the dumbed down (because a lot of them are simplified versions) and pinked and princessed toys. And then they go to the drug store and pay double the money for the same razor (because it's pink or purple and curvy), and the same price for a stick of antiperspirant that has half the volume (but it's pink or jade and curvy). And then they go to their college level job and earn 82% of their male counterparts wages. The money should be pink. And curvy.

    (I realise that the members of this board are a more discriminating bunch as a whole (that's why I love you), and that it is easy to keep your own child away from or aware of the marketing.)
     
  7. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    Judging by my own kids, about the same. My kids went to this granola-type pre-school where the parents were very "enlightened". At some point, someone donated a yellow woman's bathing suit with sequins all over it to the dress-up box. And the boys grabbed the second it showed up and monopolized it. They were using it dress up as super heroes. Which is a "boy" thing, right? But it made all the parents uncomfortable to see boys running around the preschool in a woman's bathing suit with sequins. At least they were self-aware about it and did their best not to let on to their kids that there was anything wrong with what they were doing.

    But it was surprising to us how strong that reaction was among the parents.

    I haven't found it that easy. Marketing is everywhere. And people act like marketing only impacts other people but never them. But I know that marketing is very effective which means even if I think it's not impacting me, it probably is. In fact, I think they deliberately design it so you think it's not affecting you in order to make it more effective.
     
  8. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    I just got a free "women's" razor from P&G. It is aqua colored. And I got free deodorant. It is in a white container. There was also a "men's" deodorant in the P&G goodie box. My husband is taking that one because I prefer not to smell like Old Spice. Not because it is not "pink and curvy". There is not a lot of pink in the deodorant aisle, actually. Check out this page from target.com. http://www.target.com/c/deodorant-personal-care-health-beauty/-/N-5xtzp. There is blue, white, yellow...one with some pink on the page but that is reflective of the scent. If there is any color associated with gender going on, it is black and silver for men--far more uniform than the colors products intended for females are made in. Are we going to start a petition to get companies to stop making men's personal care products in those colors? Of course not, because no one gets pissed that men and boys are only offered dark and neutral colors.
     
  9. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    That is one really common trait with little boys that has to be quashed by our upbringing. They love lace and velvet and sparkle and feathers just as much, if not more, than little girls do. Males are supposed to be peacocks. Beau Brummel has a lot to answer for.
     
  10. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    I would just add a bit more...

    Yes, there are pink razors. But beyond that, pink is not a dominant color in women's personal care products. The only make up line, for example, to ever make compacts, bottles, and other things predominantly in pink was Mary Kay and they have significantly moved away from it in recent years. Dominant colors in the makeup aisle in terms of tools, lids, compacts, tend to be neutrals--blacks, browns, beiges, navies, metallics. Yes, there is pink blush and lipsticks. If you're opposed to that, then you be the trendsetter wearing blue blush and turquoise lipstick. Go for it. Post pictures. Over in the "feminine hygiene" aisle, any shade resembling red seems to be a big no-no. Boxes are not pink but blue, white, purple, black, green...nor are the boxes curvy. The tampons are, but if you want gender neutral tampons or uncurved ones marketed, I really don't know what to tell you.

    The "pink explosion" is not as pervasive for grown women as you are making it out to be. And it really isn't as bad as all that for kids. Here's a page of girls dresses from J.C. Penney. Pink is not the dominant color. In fact, I would hazard to say it seems to be various shades of blue: http://www.jcpenney.com/dotcom/kids...llwl*7j2tbkpywEjKywllwljvni9*gtbkpywE pywllwl

    Here's a page of sweaters: http://www.jcpenney.com/dotcom/jsp/...eZoneName=XGNSZone&grView=&_requestid=3087088

    Again, the dominant color is not pink. There are a wide variety of choices other than that.
     
  11. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    Absolutely, because the world will be upside down until we all agree with you.

