Save The Children Iceland says that the marketing of some products for children reinforce gender stereotypes and, in some instances, break the law.
Vísir reports that the organisation has encouraged individual companies in Iceland “to not manufacture, label or sell toys, CDs, videotapes, video games, books or any other product which is intended solely for boys or girls.”
Margrét Júlía Rafnsdóttir, a project manager at Save The Children, added that some girl’s products are sexual in nature, or send sexual messaging, especially in connection with body image. This, she says, is a violation of Icelandic law and UN The Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Margrét points out that many products for children are advertised in a blatantly gendered manner. Using a particularly Icelandic example, she brings up Öskudagur – a holiday in which Icelandic children don costumes and visit shops to sing for candy. In advertising leaflets distributed to homes, stores selling costumes will sometimes depict Batman costumes for boys, and princess costumes for girls.
“Boys’ costumes depict a brave man who saves the world and rescues princesses,” she said. “Modern girls don’t need someone to rescue them. They can take care of themselves and modern boys have enough to do with their time than rescue princesses. Maybe girls themselves want to be Batman.”
Margrét believes that all parents want their daughters to have the same opportunities as boys. “In products and advertising, children are given models [of behaviour] and it is important that these models reflect the vision that we have for our children’s futures,” she said.