Blue for boys, and pink for girls…but not any more.
Today we heard the great news that Hamleys Toy Shop has removed the signs dividing the blue section for boys from the pink one for girls. This has happened after blogger Laura Nelson lauched a campaign outlining her concerns that the layout restricted choices and contributes to society's gender inequalities.
In my book Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism is a description of going through Hamleys toy store and being struck by the absolute division between the pink girls' world and the blue boys' world. It was a trip to Hamleys when my daughter was young that really woke me up to the way that we are currently so keen to see girls and boys as necessarily requiring different toys and different ways of playing. As I considered what was going on, I realised that these attitudes are very much tied up with the resurgence of biological determinism and the belief that any differences we see between men and women are produced by biological rather than cultural influences. When I was researching my book I heard from many people, from toy companies to scientists to parents, who said that this would never change, but I also heard from many people who were eager to see change happen. Since the book was published I've been really astounded by the passionate positive responses I've had, and I'm so glad that waves have been created that have encouraged Hamleys to make this recent shift. I do admire the activism of Laura Nelson and the way that she has made this toy company recognise that an awful lot of parents and girls aren't buying the narrative any more that says girls are just living dolls.
A good day for feminism!
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