“Boys and girls'” toys

Toys R Us in Japan makes a point of having mystery bags full of toys at the beginning of every new year that are clearly for “boys” or “girls.”

I’d like to take a moment to proclaim that I loathe the notion of “boys'” toys and “girls”” toys. I know some companies in America are trying to remove the idea of what kids are allowed to play with according to arbitrary societal rules, but that kind of progress is almost non-existent in Japan.

In Japan, there are hard-and-fast rules dictating that girls shall only love sparkly, cutesy, pink and/or frilly toys and boys shall only love gross, cool, and/or scary-looking toys.

Since my time of living in Japan, I’ve only ever seen one commercial that even attempted to destroy this ridiculous notion. A recent McDonalds commercial featured toys for the strictly girls-only anime show called Pretty Cure. It’s basically “Sailor Moon” for the kids of today, and it is only ever marketed toward girls that I’ve ever seen.

The only commercial I’ve ever seen that actually tried to show a boy enjoying “girls'” toys, though obviously it’s not perfect.

McDonalds tried to vaguely include a boy in the commercial, which I appreciated for the effort. They were also selling a selection of toy trains that, I think, included a girl in the commercial, though I can’t find the video.

Beyond that, though, most toy commercials are happy to tell you who they think should be enjoying their products. Most toy stores are happy to endorse the idea.

That means most of the people I have come across here have it firmly ingrained in their heads that anything seen as cute belongs to girls and anything seen as cool belongs to boys. I’m sick of it. I’m so tired of hearing friends confess to me that their little girl loves trains in the same tone that I would use to confess I stole something from a store. I’m tired of having to explain to my own kids that toys are for every kid. I’m sure they’re tired of defending their choices of toys to their friends, who waste no time pointing out what ones are out of the social norms.

Toys R Us in Japan, could you please, please stop sectioning things off into boys sections and girls areas in your store? Can’t you just mash everything together and say the toys are for everyone?

Toy companies, could you please make it more of a point to include boys and girls in your commercials for any toys you’re marketing?

Thank you.