Up is Down and Girls are Boys: Swedish Toy Ad Flips the Script on Christmas
Fans of David Sedaris will know that Christmas in Europe can get weird. And this Christmas boys will be boys but also girls will be boys.
Top Toy — which holds the franchise for Toys "R" Us in Sweden — has released its Christmas catalogue and it features boys playing with dolls and girls playing with guns. If you ask the company's director of sales Jan Nyberg, this move was because Top Toy is all hunky-dory and hip and cool. According to the Daily Mail:
"For several years, we have found that the gender debate has grown so strong in the Swedish market that we have had to adjust."
He added: "With the new gender thinking, there is nothing that is right or wrong. It's not a boy or a girl thing, it's a toy for children."
This, however, is misleading. Top Toy was forced to make a change after a Swedish watchdog group, Reklamombudsmannen, criticized the company in 2008 for playing into gender stereotypes by showing boys dressed as superheroes and girls as princesses.
Sweden is, after all, famously anti-gender stereotyping. The country has proposed a gender-neutral pronoun — hen — to replace he and she. It has also opened a preschool in which gender is banned.