London - Sweden's largest toy chain has been forced to become ‘gender neutral’ by picturing boys holding baby dolls and girls brandishing toy guns in the pages of its Christmas catalogue.
Top Toy - which holds the franchise for Toys R Us - made the move after being reprimanded by the country’s advertising watchdog for ‘gender discrimination’ in a previous 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Denmark, where Top Toy is also the franchisee, showed that a boy wielding a toy machine gun in the Danish edition had been replaced by a girl in Sweden.
Elsewhere, a girl was photoshopped out of the ‘Hello Kitty page, 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,’ said sales director Jan Nyberg.
‘For several years, we have found that the gender debate has grown so strong in the Swedish market that we have had to adjust.’
He added: ‘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.’ - Daily Mail