Toying with Gender Stereotypes
I do love the Swedes, have never been there but it always appears to me to be a really progressive culture and is on my list of places to visit. Swedish toy manufacturer Top Toy have joined the throngs of toy companies releasing new catalogues for the holiday season. Theirs however is wonderful in its difference, they have decided to switch gender roles, in other words boys with dolls and girls with guns – love it!
The catalogue has been produced in Denmark as well as Sweden, but the gender roles are only reversed in the Swedish edition. This is a result of a citation by a watchdog group, in 2008, for having stereotypical games and toys for each gender in their advertising. The company has hit back with aplomb, why can’t every company take a hit and turn it around like this?
When I was a kid and I went to visit Santa all I wanted was an Evel Knievel toy, a football or a gun, but I invariably got a doll or a colouring book, what a jip! So to see one of Sweden’s biggest toy makers put together a catalogue like this is just inspiring.
Since 2008 the Swedish government has spent millions on gender equality within its schooling system, a strategy that includes teachers actively working to reverse stereotyping and putting forward the use of the word “hen” rather than saying either “he” or “she”. Some might say this is taking it too far, but I think it’s exactly the way to go, lets hope other countries see the importance of letting children find their own way.