On Christmas Eve I brought you the very smart thoughts of Riley, a little girl who objected to the idea that some toys should be for girls and some toys for boys. Here it is again for those of you who missed it.
Today someone brought to my attention news of one department store that has ended the practice of segregating the toys into separate aisles. The UK Mirror reports that Hamley’s department store:
Hamleys has removed “sexist” signs dividing its toys into boys and girls departments after being accused of gender stereotyping. The world famous London toy store has scrapped pink and blue signs and replaced them with gender neutral red and white ones. The Regent Street store now categorises toys by interest and type rather than whether they are aimed at boys or girls after an online campaign.
But I think the best way to communicate what she did is this photo she published showing the signs before and after:
That said if you see what they’ve done they’ve still grouped toys perceived as girl toys and perceived as boy toys together. For example, Barbie and Hello Kitty are together but Lego is in in another aisle. But the labeling that Lego is a boy toy is gone. Of course, we don’t need a store to tell us that Legos are a boy toy, we have Lego to do that as here in Business Week:
After overreaching and cratering in the early Aughts, the Lego Group deliberately focused on boys, and the short-term effectiveness of this strategy is undeniable. Revenue has increased 105 percent since 2006, according to the privately held company’s 2010 annual report, and Lego topped $1 billion in U.S. sales for the first time last year. It’s on track to do that again in 2011. “They’re killing it now,” says Gerrick Johnson, equities analyst at BMO Capital Markets, who has followed the company’s impact on listed toymakers such as Mattel (MAT) and Hasbro (HAS) for a decade. Lego, he says, “is the hottest toy company in the boy segment, and maybe the hottest in toys overall.”
Lego of course isn’t going to let that revenue go. Uh, uh, no way not when there’s 50% of the population to sell stuff too. So they’ve designed special girl Legos. You’ve probably seen them, but if you haven’t I am first going to show you this ad for Legos from the 1981: