Friday, November 30, 2012

Sweden Toy Store Offers Gender-Neutral Catalog

A toy store in Sweden has published a gender-neutral toy catalog. From the Wall Street Journal:
"On some pages, girls brandish toy guns and boys wield blow-dryers and cuddle dolls. Top-Toy, a privately-held company, published 12 million catalogs and owns the BR Toys chain, with 303 stores in Northern Europe."
The store has also trained employees to avoid gender stereotypes. As a salesperson explains:
"If someone asks for a present for a 5-year-old girl, we don't automatically take them to the dolls sectio. Instead, we ask them what her interests are." 
Well, yes, that would be the logical thing to do, wouldn't it? But, let's just go ahead and cue the fainting couch cries of "political correctness gone awry!!" (Annnnnnd, yep, read the WSJ comments. Or not.)

When I was about 5, my mother brought home a He-Man toy for me that she had picked up from a garage sale. When she gave it to me, I said something along the lines of, "That's for boys!" When she told me that it was okay for girls to play with "boys'" toys (not to be confused with boy-toys), it was like a whole new world opened up for me right then and there.

Up until then, I was playing only with "girl" toys because I thought those were the only toys girls were, like, legally "allowed" to play with. After this belief was revealed to be a myth, my gaggle of childhood friends and I had made our toys have many cross-GI Joe/Barbie/Popple/Transformers adventures, wars, and romances.

That's apparently really scary to defenders of "traditional gender roles." 

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