LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Cataloguing which toys are for boys and girls

AS a nation Australia has legalised same-sex marriage, so why are some toy catalogues still printing boy and girl sections with kids playing with “appropriate” toys?

One such direct marketing/fundraising catalogue arrived home with my preschooler a couple of weeks ago. My children have been marking what they want to get for Christmas, which of course is the aim of getting it into preschools, with the hook that you are donating back to your school.

The images of boys and girls in this catalogue are not representative of today’s society and instil antiquated values of appropriate play.

The girls were either wearing pink or a dress, and modelling the tea set, tiara, cooking and clothes washing accessories.

The girls dominated the “make and create” and “pretend/dress-up” sections, with the craft toys being modelled by girls and only one boy being featured in the dress-ups, as a fireman.

The boys dominated the construction, maths and ball sports toys, with girls demonstrating the “getting physical” toys of dancing, hopping, water play and twirling ribbons.

The marketing department are obviously still identifying with Olivia Newton John of 35 years ago.

Yes, there were tokenistic representations of two girls playing with a truck and helicopter, but the overarching message was of girls do craft, dress-up and dance.

There were no images of children with a physically identifiable disability.

We have moved on from the culturally entrenched philosophy that people who experience disability need to be shut away.

Anna Caskey


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