Petition Asks Toys ‘R’ Us To Ditch Gender-Specific Marketing

A group have parents have started a campaign asking Toys ‘R’ Us to stop marketing its toys along gender lines, saying the retailer is getting more extreme in its separation between the sexes. Just this month over in the United Kingdom, the company said t would drop gender references in its stores across the pond and market products in a more neutral way.

The original petition on Change.org had reached over 3,000 signatures by this morning, and a new petition is collecting the overflow now, with over 2,850 signatures as of this writing.

“When walking into a Toys ‘R’ Us store or opening your catalog, it’s instantly clear to kids that science, building, vehicles, and superheroes are the purview of boys while girls’ toy options are limited dolls, crafts, beauty supplies, and, of course, princess paraphernalia,” the petition said.

Blue and pink should be done away with in stores, says a Change.org senior organizer, as well as signs that identify girls and boys toys.

“I think that as soon as a child is born and you say, ‘boy,’ or ‘girl,’ they’re told what their destiny is going to be, and we continue that in toys by telling them what they’re supposed to play with,” she told CBS New York. “So if parents have the option of going into a store and simply picking out what’s best for their child, rather than what gender Toys ‘R’ Us says they’re supposed to be, then children will have a healthier upbringing, and they’ll have a better understanding of gender roles and how to fight them.”

Toys ‘R’ Us says its U.S. stores aren’t laying things out based on gender, however, so there’s nothing to change.

“At Toys ‘R’ Us, we understand that children have many diverse interests, and we consistently strive to portray that in our aisles and in our advertising materials. There are no gender-specific toy sections in our stores,” the retailer said in a statement. “Toys are merchandised by product category, so customers can easily see the breadth of assortment.”

As for its advertising, that’s also totally non-gender specific either, it says, adding: “With regards to advertising, Toys ‘R’ Us regularly features girls and boys playing with all different types of toys and has done so for some time.”

Parents Petition Toys ‘R’ Us To Do Away With Gender-Specific Marketing [CBS New York]