Last year in the run-up to Christmas, we highlighted the gender-stereotyping of toys. This year, Pinkstinks - the campaign and social enterprise that challenges the culture of pink which invades every aspect of girls' lives - has a Christmas campaign calling for the Early Learning Centre to stop its pinkification and gender-stereotyping of children’s toys. They are quick to point out that ELC is not the only culprit but as they claim to be centres for learning, it's only fair to critique exactly what our children are learning from them. And if it's that girls and boys should be channelled into narrow gender stereotypes rather than having a wide world opened up to them, then parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents would be wise to ask themselves if that's what they want to support.
You can read more on their blog where there's an inspiring story about 13-year-old Philipe Johansson and Ebba Silvert from Sweden who reported Toys 'R' Us to Sweden's Advertising Ombudsman because all the boys in their Christmas catalogue were portrayed as active, and all the girls were portrayed as pink and passive. The Ombudsman decided that the Toys ‘R’ Us catalogue “discriminates based on gender and counteracts positive social behaviour, lifestyles, and attitudes” and the company was issued with a public reprimand. So this year the catalogue will be different!
UPDATE: There's an interview in The Guardian with Abi and Emma Moore who launched PinkStinks which begins: 'Towards the end of the great war, in June 1918, America's most
authoritative women's magazine, the Ladies' Home Journal (it still
exists), had a few wise words of advice for fretting mothers. "There
has been a great diversity of debate on the subject," it wrote, "but
the generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the
girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger
colour, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more
delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl." '