SWEDEN’S largest toy chain has pictured boys holding baby dolls and girls playing with swords and guns in its Christmas catalogue.
”For several years, we have found that the gender debate has grown so strong in the Swedish market that we … have had to adjust,” said Jan Nyberg, director of sales at Top Toy, the franchise-holder for Toys ‘R’ Us.
The country’s advertising watchdog reprimanded the company for gender discrimination three years ago following complaints over outdated gender roles in the 2008 Christmas catalogue, which featured boys dressed as superheroes and girls playing princess.
A comparison between this year’s Toys ‘R’ Us catalogues in Sweden and Denmark, where Top Toy is also the franchisee, showed that a boy wielding a toy machinegun in the Danish edition had been replaced by a girl in Sweden.
Elsewhere in the catalogue, a girl was deleted from the page depicting Hello Kitty items, a girl holding a baby doll was replaced by a boy, and in sister chain BR’s catalogue, a young girl’s pink T-shirt was turned light blue.
Top Toy, Sweden’s largest toy retailer by number of stores, said it had received ”training and guidance” from the Swedish advertising watchdog, which is a self-regulatory agency.
”We have produced the catalogues for both BR and Toys ‘R’ Us in a completely different way this year,” Mr Nyberg said. ”With the new gender thinking, there is nothing that is right or wrong. It’s not a boy or a girl thing, it’s a toy for children.”