Tuesday 12 December 2017

Sports Direct under fire for 'Girl Stuff' toy cleaning set

Emily Gosden

Retailer accused of sexism after selling dustpan and brush set targeted at young girls.

SportsDirect has come under fire for encouraging sexism after selling a toy set of cleaning products branded “It’s Girl Stuff!”.

The set, which includes a dustpan, brushes and spray bottle, is sold in a bright pink packaging adorned with flowers and a “female” sign.

The retailer, controlled by Mike Ashley, was tight-lipped about the product on despite a growing backlash online.

Twitter users have reacted with dismay to images of the toy set, made by manufacturer Kandytoys and being sold for £5 on the SportsDirect website.

One, Em Murphy-Wearmouth, a director at Octopus Communications, described it on the social media site as “outrageous” and “the most disgusting sexism I have seen targeting young girls”. She called for Sports Direct to pull the range from its shelves.

Louise Mensch, the former Tory MP, joined the backlash, writing: “Wow. Total fail. @SportsDirectUK = Sexism Direct UK.”

Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism project, said: “I understand some people will feel this isn’t the most important thing – and it’s not the most important thing – but it does matter.

”It’s not just this one thing in isolation; everywhere you look little girls and boys are receiving such clear messages about what it is they are supposed to be in to, that they are expected to enjoy and to do.

”When you add it up, it does matter to tell little girls that cleaning is for them and their role or to tell boy that they aren’t allowed to do things in the domestic sphere.

”I just wouldn’t label it girl’s stuff – it’s just so unnecessary and restrictive for both boys and girls.”

The store was also ridiculed as the image of the cleaning kit came to prominence a day after SportsDirect had tweeted a blog about female athletes, saying “Do you think there needs to be more positive role models for girls? #RoleModels #StrongFemales.”

SportsDirect has previously come under fire for use of “zero hours” contracts for the majority of its staff.

A spokesman for SportsDirect declined to comment.

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