Here at Babi Pur we’re really pleased and proud to have been awarded the ‘Let Toys be Toys’ toymark award for good practice. This award recognises retailers who do not market toys in a gender specific way or apply gender stereotypes to toys. At Babi Pur we have always considered it important not to limit children’s choices so we’re especially pleased to have received this award.
A friend of Babipur Jacqueline has written her thoughts on toys and toy marketing…
What were your favourite toys when you were a kid?
A remote control car.
A only-ever pink stuffed animal called “Pink Doggy”.
My Little Pony.
A chemistry set.
I always wanted a train set, but never got one.
I am a woman, and I was a girl. I enjoyed spending hours writing games on my Radio Shack TRS-80 as much as I enjoyed dressing my dolls. These days, I work in the technology sector and I am a mother. Both of those things are fulfilling and important for me.
The fact that toys are marketed explicitly to boys or girls gets a lot of press these days. I think that’s good. Companies are free to market as they see fit, but it’s important we look at that marketing with a critical eye.
We know — we can tell from the earliest days — that playing is learning. When my daughter taps a bottle against her Sophie toy, she’s trying to see if they “work” together. If they don’t (they don’t), she moves on to tap the bottle on something else. A week later, she’s playing with a box of old bottles and trying to fit the teets on the top of bottles. She’s playing. She’s learning. There’s nothing feminine or masculine about her efforts.
I don’t want to limit her learning, or her yearning, in any way. I want her to feel free to learn the things she is drawn to, and to reach for the goals she wants. And I want her to feel free to choose from all the dreams there are.
I think that starts with playing.
It’s not nostalgia, I don’t think, that brings me back to wooden and fabric toys in bright colours. I’m a futurist. I love all the new gadgets. But science tells us that kids learn in ways we forget are important. They need to learn colours — all of them, not just the ones that we consider gender-appropriate. They need to learn textures, and let’s face it, they’ll get plenty of plastic. She needs sounds that aren’t autotuned. So while I can’t control which toys my daughter is given by others, I make sure that she gets different things from us.
I’ve been looking at the toys on the Babipur website, seeing if I can categorise them into boy or girl in my head. It’s laughable. Why am I putting “multistory car park” toys into “boy”? I can park a car. Why do I put kitchen into “girl” when some of the best cooks (at home and professionally) I know are men?
Where does the UFO toy go?
Preferably, into the hands of a kid whose imagination will be inspired by it.