John Lewis swiftly changed some wording on their online playmobil section. The use of the word 'Girl' to label a home range of playmobil had been used in the same fashion as 'city life', 'knights' or 'leisure'. This implied that all their Playmobil range was default for boys but that only the house range (of only seven items!) was for girls.
This seemingly insignificant labelling did a number of things -
a) It implied that only girls play with houses and domestic scenes - and to some extent that they should. And it implied that boys don't.
b) It suggested that girls don't play with anything else in the Playmobil range.
c) It placed girls in a category of their own. Boys were the default neutral and girls other. Playmobil and 'Girl Playmobil'.
We are pleased to say, as soon as it was brought to JL's attention they quickly responded and saw how absurd this was. What was 'Girl', has now been labelled 'House'.
Although this is of course a small step, we shouldn't underestimate how important it is for retailers to be thinking along these lines. More of this please, JL.
We can really see from this incident how girls are being generally limited by modern culture. Think of what that labelling would say to a child of reading age. And not every parent would question this.
Thanks to Melissa Khan for starting this effort and bringing it to our attention.
"This campaign is way overdue. Pink does stink – it has the reek of Sugababe, Spice Girl and all things nice. It is the colour of the glass ceiling that traps young girls’ aspirations in a perfect pink bubble – pretty, pleasant and politely imprisoning."
Ros Wynne-Jones, Journalist and Author