A Swedish toy maker called Top Toy has just the thing to help quell little Riley's displeasure at the fact that more insidious toy makers all across America are making sure that only boys play with machine guns and only girls play with doll houses. Top Toy has made a Christmas toy catalogue (the best kind of catalogue) for Denmark and Sweden, but its Swedish version features an interesting twist: all the genders of the kids playing with shiny new toys has been switched. Boys are playing with dollhouses and girls are gunning down unseen younger siblings with Nerf guns.
The decision to swap all the genders in its Swedish toy catalogue, notes RT, marks a pretty significant shift for Top Toy, which was called out by a Swedish advertising watchdog for foisting outdated gender roles on boys and girls back in 2008. That same year, Sweden made a national push to promote gender equality in schools, spending some 110 million Swedish crowns ($16.3 million) in an effort that included the introduction of laws requiring teachers to actively help reverse gender stereotypes.
Swedish officials even went so far as introducing the non-gendered pronoun "hen" to supplant "he" and "she," thereby solving the unfortunate use of the plural third person pronoun when one is aiming for gender neutrality. Elise Claeson, a columnist and former "equality expert" at the Swedish Confederation of Professions, thought that "hen" was, after all, a step too far, arguing that kids really needed to have their gender "confirmed" when they were young so that they could grow up to be "confident about their identity."
Still, it's nice to see that, at least in some of the snowier parts of the world this Christmas, girls will be getting an equal opportunity to petition Santa Claus for toy guns, because where will our soldiers of the future come from if we don't get kids comfortable with weaponry at an early age? (Montessori school is not the correct answer.)
Merry Gender Neutral Christmas! [Mommyish]