For the past day and a half I have been non-stop on the phone with journalists about the Hamleys story, whisked off to BBC studios to debate gender stereotyping and responding to radio and TV stations on twitter interested in covering the story. The twitter hashtag #hamleysgendercampaign has been very active.
And I have just been interviewed on CNN TV [19:40, 14 December], and it's written up here.
Meanwhile the reports keep coming. It has been amazing. This seems to have sparked more debate and discussion than anyone could ever have hoped for.
The media coverage so far has been:
Yesterday (13 December):
FT article and 'Lombard' column
Today programme [1:43:55 into programme]
Guardian article by Polly Curtis
Guardian woman’s blog
BBC Newsround with many comments and views from children about gender stereotyping.
And... the Daily Mail
I was interviewed by Vanessa Feltz on BBC London radio [Start at 2.35 into the programme] and interviewed on Also Phantom (Dublin radio). I debated gender stereopyes with Anne Moir on Radio5Live [Start at 2.50 into the prog].
Natasha Walter wrote a great piece for Virago books here. There have been numerous others - too many to mention - spanning Italian, Portuguese, Canadian and Australian news sites, magazines such as TNT, political websites, marketing magazines and parents' websites.
Also, on Polish, United Arab Emirates, Belgian, Slovenian, Hong Kong and Dutch news sites.
My article on Liberal Conspiracy is here.
It's in the Ealing Gazette here.
Today (14 December)
The story is in the Metro and G2, and Toby Young writes about it in the Telegraph. And in the Sun newspaper. And the Mirror.
And two more Telegraph articles: here and here.
Also in Time magazine and Jezebel.
Today I was interviewed BBC Radio WM by Danny Kelly [start at 0.47:30].
Plus listener reaction, as follows, according to @athosfolk
"His eventual stance was that it was totally absolutely OK with letting children play with whatever toys they wanted too. He would have no qualms if his young son wanted to a barbie with frizzy hair or his girl with a toolbox but he wasn't sure other parents would feel the same. I think he was positioning himself to have debate with both sides... The presenter asked him how he would feel if his 7 year old son wanted to be given a barbie with curly hair to play with and he was expecting the tough guy to respond with some form of shock or disgust but he said "To be honest that would be fine. It wouldn't bother me "... "some family's that might bother but they have backward views and we've moved on". He was asking similar questions to everyone and they mostly weren't bothered so he began asking what parents would do if their son wanted to wear pink dresses to school (he was saying he was still fine with this ) so then some callers began saying how that might "turn the children gay" but it was still ok to play with pots and pans ( it got a bit silly at this point)."
Reema Patel has written a blog here and AskaMum here. Numerous other blogs and news sites all over the world have covered it.
Some of the feedback on the Telegraph site is as follows:
"As a parent (to several boys), I've been quite surprised over the last 15 years by how much more toys are divided by gender than they used to be when I was growing up. It's a massive rip-off - all sorts of things that never used to be manufactured in pink and blue versions now are - I assume partly to make sure that parents with both boys and girls face pressure to buy the same toy twice in different colours. E.g. instead of water bottles in a proper range of colours, you often get them in pink and blue only - hence pressure from girls to have a 'girls' one and from boys to avoid using a 'girls' one at any cost. There's so much pink out there, and the expectation that girls need pink things is so strong, that I've even found myself hesitating before buying quite ordinary non-pink things like board games and ordinary lego (there is now pink lego too!) for girls as birthday presents, just because they're not pink, when as a girl myself I would have played quite happily with those alongside dolls. It's scary how that pink expectation creeps up on you."
"I for one would welcome a change back to more how toys used to be - when it was the nature of the toy itself that was responsible for attracting either girls or boys more to it, and not a label put on it by the manufacturer or shop. So what if 90% of a particular toy is bought by one sex rather than the other? I've no problem with nine out of ten trains being bought by boys or whatever. I've even no problem with grouping similar toys together so you have a de factor boys floor and girls floor. But officially labelling vast numbers of toys as only 'for boys' or 'for girls', and colour-coding them accordingly by making half of them *pink* - quite frankly that's gone too far now, and it's definitely a consumer rip-off. The manufacturers and retailers might love it, but it's not doing us as shoppers, parents and children any favours."
And by children on the BBC Newsround site:
"I don't think sections should be split. Maybe boys will actually like make-up! Maybe girls will actually like Spiderman! I think it's a good idea. I hope the same happens to the Irish Hamleys."
"I think it's unfair to say whether toys are for girls or boys. I used to like action figures when I was younger and that doesn't make me a boy. There are probably loads of girls who feel pressured to buy dolls when they would rather buy something else!"
"I may be a girl but I hate all the pink, frilly, girly things that everyone expects girls to play with. I would much prefer something Pirates of the Caribbean or Harry Potter related. I think that although lots of girls love pink things, it is unfair to label things 'for girls' or 'for boys', as if someone is seen in the wrong gender aisle they could be embarrassed."
My 'favourite' negative comments on the Telegraph article (I haven't yet had a chance to look at the Daily Mail!) are:
"For Feminist, I defined: "Ugly Female". And for Sexual Harassment; "Chatting up tasty totty in the presence of a Feminist."
"Nelson, who works for a healthcare charity.... a girls job."
"Is Laura Nelson really a nom de guerre for Harriet Harhuman?"
Mumsnet gave the campaign a wonderful statement of support
"From birth, boys and girls are bombarded with stereotypes which influence the roles that they go on to fill in society, and contribute to gender inequality. Many Mumsnet users will be delighted that Hamleys have changed tack and will no longer be prescribing which toys are 'girly' and which are only suitable for boys." Justine Roberts, co-founder and CEO, Mumsnet
Mumsnet members are discussing the topic here.