    So women who don't see all this the way you do are just dim, unaware victims of marketing who don't know any better and need corporations to do their thinking for them by not marketing things in a way designed to appeal to their dim, unaware selves. Got it.

    I wonder what you would conclude from looking at my razor and my deodorant--and whether you would be correct.

    So if I see things as you do, it's because I am "discriminating" and if I don't, it's because I am unaware. Got that, too.
     
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  12. UGG

    UGG Well-Known Member

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    I see nothing wrong with gender specific toys. However if your kid wants to play with a Barbie or Legos and you want them to play with the opposite gender toy, that is wrong. Just let your kid play with what they want to play with. I have a friend that swore up and down she would never let her daughters get into barbie or Disney princess. (I have no idea why...does that mean your a doomed to be a stripper or something?) Anyway...guess what her girls love? Disney Princess. And my friend actually tried to stop it. I found that very odd. Let your kid play with what they want to play with.
     
  13. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    You forgot the part where those of us who own anything pink don't deserve equal pay.
     
  14. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate Active Member

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    Disney chapstick, clothing, shoes, toys, bedding, I do not like that direct marketing to young children. Grabbing a blanket and calling it a robe and making a crown out of paper and saying she was a princess didn't bother me. I guess I just put more value on open ended play and creative use of materials.

    I'm pretty strict though - I don't let her wear pants with words on the butt, I'm a Princess tees, nothing rude or sassy, minimal logos (I already bought the shirt, why do I have to advertise for free?). I'm more conservative than many of my friends about clothing choices.

    But I also talk to my kid about my thoughts. If she has a good reason, I'll let her decide. It's the only way they learn to make decisions. Is it better to have an A&F tee or 2 tees elsewhere? Does she want to wear this? http://a248.e.akamai.net/origin-cdn...files/photos/TooPrettyToDoHomeworkShirt-2.jpg What would her teacher's thoughts be? What about someone who doesn't know her? Is it funny? Is it 'just a shirt'?

    I'm not immune to marketing. But I have more skills in decision making than a three year old who wants a pink and yellow plastic light up wand that has Belle on it AND a blue one that has Cinderella on it AND the pink and purple one that has Aurora on it, when she would have just as much fun with a stick that has a ribbon or two on it.

    The filter between the pink/blue aisles and the child has to be the parent.

    My friend was raised with 5 gifts at Christmas - something to be active with outside, something to play with inside, something educational, something to share (family game), and something from your wish list. I try to use that as a rule of thumb.
     
  15. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    Why do women go to the store and buy a razor at all? Isn't that something forced on them by society? Men don't shave their legs but women do? Or is that men should shave their legs too? Everyone should do what they want to, but why do most women want to buy razors pink or not and shave their legs? And is this perhaps also why they earn less than men?
     
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  16. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    Yep.

    I'm going to go read my copy of Cinderella Ate My Daughter now.
     
  17. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    Excellent! And when you get done reinforcing your beliefs, maybe you could, in the interests of equality and non-sexism, try The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It, and get some idea of why girls will never, ever want to be like boys when they grow up, nor will they need to worry about that wage gap for much longer, no matter how much pink stuff they buy.
     
  18. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    Well, that depends on your definition of longer. I think 2063 is a long way off.

    Last month my daughter saw a woman take a craft kit from her little boy and tell him that he couldn't have it because it was a girl's toy. It's really sad when a little boy can't even get his mother to support his atypical interests.

    Some stores and manufacturers are responding to parent's concerns. Too bad I live a continent away from Harrods, because this looks wonderful.

    I was in a toy store called Benjo, in Quebec City, a week ago, and their store was organised by category, so that no matter where in the store you were, there was a mix of children shopping.
     
  19. Allskate

    Allskate Well-Known Member

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    I was in Toys R Us yesterday. I was looking for a specific item and asked an employee where I could find it. As part of her directions, she directed me to go past the "girls aisles." I guess what I was buying for my niece wasn't a "girls toy."

