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  1. #1
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    Change.org petition to Toys"R" Us

    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.
    ‎"You emerge victorious from the maze you've been travelling in." Oct 21,2012- Best Fortune Cookie Ever!

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    As a child of the 60's, I recall spending a lot of time looking at the trains. 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.

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    Hamley's doesn't have stores here- but I see they took steps to get away from this awful trend- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/n...of-sexism.html
    ‎"You emerge victorious from the maze you've been travelling in." Oct 21,2012- Best Fortune Cookie Ever!

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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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDilemma View Post
    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.
    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.

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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*
    Haunting the Princess of Pink since 20/07/11...

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjblue View Post
    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.
    "Shink it"?
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDilemma View Post
    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.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vesperholly View Post
    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.
    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.)

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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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maatTheViking View Post
    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.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by vesperholly View Post
    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.
    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.
    "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better." -- Samuel Beckett

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDilemma View Post
    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.
    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.

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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.

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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). 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 ). 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.

    And nobody probably cares.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by julieann View Post
    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.
    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. #20
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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?

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