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Why are girls' toys so bloody pink?

Snow Queen Palace from Early Learning Centre: Pink toys 'damaging' for girls

Girls' toys are so pink and old-fashioned. And it's making me cross. Think about it … dolls, prams, appliances, food – everything is bloody pink.

Don't get me started on the message it sends out. Barbie is still all about the perfect partner, house and wardrobe, Polly Pocket is either a rock star or trying to create the perfect bedroom and, Bonza Brats are the ultimate mean girls with a million different clothing choices and trendy accessories.

Can toy companies get real?

We teach our daughters they can be anything they want to be and do anything they want to do but toys tell them a different story.

Avalanche of pink: A comparison by campaign group Let Toys Be Toys shows how in the Seventies, left, toys were in a variety of colours while today girls are pushed to embrace one shade

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A comparison by campaign group Let Toys Be Toys shows how in the Seventies, left, toys were in a variety of colours while today girls are pushed to embrace one shade

In a bizarre retro twist on feminism, toys in the '70s were gender-neutral in colour and boys and girls played with a wider range. Toy prams and appliances that were once red, blue and white and bought for both boys and girls are now pink, pink and more pink. What's happened? Shouldn't we have gotten better at this?

British parents have banded together to form the Let Toys Be Toys group. They argue that retailers need to stop segregating their products for boys and girls. Campaign founder Tricia Lowther told The Daily Mail, "It does bother a lot of parents, we seem to have tapped into a huge and growing sense of frustration with the way toys are promoted according to outdated, illogical and sexist stereotypes."

"It's something that has become almost impossible to escape and is very limiting for children."

They have started a petition which already has 6,000 signatures. It states, "In 2013 it is time to take down the signs, labels and categories that tell parents, grandparents and children that construction sets, adventure games, cars, science toys and superheroes are 'toys for boys', and that baby dolls, play kitchens, make-up sets, fashion, princesses and crafts are 'toys for girls'.

"Toys are for fun, for learning, for stoking imagination and encouraging creativity. Children should feel free to play with the toys that most interest them."

Research by Elizabeth Sweet, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of California, has backed up Tricia's belief that gender stereotyping of toys is getting worse. Last year in the New York Times she wrote, "We've made great strides towards gender equity over the past 50 years, but the world of toys looks a lot more like 1952 than 2012."

Meanwhile, traditional characters are being turned into curvier, sexier versions of themselves. Disney faced a backlash from parents when they tried to make Merinda from Brave into a sexier version of herself (you can read more about that travesty here). The modern day version of Strawberry Shortcake has a slimmer figure, longer hair, bigger eyes and a smaller nose. My Little Pony toys now have longer legs and huge eyes with glamorous eyelashes. Even Minnie Mouse has has been made over into an alarmingly skinny fashion model.

 

Barney’s department store gave Minnie Mouse a disturbing makeover in October, 2012.

The advocate group states, "Let Toys Be Toys isn't about political correctness, it's about giving children choices and varied choice. We believe in equality, but this isn't about making children the same. It's about giving children the choice to be individuals."

Do your boys play with pink toys? Does your little girl want a ninja sword? Would it make a difference if they were in neutral colours?

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