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No, Amazon hasn't eliminated boys and girls' toys categories

News that Amazon's U.S. website removed the boys and girls search options on its toys section spread quickly, but that doesn't mean the online store has done away with its gendered categorization entirely.

Search options removed from U.S. store, but category pages remain

The toys and games section on Amazon Canada's site has separate sections for boys' and girls' toys. The first promo for the boys' section says 'Learn about Electronics' while the girls' top promo reads, 'Throw a party, dress up and pretend play.' (Amazon.ca)

News that Amazon's U.S. website removed the boys and girls search options on its toys section spread quickly, but that doesn't mean the online store has done away with its gendered categorization entirely.

The hubbub appears to have begun when a Twitter user named Joe Danger pointed out that the section allowing you to filter between toys marked for boys and girls was removed from the search categories on the left side of Amazon's user interface.

He said that a friend worked on the taxonomy (how categories are defined and divided) of Amazon's search functions.

Headlines that proclaimed the end of gendered toys at Amazon proliferated quickly, and many people praised the seeming shift to non-gendered playtime.

However, that jubilation appears to be premature.

On Amazon's U.S. site, the "Toys and Games" section still includes "Shop for dolls, action figures, games, and gifts for boys and girls" with hyperlinks to separate Boys and Girls sections, each with different products and promoted brands.

Amazon Canada still actually includes the search filter for boys' and girls' toys, between the "Shop for Price" and "Age Range" categories.

The featured categories on the Girls Toys section of Amazon's website include 'Arts & Crafts,' 'Dolls & Accessories,' and 'Pretend Play.' (Amazon.ca)

Separate pages for girls' and boys' products are bathed in pink and blue, respectively, and feature separate brands.

The Boys page, for example, features Lego, Hot Wheels, Marvel's Avengers and Star Wars toys, while the Girls page features brands like Hello Kitty and Crayola, but also girl-centric sub-brands like Disney Princesses and Lego Friends.

Gendered marketing for toys critiqued

Recent years have seen increased criticism of how children's toys are marketed separately for boys' and girls' products.

Recent examples include Marvel's Avengers selling more merchandise that features its male heroes and fewer with Scarlett Johannson's character Black Widow, and a Target story in Waterloo that sold sleepers suggesting boys can be superheroes while girls can date them.

Amazon UK doesn't have boys or girls categories or product pages at all, and Huffington Post U.K. reports that this has been the case for a while.

"U.K. customers still manage to find the ones we need without resorting to old fashioned gender based categories," Simon Ragoonan, who runs a blog about gender stereotypes called Man vs. Pink, told HuffPo.

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