While I was originally going to make my first blog post be about all the things I’ve gotten up to in the past few months (it’s still going to happen), but instead on my way into the office this morning I noticed something strange in the shop…
Now, I am getting on a bit, but I don’t remember Kinder Eggs being pink and blue coloured, and seemingly this move has been in the news for about a month or so, but this was the first time I’d seen it. And it was very striking to notice. I was compelled, therefore, to do an experiment and see what was inside. It was totally not so we could eat a load of chocolate first thing this morning…
Initially, we just got two, one pink and one blue, and cracked them open to see how bad the gendered toys inside were…
Curious as to whether or not toys that you had to make were exclusive to the blue eggs… We went to the shop and bought more.
So, three out of four of the blue toys were buildable, all were automobiles and had moving wheels, one was even motorised. The blue eggs look more familiar to me.
Of the pink toys, two were buildable toys, three had or were jewelry, and two both weren’t buildable and didn’t have moveable parts.
While this may seem like a pedantic thing to be irate about, the genderedness of toys and the implications behind what is presented to children via toys is not a new idea in the least. Thinkers and researchers on the topic of gender and children have done plenty on the emphasis on domesticity, passivity and, of course, the colour pink in toys targeted at girls, and the comparative emphasis on pro-activity, constructive and technologically-leaning toys that are aimed at boys.
To be clear, the issue is not that girls or boys may opt to play with toys that are typically marketed toward their gender, it’s a matter of what work is done by what toys are marketed to them in the first place, especially when this marketing is heavily layered with implications and expectations about each gender specifically.
The excellent thing about Kinder Eggs was the approach to non-gendered, interesting, usually constructable toys that were devoid of specific marketing to any particular gender, unlike the new eggs appearing in the stores in the UK now.
Seemingly, Charlie Cayton, an employee of the Ferrero company that produces Kinder Eggs claimed “We do not advocate or promote our products as gender specific … Research prior to launch indicated that parents welcome this product, with 66 per cent saying it was a good idea,” but in this single quote there is a denouncement of products being gender specific, whilst backing the decision by saying it’s based on research.
In fact, a very quick search shows very swiftly that egg without the need for gendered packaging and corresponding toys is still available… So what’s going on with this? Is it, as claimed online, a “limited edition” run that will go away soon (fingers-crossed), or is this in fact a trial run for what this product could be in the future.
This issue has also been taken up by Let Toys Be Toys, a campaign against gender-specific toys and includes an excellent page on why it matters as well as a page of suggested reading by researchers on this topic. In their post about the gendered Kinder Eggs, LTBT advocate getting involved in the conversation on the Kinder Egg Facebook page, and it probably couldn’t hurt to Tweet them either.