Spanish toy company, Toy Planet, is challenging gender stereotypes by advertising all their products as unisex.
In the last couple of years, toy companies and shops have come under fire for advertising products which enforce constructed gender stereotypes- girls’ toys are usually related to mothering or home-making and come in saccharine shades of pink, while boys’ toys include building kits and cars.
In a twist of traditional gender stereotypes, The Toy Planet Christmas catalogue see boys pushing prams and kissing dolls, and girls riding motorcycles and playing with dinosaurs.
Other images see both sexes playing with tool kits and Star Wars lightsabers, and boys playing with toy irons and brushing dolls’ hair.
It is the second year that the company (which has 200 stores in Spain) has taken this stance, which it took after trialling posters on Twitter and Facebook, that were met with a positive response.
But, according to Ignacio Gaspar, the company’s general director, this is not enough. He told Spanish newspaper, El Pais that he wants the campaign to inspire other toy companies:
“We were hoping that other [stores] would join our initiative, but so far we’re not seeing that happen,” he says.
“This is still an unresolved matter in the industry. They've congratulated us a lot, but the support has been more about attitude than about behaviour,” he says.
“If communication is not encouraged, it’s hard for someone to take the helm with the changes. Who does it? The families? The companies? It’s like a dog chasing its tail.”
The move has been positively received by the campaign group Let Toys Be Toys, which works to end the categorising of toys as only suitable for one gender or the other, which instills gender stereotyping from a young age and has been seen to result in a change to the way boys and girls approach their careers.
“We think it's great to see images of boys and girls playing together in the Toy Planet catalogue,” says a Let Toys Be Toys spokesperson.
“If children know that they can play with any toy it gives them greater freedom and helps develop a range of skills.”