• Germany's news in English
 

Pink stinks, says toy marketing campaigner

Published: 24 Aug 2012 06:50 GMT+02:00

Just like their American and British counterparts, German girls are drowning in a sea of pink which clearly defines what they are supposed to want - and by definition what the boys are not allowed to desire.

The marketing of just about everything in an apartheid world for children, with girls in bright pink and boys in blue or darker colours, is clear to see in most toy shops.

The Kinder Surprise is just the latest wave to break – and is being tackled by Pinkstinks.

“We are calling for Ferrero which makes these products, to stop marketing them in this way. Our girls are being flooded with pink, with these images which sexualize and pigeonhole them,” Stevie Schmiedel, founder of Pinkstinks Germany told The Local.

“The problem is that we are seeing a huge rise in body image problems among children. More than half of girls aged between 12 and 17 hate their bodies according to a study by Dr Sommer, the sex expert at Bravo magazine.”

Stripper fairies for girls

The “just for girls” eggs contain plastic figures from the “Winx Club” television series – fairies with long legs, stripper shoes and tiny bits of clothing, who pose like models. Those four-year-olds not lucky enough to get a stripper fairy in their eggs can made do with little plastic rings or a bracelet.

Ferrero’s sparkly pink website says market research showed that “girls these days no longer allow themselves to be put in a pigeonhole. Pink and ponies is just as important to them as football and women power.”

Schmiedel has launched a petition online to try to pressure Ferrero to change its marketing strategy and drop the pink eggs aimed at girls.

But the problem is not just with Kinder surprise – Schmiedel said she is constantly confronted with huge posters bearing images which reinforce the images of sexualized, helpless women, and a pink world of segregation for girls.

“Even an ARD advert recently showed a stone-age man watching sport and a woman trying to tempt him away from it by virtue of her bikini which looked like two footballs. School children walk past that every day. I don’t want my children to see it,” she said.

Irony passes children by

The irony with which such adverts are justified, passes young children by, she said. All they get are the endlessly repeated images of women being defined by their bodies.

Schmiedel started the German arm of the Pinkstinks campaign earlier this year, after getting to know the British initiators of the campaign – which pushes for less rigid gender stereotypes in marketing aimed at children.

They launched a high-profile campaign against Lego after it launched a range for girls featuring doll-like rather than plain yellow figures, as well as beauty parlours and cafes. And Pinkstinks were instrumental in persuading London’s most famous toy shop Hamleys to rearrange its toy department which had been split between pink and boys.

“Companies want to make everything in pink for girls and blue for boys – it means they can sell things twice over,” said Schmiedel. “There are even blue and pink sit-upon cars.

“It is great marketing, and the children lap it up. Even parents often think it is a phase that their children go through, but it is damaging.”

Next stop: make-up for children

The next campaign, which Schmiedel is also taking part in, is called “Slap on the face of childhood” and aims to raise awareness – and rejection – of the looming cosmetics market for children. Brands such as Disney Princess, Hello Kitty and Prinzessin Lillifee are the ones bringing make-up for children into toy shops, she said.

“The big question is how can companies make money without creating such role models? They need to realize that they can offer different role models that are empowering, like Heidi for example.

“We have the responsibility to tell people – it’s not healthy, it’s harming children. People are slowly realizing that something is not right and the more people realize that, the more they will be able to influence the industry.”

Hannah Cleaver

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:13 August 29, 2012 by MaKo
Far more damaging than the pink pony "Schulranzen" featured in the photograph is the presently (much too) popular "Top Model" series of overthin, sexualized images of very young women, available as stationery, friendship books, and the like. Many parents grab that stuff up for their clamoring first-grader girls. It's got to go!
12:07 September 4, 2012 by nobradors
Yes, Mako! I too hate the Top Model series for those same reasons- and I don't even have children.
15:18 September 4, 2012 by mobaisch
yes. my daughter would love her toy to be pink-alike rather than blue!

are you telling me i should teach her to be more "free" und less sexist when she choose?
08:49 September 5, 2012 by strahlungsamt
That chick is flat. She needs a push-up bra.
19:51 September 8, 2012 by Almirante
U.S. company Leggo raised gross income massively by introducing a line of pink and otherwise "feminized" building blocks and related building toy products.

Maybe the world isn't made up of generalities.
23:52 December 28, 2012 by Yourname
Lego is a Danish company.
Today's headlines
Interior ministry bans Salafist group
Thomas de Maizière. Photo: DPA

Interior ministry bans Salafist group

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière ordered the dissolving of salafist organisation Tauhid Germany on Thursday, saying that the group radicalized youth and encouraged them to travel to Syria to fight for Isis. READ  

New minute of silence for Germanwings victims
MPs in the Bundestag (German parliament) fall silent for a minute before beginning the day's work. Photo: DPA

New minute of silence for Germanwings victims

Germans again took a few moments on Thursday to remember those killed in the Germanwings flight 4U9525 plane crash on Tuesday. READ  

Ukraine refugees make tracks to Germany
Ukrainian refugees arriving in Poland by plane. Photo: DPA

Ukraine refugees make tracks to Germany

Germany received one of the highest numbers of Ukrainian asylum seekers in Europe last year, according to data released last week by Eurostat and analyzed by The Local. READ  

Merkel must be firm with Modi: Amnesty
Narendra Modi. Photo: DPA

Merkel must be firm with Modi: Amnesty

Speaking to the The Local ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Germany next month, Amnesty International warned that his poor record on human rights must factor into the talks. READ  

Alps plane crash
Höwedes takes focus off football
Photo: DPA

Höwedes takes focus off football

Germany defender Benedikt Höwedes held up a sign in memory of children from his home town killed in the Germanwings plane crash before a friendly against Australia on Wednesday night. READ  

'Space stone' brought back to Cologne
Alexander Gerst and Mayor of Cologne Jürgen Roters. Photo: Stadt Köln

'Space stone' brought back to Cologne

German astronaut Alexander Gerst visited the Cologne city hall on Wednesday to present a special gift – a stone from the city's famous cathedral that he'd taken into space with him. READ  

Germanwings crash
Germany mourns for 4U9525 victims
A German flag flying at half mast at the Bundestag (German parliament) Photo: DPA

Germany mourns for 4U9525 victims

Flags flew at half mast across Germany on Wednesday in memory of the people killed in Tuesday's crash of Germanwings flight 4U9525. READ  

Business confidence hits 8-month high

Business confidence hits 8-month high

German business confidence rose to its highest level in eight months in March, as optimism continues to grow about the outlook for Europe's biggest economy, the Ifo economic institute said on Wednesday. READ  

Germanwings crash
German cops, lawyers join crash probe
Photo: DPA

German cops, lawyers join crash probe

State prosecutors from Düsseldorf and federal police forensics experts are on their way to France to join in the investigation into crashed Germanwings flight 4U9525. READ  

Berliner freed after 25 years on death row
Debra Milke at a press conference in Pheonix on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Berliner freed after 25 years on death row

A Berlin-born woman who spent 25 years in a US jail accused of participating in the murder of her son spoke publicly about her experience on Tuesday, the first time since her release. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
National
Germanwings co-pilot was 'locked out of cockpit' before crash
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,178
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd