• Germany edition
 
Pink stinks, says toy marketing campaigner
Photo: DPA

Pink stinks, says toy marketing campaigner

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

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Woodcarving champions - in pictures
Photo: DPA

Woodcarving champions - in pictures

Chainsaws, wood planes and sand paper were out over the weekend in Saxony-Anhalt where more than 30 artists competed in the International Woodcarving Championships. READ  

Hamburg could treat infected Ebola doctor
Liberian health workers in protective clothing bury an Ebola victim in early July. Photo: DPA

Hamburg could treat infected Ebola doctor

A World Health Organisation doctor infected with the deadly Ebola virus while trying to help stop it spreading through West Africa could travel to a Hamburg clinic for treatment. READ  

Germany evacuates embassy in Libya
Black smoke billowing from a storage depot of fuel that was hit by a rocket the night before near the airport in Tripoli on July 28th. Photo: EPA/SABRI ELMHEDWI

Germany evacuates embassy in Libya

UPDATE: Germany pulled its embassy staff out of Tripoli on Monday, a day after advising all its citizens currently in Libya to leave the strife-torn country immediately. READ  

Police kill fleeing drug dealer with bad shot
Photo: DPA

Police kill fleeing drug dealer with bad shot

A policeman is being investigated for manslaughter after he shot a fleeing man, wanted on drug charges, in the back of the head. The officer claimed he had aimed for his legs. READ  

Germany's students fail to graduate in time
A German student protests against the Bologna reforms in Mainz in 2010. Photo: DPA

Germany's students fail to graduate in time

Leaked figures show the average student in Germany still takes around four years to complete a bachelor's degree, suggesting controversial reforms to higher education have so far failed to cut down the number of Germany's perpetual students. READ  

Lawmakers earn millions on the side
Bavarian lawmaker Peter Gauweiler made almost €1 million on the side. Photo: DPA

Lawmakers earn millions on the side

A quarter of all politicians in the German Parliament are making additional income on top of their parliamentary salary, a transparency group said on Saturday. Thirteen lawmakers have made more than €100,000 in the last few months. READ  

Schweinsteiger sorry for holiday video
Schweinsteiger has apologized after the video of him on holiday was posted on YouTube. Photo: DPA

Schweinsteiger sorry for holiday video

UPDATE: Germany’s World Cup winning star Bastian Schweinsteiger has apologized after a video emerged of him on YouTube leading a chant insulting Borussia Dortmund supporters and players. READ  

Sale stopped of oldest message in a bottle
Konrad Fischer with his find. Photo: DPA

Sale stopped of oldest message in a bottle

UPDATE: A fisherman who found the world's oldest message in a bottle tossed into the sea in northern Germany has failed in his attempt to sell it on eBay. The auction was stopped at the last minute. READ  

JobTalk Germany
Job seekers frustrated with application wait
Photo: DPA

Job seekers frustrated with application wait

A new YouGov survey shows job seekers in Germany are exasperated with the application process, complaining about poor job adverts and slow responses. Recruiters agree. READ  

Germany's biggest tabloid attacks Islam
Bild editor-in-chief Kai Diekmann said there was no room for such comments in Bild publications but stopped short of an apology. Photo: DPA

Germany's biggest tabloid attacks Islam

Germany's biggest newspaper, Bild, was forced to climb down over the weekend after a highly critical and controversial comment piece which attacked Islam as a barrier to integration appeared in its Sunday sister paper. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Bundesarchiv/Bild 183-S45825
Culture
Germany puts 700,000 WWI docs online
Photo: DPA
Society
This man wants to give all of us €12,000 a year
Photo: DPA
Education
Top university switches master's courses to English
instagram.com/gotzemario
Gallery
Germany's World Cup stars share their holiday photos
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
Photo: DPA
Sport
Yoga helped Jogi's boys bring World Cup home
Photo: DPA
National
Pressure on police over anti-Semitic protests
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The Local List: 12 best words in German
Photo: DPA
Politics
View from Germany: 'Nobody will win in an economic war with Russia'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
German Bucket List: How many of these can you tick off?
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Photo: Shutterstock
Features
Some of the most embarrassing mistakes you can make in German
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
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

3,218
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd