Gender-Neutral Pens and Toy Catalogs: Maybe Someday

Someday I hope to live in a world where a woman can run for office and no one talks about her clothes/makeup/hair or asks her if she’s read 50 Shades of Grey. Someday I hope to live in a world where no one is stupid enough to utter a phase like “legitimate rape.”

Someday I hope to live in a world where a toy store catalog that shows boys playing with a kitchen set worthy of coverage in the Wall Street Journal. And someday I hope to live in a world where companies realize that making a product pink and charging more for it, doesn’t make it “for women.”

Today is not that day, however. Today is the day that the news gave us these two items:

First, the (kind of) good:

Top-Toy Group, a licensee of the Toys “R” Us brand in Sweden, has published a gender-blind catalog for the Christmas season. While I fully support this and have tried to encourage my nephew to not be ashamed of his love of pink and purple and my niece to play with blocks and (soon) legos, it’s frustrating that in 2012 this seems like such a revolutionary act. It’s also frustrating that it STILL hasn’t happened at a large toy store in the U.S.

From the article:
“Employees now are trained to avoid stereotypes when talking to customers. “If someone asks for a present for a 5-year-old girl, we don’t automatically take them to the dolls section,” she said. “Instead, we ask them what her interests are.”

wait. what? you mean to say that even children can have interests  just like real people? hmm…sounds pretty radical Swedes.

image

And then there was this, Ellen’s pitch perfect lambasting of bic for trying to get her to sell their “pens for women” (they are smaller for our tiny hands and pink so we will know they are for writing grocery lists).

When I was an editor at Popular Photography I wrote a monthly column about new photo products and every few months without fail some PR rep would look me in the face and try to pitch a pink fucking camera bag, “for women.”

You’d think somebody (I don’t know maybe a woman, or someone who has ever spoken to a woman) at any of these companies would speak up in one of the product development meetings and mention that women might be slightly more dimensional.

Maybe someday.

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