How about a Hairdryer for the Little Boy in Your Life?

by Katherine Connell

This holiday season, in Sweden, the Wall Street Journal reports:

Top-Toy Group, a licensee of the Toys “R” Us brand, has published a gender-blind catalog for the Christmas season.

On some pages, girls brandish toy guns and boys wield blow-dryers and cuddle dolls. Top-Toy, a privately-held company, published 12 million catalogs and owns the BR Toys chain, with 303 stores in Northern Europe.

Sweden’s top advertising watchdog—known as Reklamombudsmannen, or RO—has taken the retailer to task in recent years for catalogs and ads that showcase girls playing with dolls, scrapbooks, and kitchen and beauty toys and boys with guns, cars, trains and tech gadgets.

A comparison of Top-Toy’s Swedish catalogs with their Danish counterparts shows girls have replaced boys in some photos featuring toy guns, and boys have swapped places with girls in photos featuring dolls and stuffed dogs.

Here’s one of the photos:

Curiously, the product is still called “Fashion Girl.”

Swedish companies in the recent past have made substitutions of a less enlightened sort when marketing products to different countries. In October, IKEA decided that its Saudi Arabian customers would rather not see images of women inhabiting rooms, and airbrushed them out of its catalogue

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