US-based toy retailer Toys"R"Us has been reprimanded for gender discrimination following a complaint filed by a group of Swedish sixth graders about the store’s 2008 Christmas catalogue. According to the youngsters, the Toys"R"Us Christmas catalogue featured “outdated gender roles because boys and girls were shown playing with different types of toys, whereby the boys were portrayed as active and the girls as passive”, according to a statement from Ro.
Thumbing through the catalogue, 13-year-old Hannes Psajd explained that he and his twin sister had always shared the same toys and that he was concerned about the message sent by the Toys"R"Us publication. “Small girls in princess stuff…and here are boys dressed as super heroes. It’s obvious that you get affected by this,” he told the newspaper. “When I see that only girls play with certain things then, as a guy, I don’t want it.”
Upon reviewing the case, the Reklamombudsmannen agreed with the sixth-graders complaint, and on Tuesday issued a public reprimand of the toy retailer. According to the Ro’s advisory committee (Opinionsnämnden), the Toys"R"Us catalogue “discriminates based on gender and counteracts positive social behaviour, lifestyles, and attitudes”.