Thursday, September 20, 2012

Toy Stores

My kid checking out an awesome dinosaur at Harrod's
See the link below for glossy pro photos of Toy Kingdom
Gender neutral toy stores have gotten serious attention in the news in the past year. Hamley's toy store in the UK were the first large store to approach to the idea. Over the summer, Harrod's London opened their gender neutral “toy kingdom” where toys are separated by play concept. I recently was able to visit the store and found that Harrod's has made a lovely space to shop for toys, but does not do much to shed years of gendered marketing practices. A few items were noteworthy. First, the employees of Harrod's wear either a pink or blue shirt depending on the employee's assigned sex. Second, Harrod's can arrange displays however they wish but until the packaging on 80% of the toys are changed, the manufacturers blatantly delineate their toys by gender. Last, Harrod's online shop still sorts by "boy" or "girl" toys, clicking on either filters the list into the stereotyped toys you would expect. While these stores are on the right track, there is clearly more to be done in providing a full range of experience through play for our children. 

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