• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Pink stinks, says toy marketing campaigner

The Local · 24 Aug 2012, 06:50

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.”

Story continues below…

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
I’m ashamed of Germany’s refugee failure: Green leader
Cem Özdemir. Photo: DPA

The head of the Green Party has responded angrily to Angela Merkel’s speech on refugees on Friday, saying he feels “ashamed at Germany’s failure".

German satirists mock Erdogan (and his penis)
Photo: DPA

Tempting fate?

Huge pro-Erdogan rally puts strain on Turkish community
Erdogan supporters at a rally in 2014. Photo: DPA

Tens of thousands of supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plan to rally in Cologne on Sunday, as tensions over Turkey's failed coup have put German authorities on edge.

Opinion
How the Berlin startup scene is wasting its potential
Photo: DPA

"The truth is, there really isn't a truly successful international Berlin startup."

Five years' jail for German darknet weapons dealer
Photo: DPA

He had sold weapons to known Isis-sympathizers and far-right extremists.

Prickly Bavarian calls out cops on hedgehogs' noisy sex
Photo: DPA

Caught in the act.

International or German state school - which one's best?
Photo: DPA

Deciding between sending your child to a German state school or a private international school isn't easy. Max Bringmann has experienced both.

13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make

Sure-fire ways to get off on the wrong foot in the German language.

Captain Schweinsteiger retires from international football
Bastian Schweinsteiger. Photo: DPA

He has won a World Cup with Die Mannschaft and captained them at Euro 2016. On Friday Bastian Schweinsteiger announced his retirement from the national team.

Woman accused of false rape allegation at Cologne NYE
Cologne on New Year's Eve. Photo: DPA

According to latest reports, the woman was not even in Cologne on New Year's Eve.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
10,718
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd