Christina Hoff Sommers is appalled at the way people are trying to make boys be more like girls and girls be more like boys.
The Reklamombudsmannen (RO) has reprimanded Top-Toy, a licensee of Toys”R”Us and one of the largest toy companies in Northern Europe, for its “outdated” advertisements and has pressured it to mend its “narrow-minded” ways. After receiving “training and guidance” from RO equity experts, Top-Toy introduced gender neutrality in its 2012 Christmas catalogue. The catalog shows little boys playing with a Barbie Dream House and girls with guns and gory action figures. As its marketing director explains, “For several years, we have found that the gender debate has grown so strong in the Swedish market that we have had to adjust.”
Oh no oh no oh no! That’s terrible! It’s fabulous that all the other toy companies and retail outlets are doing the exact opposite with all their might, and it’s horrendous that anyone anywhere is trying to undo a little of the damage. Hell no toys can’t be just toys! Hell no children can’t just decide for themselves what they like. Certainly not. All the toys must be clearly marked as for one sex or the other sex, so that no child will be confused for one second about whether it’s an innie or an outie.
As one Swedish mother, Tanja Bergkvist, told the Associated Press, “Different gender roles aren’t problematic as long as they are equally valued.” Gender neutrality is not a necessary condition for equality. Men and women can be different—but equal. And for most human beings, the differences are a vital source for meaning and happiness. Since when is uniformity a democratic ideal?
Different gender roles aren’t problematic as long as they are equally valued. But they’re not. Has Sommers just not noticed?