[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.