Mums re-ignite toy gender debate with new campaign

Top retailers named and shamed; Let Toys Be Toys aims to eliminate the boy / girl divide in toy stores, packaging and marketing.
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A new parent-led campaign is calling on the UK's top toy retailers to stop promoting toys as only for boys or only for girls.

Let Toys Be Toys arose from a thread on Mumsnet where parents shared experiences of shopping for toys for children who didn't fit into the established boys and girls themes.

Its petition currently has over 700 signatures, sparking a fresh debate on one of the hot toy industry topics of 2012

Let Toys Be Toys has been examining which toy retailers are the most guilty of gender stereotyping in the way they promote toys to kids. According to its survey Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Asda, Boots, Wilkinsons and TK Maxx are the worst offenders when it comes to a boy / girl divide in stores. Hamleys was praised for reorganising its “boys” and “girls” departments into toy-based themes.

Boots were criticised for categorising science toys in its boys category while M&S put gender agnostic toys like marbles and walky-talkies in boys packaging. Does Let Toys Be Toys have a point?

On the campaign’s Facebook page – which has over 800 Likers – The Entertainer has come under fire for its store layout:

Let Toys Be Toys founder Kerry Brennan said; “Everyone agrees that children should be free to choose to play with any kind of toy, but this is difficult if toys are strongly marketed with pictures, labels and descriptions that focus on one gender or the other, and if they are displayed in separate sections in the shop.”

Results of the survey have been published at

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