When you walk into a toy store one of the first things you will notice is a sea of blue and pink separating the girl versus boy toys.
On one side you will find dolls, dress-up clothes, kitchen sets, and all sorts of toys for girls that encourage them to buy into traditional gender roles of women taking care of the home and children. On the other side you will find trucks, action figures, dinosaurs, and mountains of other toys for boys that encourage them to play rough and get dirty.
Harrods, a famous London department store, has decided to do away with gender specific areas and instead group toys by theme. The first gender-neutral toy department includes an enchanted forest, miniature toy world, circus area, candy shop, and reading room. That means no more pink and blue aisles! Hooray!
It’s refreshing to see a toy department take a different approach to unveiling toys to children, but that doesn’t mean that the very gender specific toys you see in traditional toy stores don’t still exist at Harrods’ new Toy Kingdom. The themed layout, however, may give boys and girls a chance to find toys that appeal more to their tastes as opposed to simply running to the pink or blue aisles.
What I’d really love to see is toy manufactures looking beyond traditional gender norms for toys, but Harrods’ gender-neutral department is a step in the right direction.
What do you think about Harrods’ gender-neutral toy department? Do you think it will make a difference in the kinds of toys boys and girls choose to play with?
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Photo by Janet Mck used under a Creative Commons license
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