Toys"R"Us scolded for gender discrimination
Published: 06 Oct 2009 16:26 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Oct 2009 16:26 GMT+02:00
- Man thrown off bus in gender row (03 Oct 09)
- Top researcher 'too old' to work in Sweden (22 Sep 09)
- Swedish parents keep 2-year-old's gender secret (23 Jun 09)
Last winter, a sixth grade class at Gustavslund school in VĂ€xjĂ¶ in south central Sweden reported Toys"R"Us to the Reklamombudsmannen (Ro), a self-regulatory agency which polices marketing and advertising communications in Sweden to ensure they are in line with guidelines set out by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
According to the youngsters, the Toys"R"Us Christmas catalogue featured âoutdated gender roles because boys and girls were shown playing with different types of toys, whereby the boys were portrayed as active and the girls as passiveâ, according to a statement from Ro.
The groupâs teacher explained to the local SmĂ„landsposten newspaper that filing the complaint was the culmination of more than two years of âlong-term workâ by the students on gender roles.
Thumbing through the catalogue, 13-year-old Hannes Psajd explained that he and his twin sister had always shared the same toys and that he was concerned about the message sent by the Toys"R"Us publication.
âSmall girls in princess stuffâŠand here are boys dressed as super heroes. Itâs obvious that you get affected by this,â he told the newspaper.
âWhen I see that only girls play with certain things then, as a guy, I donât want it.â
Classmate Moa Averin emphasized the importance of children being able to be who they want even if âguys want to be princesses sometimesâ.
Upon reviewing the case, the Reklamombudsmannen agreed with the sixth-graders complaint, and on Tuesday issued a public reprimand of the toy retailer.
According to the Roâs advisory committee (OpinionsnĂ€mnden), the Toys"R"Us catalogue âdiscriminates based on gender and counteracts positive social behaviour, lifestyles, and attitudesâ.
Specifically, the committee found that the catalogue feature boys âplaying in action filled environmentsâ while girls âare shown sitting or standing in passive posesâ.
âTaken together, the catalogue portrays childrenâs games and choice of toys in a narrow-minded way, and this exclusion of boys and girls from different types of toys is, in itself, degrading to both genders,â Ro said in a statement.
The public reprimand has no accompanying sanctions for Toys"R"Us, as the Ro has no authority to formally punish the companies it finds at fault.