All posts in Blog

Why no stories for rebel children? Don’t divide young readers by gender

By Tricia Lowther, originally published in the Guardian.

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, and its more recent male equivalent Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different, are among a clutch of bestselling children’s books that supposedly break down gender stereotypes. By sharing tales of inspirational women and men who succeeded against the prevailing stereotypes of their time, these books aim to challenge ideas about what it means to be a boy or a girl. But could they actually be reinforcing the problem? Read more…

Could a new rule make advertisers dump stereotypes?

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is consulting on a new rule, aiming to tackle gender stereotyping in advertising. Here’s how we’re planning to respond – you can submit your own thoughts to the consultation until Thursday 26 July (tips below).

The CAP and BCAP codes set out the principles that the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) uses to judge advertising. Following the ASA’s report last year, which gathered evidence of the damage caused by gender stereotyping, ASA now intends to come up with a workable new rule and supporting guidance to act against ads that cause harm or offence due to stereotyping.

While we welcome the proposed new rule, we feel the proposed supporting guidance can do more to promote better practice. And we recognise that the real solution lies in more creativity from the ad and toy industries. Read more…

Do we need more female villains in books?

Lesson plans – gender bias in children’s books

Recent research found just one female ‘baddie’ in the top one hundred best selling picture books. These ready-to-use lesson plans for World Book Day look at gender bias in children’s books as a way of opening discussion on everyday sexism in books and films.

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Hachette is eleventh UK publisher to #LetBooksBeBooks

UK children’s books publisher Hachette is the eleventh publisher to confirm that it will “let books be books” and ditch the gender labels on its book covers

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words used in TV toy ads featuring girls: most prominent words magic, fun, beautiful, princess, glitter, style, hair, sparkle

Tougher guidelines on stereotypes in adverts

Let Toys Be Toys welcomes the ASA report which confirms many of the things that we have campaigned on over the last five years. We are delighted about a new tougher stance on damaging gender stereotypes in advertising. Read more…

Being ManKind: men and boys in the 21st century

Being ManKind wants to reach children and young adults with positive male role models, using their books, lesson plans and workshops. Editor Joe Byrde tells Let Toys Be Toys about their plans and their new kickstarter campaign.

When Dave Chawner, a stand-up comedian, summoned the courage to go to his GP suffering from depression, he never expected to be diagnosed with clinical anorexia.

When Jack Morris left a promising career in the police to stay at home while his wife went out to work, his friends found it difficult to understand such an arrangement. Read more…

Changing our stories to #redrawthebalance

Katrina Encanto is part of the team behind the campaign about gender stereotypes and childhood role models, #redrawthebalance. In this guest blog post she looks at gender bias in media and why lack of representation for women and girls matters.

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Book Review: ‘Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the Myths of our Gendered Minds’

The belief that humans have evolved into two distinct types of people with very different natures – competitive, risk-taking males and gentle, empathic females, is widespread and powerful, but is it true? In her latest popular neuroscience book, Professor Cordelia Fine takes us through the science that led to the idea of ‘Testosterone Rex’.

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Yes, we do like Dear Zoo

Many of us have copies at home and have enjoyed reading it to our children (yes, even when it was for the 179th time!). So if you’ve read in The Sun and the MailOnline linking us with calls to get rid of it, please be reassured that this isn’t the case, and that the quote from one of our campaigners was manufactured.

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David as Santa

Santa’s end of year review

David Kinnaird has been a professional Santa in Scotland for over 20 years. Here he reflects on how children’s toy choices have been changing in the last few years.

I’ve spent two decades ‘Behind the Beard’ – performing as and training Santas for sites around the UK. One of the first things I seek to instil in those entering the National Elf Service is that there is one question they simply Do Not Ask of the tiny travellers passing through their grottoes.

“What do you want for Christmas?”

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