Toys ‘R’ Us to drop gender stereotypes from advertising

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Toy retail company Toys ‘R’ Us has said it plans to have a more inclusive approach in its marketing to children by dropping stereotypical gender representations from toy advertisements.

The decision came following a meeting with consumer campaign group ‘Let Toys Be Toys,’ which lobbies sexist stereotypes in the toy industry.

Megan Perryman, Let Toys Be Toys campaigner, said in a statement: “We’re delighted to be working so closely with a major toy retailer and believe that there is much common ground here. Even in 2013, boys and girls are still growing up being told that certain toys are for them, while others are not.”

She added: “This is not only confusing but extremely limiting, as it strongly shapes their ideas about who they are and who they can go on to become. We look forward to seeing Toys ‘R’ Us lead the way to a more inclusive future for boys and girls.”

Toys ‘R’ Us Managing Director, Roger McLaughlan, said: “We very much enjoyed meeting Let Toys Be Toys. We will work with the Let Toys Be Toys team to ensure we develop the best plan for our customers.”

The retailer announced that it would draw up a set of guidelines for in store advertising, removing explicit references to gender, and displaying images that show boys and girls playing with the same toys.

The measures are set to be implemented later this year, starting with the Toys ‘R’ Us Christmas 2013 catalogue.

Speaking exclusively to this week, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he was “very concerned” by recent revelations of several schools having Section 28-style language in their sex education policies and he believes poor sex education represents a danger to children.

He said: “I am concerned about that – very concerned – that’s absolutely not what should be happening. I actually think the most important thing of all is what goes on in the playground – how children talk to each other and are encouraged to talk to each other about love and about relationships – I think that is an immensely important area – and generally we are a bit out-of-date in the ways in which we provide guidance to schools to talk about sex and relationships.”