    A lot of baby girl clothes are pink or purple. My niece let everyone know her favorite color was green at a fairly early age (15 months). But it's not that easy to find baby/toddler girls clothes in green. (I do buy her boys clothes, but they don't fit her as well because she's scrawny).

    What I found interesting is that my sister has no problem buying "boys clothes" for my niece and even prefers it because she doesn't like the pink, overly cute, and lacey stuff. But, she's much more hesitant about putting my nephew in "girls clothes," though she got over most of that based on the cost of buying more clothes instead of hand-me-downs.
     
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  20. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    And now that we are all buying razors for our legs, they are making more and more razors for other parts of our bodies and younger women are telling me that it's "unhygienic" not to shave your labia folds (which they call a hooha or their vagina but your vagina is inside you, not outside, but I digress) and get your butt crack waxed. It doesn't end because the more body parts they can convince us to shave, the more "stuff" they can sell us. It's not even a plot. It's just that companies want to make money and they make more money if we buy more stuff.

    I personally find that razors marketed to women don't do as good a job as ones marketed to guys. They tell us that these women's razors are designed to fit our "curves" but there is nothing with as many angles as a guy's face. Anything that can shave that does great at my arm pits. Not to mention, there often isn't a lot of difference between guys and gals razors. With some brands, the only difference is the color and the guy's razor is cheaper. Because it costs them so much more to make it pastel colors?

    However, in my world, the guys shave their legs. Shaved legs heal easier if you crash your bike and get road rash. :)

    I'd love to believe that but the wage gap seems to have held pretty steady or at least only narrowed slightly since the 70s.

    The boys stuff isn't cut right, I've found. I tried to reuse some of my nicer outfits from my son with my daughter but they didn't fit her properly.
     
  21. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, women earned 59% of what men did in 1979.

    Depending on whose stats you use for this year, women are now earning 77%-85% of what men earn. Studies that have adjusted for things like time taken off for maternity leave place the gap at around 9%.
     
  22. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    I'd hope we have made a good bit of progress since 1979! Even if women do still buy pink razors.

    I do think there are still problems of discrimination against women in employment. I'm not quite ready to say its males who will be discriminated against in short order. But I'm not sure the connection with toys.
     
  23. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    I don't think males will be discriminated against. Males simply aren't going to be competitive, at least not enough of them--in spite of playing with the "better" toys.

    The wage gap was stagnant for many years but started improving steadily right around 1994. Toys R Us opened its first store in 1994.

    Coincidence....or pink power at work? :COP:
     
  24. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    I find that hard to believe. I know that males without college degrees are falling behind these days and that's a big problem. But I'm not sure women without college degrees are doing all that well either. Regardless of toys.
     
  25. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    They aren't. But women are going to college in much greater numbers than men--and to many other post-secondary schools as well. Women have been earning more bachelor's degrees than men for quite awhile, but now, women earn more advanced degrees than men and outnumber men in most professional schools. Engineering hasn't toppled yet, but it will. The trend is there. And it's not just school; men are also dropping out of the work force.

    The Coming American Matriarchy

    Income Gap Closing: Women On Pace To Outearn Men
     
  26. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    I think the jury is still out on the coming "matriarchy."
     
  27. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    When I was working in 1979, I was reading stats that put the gap as not that big. Don't make me look it up!!

    Yeah, predicting the future is precarious.

    What I am seeing is that my profession, that used to be white male dominated and pay really well is less white male dominated and also doesn't pay as well. If more women get into professional fields, I suspect those fields will start paying less well as well.
     
  28. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Now ubering Machida's hair

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    So I flipped through a toys r us catalog that came with the Sunday paper with this thread in mind.

    I found that most toys were split by age and manufacturer (wooden trains and doll house next to each other), or deal (2 fir one action men, hello kitty stuff).

