Patterico's Pontifications


What Kids Want

Filed under: Political Correctness — DRJ @ 8:26 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

According to some Swedish sixth graders and the European Advertising Standards Alliance, Toys ‘R Us doesn’t have a clue what kids want:

“A class at Gustavslund school in south central Sweden spent more than two years studying gender roles before setting sights on the 2008 Toys “R” Us Christmas catalog. When they did, they were more than prepared to recognize the sexist crud inside. “Small girls in princess stuff … and here are boys dressed as super heroes,” 13-year-old Hannes Psajd told a local newspaper while flipping through the catalog. “It’s obvious that you get affected by this.”
The class filed a complaint with Swedish regulatory agency Reklamombudsmannen, which is a member of the European Advertising Standards Alliance, arguing that the catalog modeled restrictive sex stereotypes. The agency reviewed the complaint and found that, indeed, boys are shown “playing in action filled environments,” while girls “are shown sitting or standing in passive poses,” the agency said in a statement. As a whole, “the catalogue portrays children’s 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,” the organization said.

Ultimately, the agency issued an official rebuke this week of Toys “R” Us, arguing that it “discriminates based on gender and counteracts positive social behaviour, lifestyles, and attitudes.”

Clearly these sixth graders deserve a Nobel Peace Prize.


59 Responses to “What Kids Want”

  1. I have two sons. As babies, when they could sit unassisted (~6 months) they were both known to move a block on the floor and make raspberry noises.

    {move object on floor while making raspberry noises = cars and trucks}

    I am absolutely positive that even Neanderthal baby boys moved rocks on the ground while making raspberry noises.

    My daughter on the other hand (19 years-old and special needs) loves baby dolls. She also loves Bumblebee from Transformers, but loves baby dolls more and Bumblebee is the only car/truck she loves.

    kimsch (2ce939)

  2. Same country right!

    Alta Bob (e8af2b)

  3. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that “Toys R Us” wants to sell toys, despite what some Swedish sixth-graders said.

    However, the company does use that weird reverse “R” in their logo, so they may be Communists.

    Hey, those Swedish kids could be be right. I mean, we can’t have boys “playing in action filled environments,” and girls “shown sitting or standing in passive poses.”

    That’s against God, nature and everything.

    Ag80 (d1363b)

  4. Of course, in this country, text books can’t show a woman in the kitchen, but it’s absolutely okay to show her as Rosie the Riveter…


    kimsch (2ce939)

  5. Always remember that the Swedes, and a few are friends of mine, were allies of the Nazis in World War II. They were technically neutral, which meant they did not have to fight on the side of the Germans and get their asses kicked. They just kept mining iron ore and shipping it to Germany all through WWII.

    This nonsense about gender roles is the old leftist nonsense that has been disproved here in this country. If they want to do it again, be my guest The best study I know of is the accidental experiment Where a boy’s penis was accidentally removed. He was raised as a girl but never felt that it was right and eventually learned the truth.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  6. My boys were always on search and destroy missions when they were small. Build a tower, knock it down. They climbed everything, they wrassled constantly, and only sat still when they were all played out from that day’s adventures and would agree to be read to.

    My daughter nursed her baby dolls, spent oodles of time changing their clothes, reading to her stuff animals, and playing dress-up in my high heels.

    We didn’t force it, this is what they naturally gravitated toward. I think we were good parents to leave them to their own natural inclinations and healthy outlets.

    I’m glad we weren’t like the Swedes who are rejecting something just to be able to force *their* stereotyping on others. What a shame to be so narrow minded. Typical progressives.

    Dana (863a65)

  7. Dana,

    I believe it is somewhere in Sweden where a couple refuses to divulge the gender of their child called puck or something like that.

    Let me check Google…

    Ah, the child is called “Pop” and the parents are keeping the child’s gender a secret so people won’t treat Pop as a girl or as a boy, thereby imprinting gender identity on the child.

    The child’s parents said so long as they keep Pop’s gender a secret, he or she will be able to avoid preconceived notions of how people should be treated if male or female.

    kimsch (2ce939)

  8. In a very similar situation, I’ve written many letters of complaint to Victoria’s Secret because they discriminate against men in their lingerie catalogues by not showing cross dressing models in them in acknowledgement of that segment of the population which enjoys such habits.

