I'm a writer and artist, working mainly in comic books, and living in the South East of England (although I'm technically half Scottish and half English).
I'm the managing editor of Orang Utan Comics, group editor of AAM/Markosia, writer of Alpha Gods, Hypergirl and Hero: 9-5, and also do freelance inking and lettering work for the likes of AAM/Markosia, Slave Labour, Top Shelf, Image, Marvel/Panini and I letter the official Doctor Who graphic novels for BBC Books.
Swedish Toys”R”Us Christmas Catalog Challenges Gender Stereotypes
“Christmastime is (almost) here — and with it, Christmas catalogs. This year, a Swedish toy catalog is making headlines for using photographs that challenge traditional gender roles (in contrast to some images used by U.S. retailers).
The catalog in question was created by TOP-TOY, which runs nearly 50 Toys”R”Us retail stores in Northern Europe. It shows “gender neutral” photos, including images of a girl shooting a Nerf gun and a boy playing with a baby doll — as well as pictures of boys and girls using a play kitchen, a mock changing table and a pink Barbie Dreamhouse.
This isn’t the first effort Swedes have made to bash gender stereotyping in toys. Earlier this year, Leklust published a catalog featuring pictures of a girl riding a tractor and a child dressed as Spider-Man pushing a pram.
This time around, the catalog has been well-received. “Santa has already given me what I want,” Sarah Ditum writes in the Guardian, arguing that the catalog is “good news for Swedish kids” in part because “you can’t resist the gender sorting hat for ever, but you can give children a start that shows them the gender sorting hat isn’t a natural and inevitable part of being human.’ “
In The Telegraph, Thomas Pascoe is less impressed. “Sweden’s anti-discrimination laws are as bizarre as they are magical,” he writes. “No boy grows up dreaming of being a princess. I find it hard to believe many little girls grow up wanting to shoot people. This make-believe may salve the conscience of the Left, but it does society a great deal of harm, both here and there.”
New York Comic Con was a treasure trove of toy news this past weekend, with Hasbro, Mattel, DC Direct, Mezco, Diamond Select Toys and many others showing off tons of their upcoming wares for fans. Some of the highlights included displays of new Avengers movie figures and Marvel Universe characters from Hasbro, a DC Universe Classics Metron sculpt from Mattel, a “New 52” Justice League Hawkman from DC Direct, a Minimates MODOK from DST’s Marvel vs. Capcom 3 line, Mezco’s Earthworm Jim toys and tons of Batman Arkham City figures from both Mattel and DCD.