Christmas shopping for the kids just got a whole lot more complicated for parents in Sweden, where Top-Toy Group, a licensee of the Toys R Us brand, decided to go “gender-blind” in its holiday advertising, The Wall Street Journal reports.
A careful comparison of Top-Toy’s Swedish catalog with one published by the company’s Danish partners reveals that “girls have replaced boys in some photos featuring toy guns, and boys have swapped places with girls in photos featuring dolls and stuffed dogs.”
In other words, instead of deciding if little Billy would like a Tonka truck or Hot Wheels cars for Christmas, Swedish parents can now choose from toy curling irons or “cuddle dolls” to consider for their little boy—or child. We don’t want to get too specific.
Top-Toy is also in the process of changing store displays and packaging to reflect the gender-neutral approach.
“We want our catalog to reflect how kids are playing today,” Top-Toy’s sales director Jan Nyberg told the Journal. “It’s important for us to be modern.”
Modernization might not be Top-Toy’s true motivation, though. According to the Journal,the retailer has received flack in recent years from Sweden’s top advertising watchdog, Reklamombudsmannen, for catalogs and ads that showcase girls playing with dolls, scrapbooks, and kitchen and beauty toys, while boys are shown with cars, trains, and tech gadgets.
Whatever the motivation, Glenn Stanton, director for Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family, believes the idea that kids are born into this world genderless is “laughable.”
“Gender is not a cultural construct; it’s hard-wired,” he said. “This is an old, failed experiment rooted in ideology.”