    For some reason, the only reply I get back is “Get a life, loser.” Do you think I should pursue this to other authorities?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  9. kimsch, yeah, I had read that and was more than a little creeped out. The parents believe gender is a social construct, so what they are doing instead is forcing their own social construct onto their child.

    What sort of people opt to use their child as a social experiment and construct?

    I’ll tell you: People who shouldn’t reproduce, that’s who.

    Oh. Pop and parents are Swedish. It figures.

    Dana (863a65)

  10. The little president man will usher in the era of gender neutral toys like world has never seen! Please to be honoring this great achievement!

    happyfeet (6b707a)

  11. Heh.

    When my daughter was a youthful lass, I refused to buy her “war” stuff. No toy soldiers, no toy guns, no “war” stuff whatsoever. Strictly verboten. I bought her Barbie dolls and Barbie cars and things like that. What did she do? She pretended the dolls were soldiers and the cars were tanks and played war with them (totally behind my back).

    And I’m proud to say that today she is in the Army and has spent 15 months in Iraq. (pics here and here) I can also say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she and VeV are complete opposites. Even if she doesn’t have the right to say it (being in uniform), I know she’d feel it if she were to read anything VeV said. (evidence of her strength of character and strong mind here)

    But she fully admits she was never and is not now a “girly” girl. She’s different. And she would scoff at this goofball declaration by goofball scandinavians.

    My daughter is different from most girls. She saw it, she sees, she knows it. And, she doesn’t have a problem with it. But to remake everything in the image of “sameness?” She doesn’t accept that. Equal but different is my thing and she would likely say the same. Enough of this “omega male and alpha female” bovine byproduct.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  12. Isn’t Sweden one of those countries where men sit to urinate. Standing up to pee is supposed to be a domination thing, you see….

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  13. I was a “girly-girl” and I also loved learning from my Dad. So I learned how to use power tools, take things apart and put them back together, mow the lawn, and when I had my own car I bought brake pads and a book and did it all myself. Dad also taught me a few things in the kitchen. Mom taught other things in the kitchen and sewing and crafts. I feel that I am a well rounded person. I hope to teach my sons all the skills that I have too (and it’s working – the 15 year old can use power tools and a needle and thread…) My daughter is special needs and she can be my princess the rest of her life.

    kimsch (2ce939)

  14. That’s a great link and story, kimsch, including this:

    Although Pop knows that there are physical differences between a boy and a girl, Pop’s parents never use personal pronouns when referring to the child – they just say Pop.

    Which means Pop could still gravitate to his or her gender when she/he gets older … but will have a hard time using personal pronouns.

    DRJ (7fbae6)

  15. Although Pop knows that there are physical differences between a boy and a girl, Pop’s parents never use personal pronouns when referring to the child – they just say Pop.

    Bob Dole always referred to Bob Dole as Bob Dole. Was he from Sweden?

    Gazzer (22ecdc)

  16. I knew a couple who refused to buy things like cap guns. They were horrified that at a party their kids picked up broken sticks and used them as pretend guns just like all the other kids present.

    Soronel Haetir (2b4c2b)

  17. Pop will probably wonder if it is acceptable for Pop to be who Pop is. Sound like the poor kid was born into a test where there’s no right answer.

    Somebody gave me a doll as a kid, I dissected it, frustrating experience. Played cars, brought home lizards and snakes and skunks, lucky for me my folks just laughed at all of it.

    Some parents take themselves too seriously.

    jodetoad (059c35)

  18. I was a politically correct mother for about 12 months. I wouldn’t let our oldest son play with toy guns. I can still remember the day I put him in his high chair and he chewed crackers into the shape of guns so he could play Cowboys and Indians. That was the beginning of the end of my political correctness.

    DRJ (7fbae6)

  19. We just got our first grandchild last Spring. For the baby shower I wanted to get something really special, so I made a grandpas-first-trip to Toys-R-Us looking for an assault weapon.

    I could not find a single firearm in the store!

    I even asked for help (something that, as a guy, naturally violates the stereotype) but the only thing anyone in the store could find in the way of weapons was one sword. They didn’t even have any light sabers!!! I don’t know if this is Toys-R-Us policy nationally or just here in Ann Arbor.

    I finally settled on a chain saw that makes a loud irritating noise (for my daughter’s benefit), and I made new labels for the box. “Baby’s First Chainsaw”

    I don’t think they’ve given it to her yet. They probably want to remove the batteries first.

