• 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)

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
The Local List
Which high school cliche is your city?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock

Which high school cliche is your city?

This week's Local List takes a leap of imagination and finds German cities fit perfectly into high school cliche categories. Who's the class clown? Who's the nerd? READ  

'German' hand grenades paraded by Isis in Syria
A screen grab from a jihadist video showing the grenades. Photo: DPA

'German' hand grenades paraded by Isis in Syria

The German military was on Wednesday investigating reports that Bundeswehr hand grenades have fallen into the hands of the Islamic State (Isis) terrorist group after a video appearing to show captured weapons surfaced on the Internet. READ  

North braces for storms and floods
Early signs of flooding at the Hamburg fish market on Wednesday morning.

North braces for storms and floods

The remnants of hurricane Gonzalo have drifted across the Atlantic and are now threatening North German cities with flooding, forecasters warned on Wednesday. READ  

Indian schools drop German teaching
Indian pupils enrolled in German classes prepare for Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier's visit to their school. Photo: DPA

Indian schools drop German teaching

Thousands of children in India will no longer be taught German after the country's education ministry allowed a contract to lapse. READ  

Syria-bound US teens stopped in Frankfurt
A passenger plane landing at Frankfurt airport. Photo: DPA

Syria-bound US teens stopped in Frankfurt

Three teenage girls from Colorado were arrested by German police at Frankfurt airport after running away from home, reportedly on their way to join Isis in Syria. READ  

Tourists stranded on cable car over Rhine
Tuesday night's rescue operation Photo: DPA

Tourists stranded on cable car over Rhine

Six people, including a family and two American tourists, were left dangling 40 metres in the air over the Rhine for hours late on Tuesday after Cologne's cable car came to a halt. READ  

7:1! Bayern celebrate record in Rome
Arjen Robben celebrates the first goal against AS Roma. Photo: DPA

7:1! Bayern celebrate record in Rome

Bayern Munich were elated on Tuesday night after securing a 7-1 victory against Roma in their group stage Champions League clash. READ  

Nazi U-boat wreck found off US coast
A preserved World War II U-Boat on the beach near Kiel, Germany. Photo: DPA

Nazi U-boat wreck found off US coast

A World War II German U-boat and an American merchant vessel it sank in battle have been found deep in the ocean off the coast of North Carolina, officials said on Tuesday. READ  

Fourth time lucky for free Berlin WiFi?
Coming soon? Photo: DPA

Fourth time lucky for free Berlin WiFi?

Berlin's bid to set up a free city-wide wireless network has so far come to nothing. But city bosses are now trying for a fourth time - and hope to have the project running next year. READ  

Opinion
Do German unions have too much power?
Lufthansa passengers rush to change their flights at Frankfurt Airport on Monday. Photo: DPA

Do German unions have too much power?

Germany's pilots and train drivers are taking it in turns to bring the country to a standstill with strikes that have cost the economy tens of millions of euros in the last two weeks. Are unions abusing their power or standing up for their rights? READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: World's biggest erotic fair opens in Berlin
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The ten richest people in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
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

3,490
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd