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Swedish Toy Company Puts Out Christmas Catalogue With “Gender Neutral” Photos
November 28, 2012
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Here's something for the holiday season - a Swedish toy catalogue is breaking down the traditional walls between boys and girls.

The catalogue is using "gender neutral" photos, showing boys and girls playing with all kinds of toys - not just the traditional "boy" toys and "girl" toys.

The catalogue was created by TOP-TOY, which runs nearly 50 Toys"R"Us stores in Northern Europe.

On its website, TOP-TOY says: "This year's Swedish Christmas catalogues are more gender neutral and reflect the values dominant at the Swedish market."

In one photo, a girl is shooting a Nerf gun.


In another, a boy is taking a doll's temperature.


There are also pictures of girls and boys playing with a pretend changing table, a pink Barbie Dreamhouse, and a toy kitchen.


In 2008, a group of school kids in Sweden complained to the country's advertising ombudsman about "outdated gender roles" in a Toys"R"Us Christmas catalogue.

The ombudsman agreed, calling the catalog "narrow-minded" and "degrading to both genders," according to a Swedish paper.

Not all the photos in this year's catalogue are "gender neutral." There's a boy in a Batman outfit and girls dressed as princesses. There's a girl playing a pink keyboard and a boy playing a red and black one.

But overall the company says "We want our catalogues to reflect the way that boys and girls play in real life, and not present a stereotype image of them. If both girls and boys in Sweden like to play with a toy kitchen, then we want to reflect this pattern."

You can see the company's full statement here and its full catalogue here.

Over the past four years, Sweden's government has spent millions on promoting gender equality in school.

It has also passed laws and regulations that make sure teachers are doing everything they can to reverse gender stereotypes.

As for reaction to the "gender neutral" catalogue, here's a couple of samples.

In the Guardian, Sarah Ditum writes "Santa has already given me what I want."

She went on to say you "can't resist the gender sorting hat forever, but you can give children a start that shows them the gender sorting hat isn't a natural and inevitable part of being human."

The Telegraph's Thomas Pascoe isn't buying it. He writes "No boy grows up dreaming of being a princess. I find it hard to believe many little girls grow up wanting to shoot people."

"This make-believe may salve the conscience of the Left, but it does society a great deal of harm, both here and there."

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