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  20. Oh, I did find a foam missile launcher and I made new labels for that too. But I think my son-in-law has already been playing with it.

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  21. I bought my girls a John Deere. They love it, Better Half was not at all amused.

    JD (2e1461)

  22. I’ve been to Ann Arbor many times, Gesudnheit – and if fleeting impressions count for anything, rest assured that the particular store in question was merely following the dictates of some of the progressives in the community. You can still find toy guns at the stores here in Chicago – but sadly, you can’t actually find a real gun in order to keep you from getting shot while watching TV in your living room.

    I’ve said it before, but they’ll all a bunch of dirty, dirty Scandis; to paraphrase Reagan -“Ladies and Gentlemen, I have summarily outlawed both Sweden and Norway. Bombing will begin in 5 minutes.”

    Dmac (5ddc52)

  23. It’s as if someone is making a value judgment about which roles are positive and which are negative. Is it bad if girls are shown working in a kitchen and boys are shown playing with a truck?

    MayBee (34a54a)

  24. Yes, May Bee, it’s very bad because it confirms the inevitability that those girls working in a kitchen will later be working in that kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.

    And those boys playing with a truck will inevitability be the very ones hollering at those barefoot, pregnant kitchen workers to get them another beer.


    Dana (863a65)

  25. Oh, Dana. I would love to see a toy catalog with a “barefoot and pregnant” costume for girls and a “wifebeater and whiskey bottle” costume for little boys.

    MayBee (34a54a)

  26. Heh. I should have included a pre-emptive strike, May Bee:

    (Yes, JD, Scott Jacobs, daley, etc., there is indeed something wrong with a man hollering at the little woman to bring him another beer!)

    Dana (863a65)

  27. I think yelling for a sammich is ok, though.

    MayBee (34a54a)

  28. That’s right and thank you. He shouldn’t have to holler. A sammich should be understood as well. 😉

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  29. I never holler, so there!

    I have taught each of my boys how to cook and sew because I figured they would not always have a woman around to do it for them. Scouting is very useful in that regard. They have been very appreciative.


    daleyrocks (718861)

  30. Maybee beat me to it! Owe you a Coke.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  31. You know, you guys remind me of that Bugs Bunny routine, where Bugs is tempted to do something mischievous to another character. And he pauses and looks at the camera:

    If I do it, I get a whipping…,” Bugs murmurs. He thinks about it. Then, grinning from ear to rabbity ear: “I do’ed it!

    Mayhem ensues.

    On the topic at hand. When I was looking for day care in Los Angeles years ago, there was a very serious older woman nearby who ran quite the organized day care center.

    She informed me she had several rules for prospective clients and their children. Okay, I told her, ready to write down her rules, which I was sure were many and diverse.

    First, she said, she needed two weeks off in the summer to protest nuclear weapons. I’m not making this up, incidentally.

    Um. Okay, I replied.

    Then she told me that she forbade all “war toys.”

    I scribbled away, and muttered something like “good luck on that. She gave me what my Hawai’ian friends call “stink eye.”

    Also, the woman said very seriously, the children could not wear “war apparel.”

    I started to say something, and my wife elbowed me to quietude before I made things worse.

    Yep. The lady was afraid of kids wearing fake combat fatigues.

    I’m sure that the boys and girls were using sticks as fake pistols and such in the yard at that very moment. But not in her mind.

    Hey, it’s her business. But I sure as heck didn’t want my kids there.

    It takes all sorts. I didn’t mind her being…well, fervent in her belief system. But I am pretty sure that she would not grant me the same patience.

    Strange place, our America.

    Eric Blair (8484db)

  32. He shouldn’t have to holler. A sammich should be understood as well.

    D’oh! *smacks her forehead*

    How silly of me: he shouldn’t have to utter a peep because the good wife will be soooo tuned into his every need and desire, that she will intuitively *know* when he wants a sammich or beer and respond accordingly.

    Dana (863a65)

  33. Well, this is easy…
    I vote to boycott IKEA!

    AD - RtR/OS! (877de6)

  34. Dana @32 – Exactly! Don’t forget the sex part either. Men are simple. If the women show up naked with beer and food, we are usually very happy.

    OUCH!!! Where did that Jimmy Choo come from.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  35. In all seriousness, my wife was all irritated with me about not unloading the dishwasher about a year ago.