    Yes there was a burly pink princess section, and it was boys using the toy tool benches - but the fisher price kitchen was gender neutral, and there was a girl riding a black electric car, and she didn't even wear a pink jacket.
    Most of the girls had pink helmet for bikes/scooter pics, but there was a girl with a black skateboard style helmet finding a green scooter, and I couldn't decide if the medium long haired kid beside her was a boy or a girl.


    So, looking at the catalog, I really don't think it reinforces gender 'segregation' of toys for the most part.

    Relax, the human race will be OK. :)
     
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  29. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    Perhaps, although the matriarchy refers not to wages but to the cultural elite. But the majority of men in high-paying jobs right now are baby boomers and there are fewer and fewer younger men coming through the pipeline, so who is going to take those jobs?

    The Great Jobs Mystery: Why Are So Many Men Dropping Out of the Workforce?

    Men have been gradually leaving the labor force since the 1960s, but the rate has accelerated sharply in the last decade. Young men aren't going to college. Old men are retiring.

    There is no doubt that men's participation in the labor force will improve as the economy improves--but while the economy is bad, it is women who are getting education and training, not men. And that means that it will have to be women, not men, who get the kind of jobs requiring education and training.

    What you look up or don't depends on whether you intend to dispute the stats or not, not on me.

    Here's the chart: http://www.pay-equity.org/info-time.html

    The cited source is: Census Bureau reports and data, Current Population Reports, Median Earning of Workers 15 Years Old and Over by Work Experience and Sex.

    I would assume that they use the worst figures available to make their point, but those figures are similar to some I've seen elsewhere.

    If the professional fields start paying less well, then who will be making good wages? And are we talking about "good" wages or the wages of men relative to women?

    I think computer software jobs pay less not because there are fewer white men doing the work, but because there are more immigrants doing the work. Traditionally, white immigrants have been paid less for the same work than native-born citizens as well, although the darker the skin, the lower the pay. Nevertheless, computer science is still one of the highest paying jobs anyone can get with a four-year degree.
     
  30. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    Is this a US ad or one in Denmark? (I thought you lived in Denmark.) I think it makes a difference. They are going to cater to their market with their ads.

    Though I haven't looked at their web site or their ads (my kids are too old for Toys "R" Us), so I don't really know if the petition is justified. My arguments here aren't that Toys "R" Us is evil, but that all this stuff does make a difference and has an impact and we'd do well to examine that rather than just shrug it off and declare that it is no big deal. Marketing works and we don't live in a vacuum so marketing both reflects and shapes our world view.

    There you go being all logical again. ;) Though you then provide the stats for me so I don't have to spend a lazy Sunday morning looking them up so perhaps my ploy worked after all. :lol:

    Plumbers?

    But actually what I see happening is that the middle class is vanishing. So the CEOs and top execs will make good wages (and those seem predominately men because of the glass ceiling) and everyone else will continue to drop in wages so that there becomes this big gap with hardly anyone straddling it. I think that women having more degrees will contribute to that.

    And also what gender you are. Which is why I don't see women entering traditionally male fields as necessarily impacting the wage gap in a straightforward way. I see that, as women enter a profession in larger and larger numbers, the perception of that profession changes and wages drop relative to what they have been.

    If you look at the chart you provided, you can see that the gap hovered around 60% for decades and then start rising at a certain rate starting around the early to mid 80s. But soon after, while the rate is still going up, the rate of growth has slowed. There's nothing to say that the rate of growth will hold steady. It could slow down or stop or it could accelerate but I vote for it leveling off at some point. I don't believe it will ever close, at least not in the near future. (And I also think predicting past 10-20 years is fruitless. I'm a bundle of optimism today.)

    I also don't think it's fair to "correct" for taking time off for maternity leave because again that's something that our culture and economy dictates that women do not something that women have to do. In other countries, parents often share that burden because there is family leave that's equal for both men and women. Also, in families where the woman makes more than guy, that puts pressure on the guy to stay home with the kids over the woman.

    So who makes more money contribute to who stays home and correcting your figures for it is just smoothing over the issues.