Toy signs changed after Hamleys accused of sexism
Published 13/12/2011 | 09:56
HAMLEYS, the London toy shop, has removed the signs which divide boys’ toys from girls’ after protests by feminists that it was sexist stereotyping.
Instead of a “pink floor” for girls and a “blue floor” for boys, Hamleys has introduced plain white labelling with red lettering throughout.
Toys have been reorganised by type rather than which gender is expected to want to play with them.
Laura Nelson, a blogger who accused the firm of “gender apartheid” in October, was celebrating what she claimed as a victory yesterday.
She wrote: “In response to the campaign against categorisation of toys by gender and sexist stereotypes, Hamleys has changed its signage.”
However Hamleys denied the changes were prompted by her campaign and claimed that, instead, they were part of planned alterations to “improve customer flow”.
Nelson, who works for a healthcare charity, started her opposition because she said the “layout of the toyshop restricts children’s and parents’ choices and contributes to our society’s inequality”.
She wrote to the firm’s chief executive, Gudjon Reynisson, and Landsbanki, the Icelandic bank that holds a large stake in it.
She asked that toys be reorganised by type not gender; said the “girls’ floor” was focused on “domestic, caring and beauty activities” while the boys’ was “geared to action and war, with little scope for creativity”; said toy stereotypes influenced the behaviour of both children and parents; and citing precedents for change, including the case of a group of children in Sweden who persuaded Toys‘R’Us to alter its displays.
She said the issue gained ground when “parents, feminists, journalists, scientists” supported it and her blog was picked up on Mumsnet and Twitter.
Last week, she contacted the press office of Hamleys.
On December 11, she tweeted:
amazing!!!! I need to see this with my own eyes - still can't quite believe it. the campaign worked!!!!!!! :))))))))
Yesterday, in a further post to claim victory, she said: “Congratulations everyone!
We still have work to do on the nature of the toys themselves, and the gender stereotyping of their marketing - but we have come to a milestone. Great work!”
A spokesperson for Hamleys said: “The changes to our signage were not due to any campaign.
“It was made clear to us from consultants’ and customer surveys that our store directional signage was confusing. As a result we commenced changing all our signage in October of this year in order to improve customer flow.”