‘Lauredhel’s toy-catalogue Annex of the Bechdel test’

// 15 July 2008

1. One or more girls, playing;

2. with no boys around; and

3. with something that is not related to domestic work, mothering, being sexy, or ponies.

Just what we need

Comments From You

Soirore // Posted 15 July 2008 at 2:14 pm

Well good luck with that. I doubt there are any.

Also in adverts involving female children there is always the colour pink or other light colours in substitute. Girls are always pictured in a safe space when alone (in a quiet bedroom reading for example) rather than indulging in fun rough and tumble activities outside or with others.

I’d actually like to see girls and boys pictured together as it would go some way into destroying the ridiculous binary that has been set up; boy/girl ,dark/light, active/passive, public/private, noisy/quiet, grubby/clean, messy/tidy. Also shown in the delightfully stereotyped stop smoking campaign adverts on TV at the moment.

Anne Onne // Posted 15 July 2008 at 7:31 pm

Excellent! A great reminder of all the subliminal messaging and gendered presentation of kids’ toys.

And I second Soirore, girls and boys playing together would be refreshing. none of this ‘boys shouldn’t play with girls but with other boys’ mentality. But I mean real play, none of this ‘girls are too fragile’ mentality. Though I think what Lauredhel wanted to highlight (apart from trying to keep something of the original Bechdel test, which I completely *heart*) is that when girls are shown with boys, they may be more likely to be shown in an ‘active’ situation than with other girls, but that in the end, they’ll normally sstill be reduced to passive observers cheering boys along.

Politicalguineapig // Posted 16 July 2008 at 2:09 am

What I always find amusing is that the girl’s room is always spotless- I’m over 18 and I still can’t clean my room, whereas my brother’s room is positively tidy ( By which I mean everything is tucked in drawers and most of the floor is showing.)

Laura Woods // Posted 16 July 2008 at 9:33 am

When I was doing my A levels, we watched a documentary for my Media Studies class on gender representation in advertising. It included an interview with someone from an advertising agency who produced adverts for kids toys – he actually explicitely stated that, if the ad showed a boy and a girl playing together (e.g. a board game) they had to show the boy winning, otherwise boys “wouldn’t engage with the advert”. This was about 8 years ago, so I don’t know how much this has changed, but it struck me the way this guy just stated it completely unapologetically, as if it was an undisputed fact. I’d be interested to know if there was actually any evidence to support that.

ConservaTorygirl // Posted 16 July 2008 at 8:39 pm

I was largely deprived of pink during my childhood, and as an adult realised that pink makes my heart jump. As such I don’t mind it for my daughter but she was given this


for her second birthday and I have really got my knickers in a twist about it.

She enjoys this puzzle set very much and has worked them all out at least once but they’re still a challenge. But all that is beside the point.

I couldn’t believe that in 2008 the Early Learning Centre (which has got to be one of the main UK go-to places for educational toys) is selling something featuring such blatant stereotypes.

In case you aren’t following the link but are interested, it’s a set of easy jigsaws, with a policeman, a postman, a fireman and a nurse, all of which are white.

I’ve been trying to work out precisely how to word my letter of complaint…

Austin // Posted 18 July 2008 at 9:15 pm

In an attempt to show perhaps some improvement in the situation I would like to put forward the Argos catalogue. It still has a large amount of gendered toys, things being coloured pink with girls and blue with boys, but in the outdoors toys there is a lot of both boys and girls together:




Azira // Posted 26 July 2008 at 7:10 am

As a fan of trading card games normally marketed to kids, I’m painfully aware of this disparity. Years after I’d lost interest in the franchise, Pokemon product ads finally started featuring girls, but only in correlation with cutesy Pokemon, never big tough-looking ones. I have yet to see a single female in a Yu-Gi-Oh! commercial or ad. I don’t think I’ve even seen a card with a female graphic featured in one. I wasn’t aware that card games with pretty pictures were so decidedly masculine. I wish they could just make ads like the Japanese ones, where there are no people involved at all, just cool CG animations of the monsters.

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