US-based toy retailer Toys"R"Us has been reprimanded for gender discrimination following a complaint filed by a group of Swedish sixth graders about the store’s 2008 Christmas catalogue.
Last winter, a sixth grade class at Gustavslund school in Växjö in south central Sweden reported Toys"R"Us to the Reklamombudsmannen (Ro) [advertising ombudsman].
According to the youngsters, the Toys"R"Us Christmas catalogue featured “outdated gender roles because boys and girls were shown playing with different types of toys, whereby the boys were portrayed as active and the girls as passive”, according to a statement from Ro.
The group’s teacher explained to the local Smålandsposten newspaper that filing the complaint was the culmination of more than two years of “long-term work” by the students on gender roles. [ed: they spent two years on this!]
So having different toys for boys and girls is now considered "outdated" in genderless Sweden. And girls playing with dolls is thought to be merely "passive" whilst boys playing with cars or train sets is thought to be "active" and therefore superior (just shows what priority the Swedes give to motherhood, which presumably is also denigrated as a "passive" occupation).
Why? One of the indoctrinated children gives it away:
Classmate Moa Averin emphasized the importance of children being able to be who they want even if “guys want to be princesses sometimes”.
This is the liberal idea that we should self-determine who we are, and therefore not be defined by unchosen gender roles, so that boys have the "freedom" to choose to be princesses.
Never mind that this is a spurious, trivial freedom for sixth-grade boys and that the real freedom is to actually be allowed to be a boy and to be guided toward a strong, well-developed, productive manhood.
According to the Ro’s advisory committee, the Toys"R"Us catalogue “discriminates based on gender and counteracts positive social behaviour, lifestyles, and attitudes”.
"... the catalogue portrays children’s games and choice of toys in a narrow-minded way, and this exclusion of boys and girls from different types of toys is, in itself, degrading to both genders,” Ro said in a statement.
Better obey the Toy Kommissar. Don't want to fall into those negative social behaviours and lifestyles, such as having little girls play with dolls.
Some of the reader comments on the news item were interesting. Not everyone is buying into this aspect of liberal modernity:
Swedes are lovely people, but their insane obsession with political correctness and social engineering is turning them into a bunch of weirdos, and they will accrue that reputation around the world if they don't watch it.
Advertisers spend a fortune on advertising goods. They should not be hidebound by the pseudo-intellectual political ideology of extreme liberals, or by any other group - they should be free to advertise as they see fit so long as they are not being obscene etc.
Like it or not, most toy trucks are sold to, and played with by, boys, and most toy kitchens are used by girls. The loony ideologues may not like that, but it is true, and if advertisers are reflecting the real world rather than the utopia of fruitcake liberals, then they should be applauded, not chastised.
This reader was also less than impressed by the Swedish drive to androgyny:
This is the way I look at it, I've been a female for 48 years. I'm glad I'm a girl. I would much rather be a female than a male, especially as a kid. And I have a feeling that if I asked everyone I've ever known, they would also say they were glad they were the gender they are.
I ENJOYED playing with "girl stuff" as a kid. Only thing that I didn't like is that my brother's GI Joe had a tent and Malibu Barbie didn't. So Barbie stole his tent. Besides...it went better with her camper. It had camping stools, a lantern, sleeping bags..all kinds of good stuff. Also, my brother would have rather DIED than someone force him to play "girl stuff." He LOVED his Tonka trucks, he LOVED being a cowboy.
If the people of Sweden would take time off from doing sex research (as someone who worked in medical research at Hopkins for 15 years I've seen tons of their articles in journals) they would see the overwhelming majority of the world like who they are ... Check out the Swedish research and medical advancements, that's the majority of what they concentrate on. So...I guess it's no wonder they're teaching their children that differences in the sexes is wrong. Remember folks, God created TWO DIFFERENT sexes. If he wanted us to be like amoebas and not have any sexual differences, we wouldn't have all these different parts each sex likes so much on the other one.
It isn't "degrading," as the Swedish authorities put it, to treat boys and girls differently - as they really are different, and mostly happily so.