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Toy R Us Gets Schooled on Sex Roles


A group of Swedish sixth-graders issued a complaint against Toys "R" Us for gender discrimination and one of the nation's consumer advocacy groups agrees.

The complaint was filed with the Reklamombudsmannen, a self-regulatory agency that polices marketing and advertising in Sweden, and claims that the retailer's 2008 Christmas catalog featured "outdated gender roles," reports United Press International.

The sixth-grade class was learning about gender roles by studying the catalog.

The students concluded that the portrayal of boys and girls abided by antiquated gender constructs that idealized boys as active and girls as passive.

"Small girls in princess stuff...and here are boys dressed as super heroes. It's obvious that you get affected by this," 13-year-old Hannes Psajd told Swedish paper The Local.

The Reklamombudsmannen reviewed the complaint, and on Tuesday determined that the catalog was not in line with guidelines set out by the International Chamber of Commerce.

"Taken together, the catalog portrays children's games and choice of toys in a narrow-minded way, and this exclusion of boys and girls from different types of toys is, in itself, degrading to both genders," said the Reklamombudsmannen in a statement, reports The Local.

The reprimand against Toys "R" Us will not involve any sanctions or fines since the Reklamonbudsmannen has no authority to punish the companies it cites.

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