Toy companies vow gender neutrality as holiday season continues

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Popular British retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) announced that they will no longer make gender specific toys—only gender neutral ones.

After M&S received numerous complaints from customers for labeling toys according to gender, they announced their new initiative of making toys that are inclusive to all genders.

Customers called the company out on marketing toys such as planes, cars, fire-stations, a marble run, and dinosaurs as “Boys Stuff.” 

“This pop up fire station is perfect for little fire men everywhere” read one toy description.

“The perfect wrist accessory no boy should be without,” read the description of a wrist watch. 

The book of jokes was tagged with not only an exclusive motto but one that encourages a “boys are better than girls” attitude:

“Boys know the best jokes and here are 500 crackers to keep you ahead of the girls.”

Angry customers turned to Twitter to voice their concern, to which M&S responded with a message saying that, “from Spring 2014 all our toys will be gender neutral.”

The push to ensure that toys are marketed as such has been catching on lately. The campaign “Let Toys Be Toys” has encouraged toy companies to drop gender labels and to make a shift in marketing by letting toys sell themselves without gender gimmicks. 

Toys ‘R’ Us, TK Maxx, and Debenhams and Boots have already declared their gender neutral toy stance. 

A recent advertisement by GoldieBlox, a toy company with the motto “toys for future inventors,” encourages girls to become engineers. The ad went viral and was seen by millions of viewers. 

GoldieBlox was founded by Debbie Sterling, who wanted to encourage girls to get involved in fields which are dominated by men, such as science and engineering. 

GoldieBlox was listed as one of Adweek’s “7 Most Inspiring Ad Campaigns for Women in 2013.” 

429Magazine

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