    Her response was not to serve me a drink at dinner.

    It was odd, because I didn’t notice it as something bad. I just got up, made myself a drink, and brought her one. I mean, it wasn’t any trouble when I made myself a cocktail, right?

    She finally told me about it, and I told her I was happy to unload the dishwasher more often.

    I love my wife. She doesn’t seem all that unhappy with me. I haven’t had to duck any shoes for years and years.

    Eric Blair (8484db)

  36. Actually, daley, most men are happy when there are women around—independent of table service in all senses of the term.

    Eric Blair (8484db)

  37. Exactly! Don’t forget the sex part either. Men are simple. If the women show up naked with beer and food, we are usually very happy.

    It isn’t good to combine the naked, beer, and food. Naked is a force we must use for our own good.

    MayBee (34a54a)

  38. Eric – I was speaking about an ideal world, like Obama, and I fully expect to get smacked around like Sarkozy smacked him, but I think most folks here know I was not being serious. A fellow can dream, can’t he?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  39. MayBee – I object to the opression of your preservation of your nakedness.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  40. Kids will play with want they want to play. If you don’t gift it to them, they’ll make their own.

    nk (df76d4)

  41. Hey daley, you guys are like Bugs Bunny in #31. It’s part of your charm, right?

    I’ll bet Dana would only lightly throw a shoe at you.

    Eric Blair (8484db)

  42. Eric Blair, I would only lightly throw a shoe at daley if that was one of the days I was permitted to even wear them!

    MayBee, I will only say that while nakedness is a force to be used, this also displays why we are not as simple (read: uncomplicated) as men but are more complex (read: manipulative)

    Dana (863a65)

  43. “Actually, daley, most men are happy when there are women around”

    Eric – I do not deny this and they are interesting to study in an anthropological way. Complex creatures.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  44. Two completely different species that share a method of reproduction.

    AD - RtR/OS! (877de6)

  45. What do you expect of a peoples’ who give a Nobel Prize to a guy who MIGHT do something to deserve it.

    HeavenSent (01a566)

  46. Nakedness is a forced that never seems to be used for good ;-). I denounce MayBee, Dan, and those damned Manolo thingies that Better Half bought.

    JD (fecec9)

  47. While girls “are shown sitting or standing in passive poses,” the agency said in a statement.

    If you read through this thread, it becomes clear the researcher who made the above statement does not recognize what is surely a passive-aggressive pose.

    MayBee (34a54a)

  48. Never let the facts get in the way of the narrative!

    AD - RtR/OS! (877de6)

  49. No sh*t. You folks get beer and sandwiches from your significantly Better Halves? I get a Coach purse to the temple for even thinking about asking.

    JD (2d6d20)

  50. Maybee #47,


    DRJ (7fbae6)

  51. Comment by JD — 10/10/2009 @ 1:05 pm

    She must be on the payroll of some of the other commenters here.

    AD - RtR/OS! (877de6)

  52. Do you ladies ever use your powers for good?

    JD (2d6d20)

  53. LOL!!!

    The Emperor who feels helpless. (1b037c)

  54. Do you ladies ever use your powers for good?

    You’re still alive, right? :)

    Dana (863a65)

  55. Do you ladies ever use your powers for good?

    Obviously. Your wife has Manolos, right?

    MayBee (34a54a)

  56. “According to some Swedish sixth graders and the European Advertising Standards Alliance, Toys ‘R Us doesn’t have a clue what kids want: ”

    Seems more like Toys R Us has a role in creating “what kids want.”

    imdw (603c39)

  57. I could have said “… Toys ‘R Us doesn’t have a clue what kids should want,” but it’s close enough.

    DRJ (7fbae6)

  58. Aww, I had to work and missed all the fun. I still think “go out and run” Saucony is much better than “does this make my backside look fat” Jimmy Choo.

    And, for the record, I always answer that question honestly, so don’t ask if you don’t want honesty. 😉

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  59. The child’s parents said so long as they keep Pop’s gender a secret, he or she will be able to avoid preconceived notions of how people should be treated if male or female.

    They’re fooling nobody. By the time they’re 5 or 6 girls and boys look and sound different. When puberty hits, of course, it’s game over.

    Are they not going to tell Pop his/her own sex? These kinds of experiments always seem to leave the kids hating their parents.

    Bob Smith (5471f3)

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