From now on gender-neutral toy advertising in Spain?!
Especially during the Christmas season, parents and children are confronted with a wide variety of toy commercials on TV. There are often cool and heroic action figures for boys and pretty dolls for girls. The advertising here is designed for a clear target group. But this kind of stereotyping is now to come to an end, at least in Spain.
The government's goal is to avoid prejudices surrounding labels such as "typical boy" or "typical girl. Instead, everyone should be able to decide - completely free of their gender - what they like and don't like.
The umbrella organization of toy manufacturers is also on board
The Spanish toy industry has been presented with individual rules by the government. The aim is to ensure that toy advertising is free of stereotypes in the future. The special feature: This is not (!) an obligation. Rather, the rules are mandatory for all Spanish toy manufacturers.
Time and again, there has been criticism along similar lines with regard to the previous portrayals: Underage girls in particular were not only forced into a clichéd role, but were also portrayed in a discriminatory and derogatory manner at times. This is exactly what needs to change now. Toys must no longer be aimed at a specific gender.
By the way, the new regulation replaces the regulation for advertising from 2015, when it was already decided that advertising should be less sexist. However, the problem is that not every manufacturer adheres to this regulation. That's why there will be stricter enforcement in the future.
What needs to change in Spain now?
In general, toy advertising in Spain may now no longer be tied to clear gender roles. Toys that deal with the topics of household, child rearing, care and beauty may no longer be explicitly aimed at girls.
This means that boys can also play with these toys in the ads, or the spots in question can be designed to be completely gender-neutral.
But not only is an obvious gender role prohibited in advertising, subliminal assignments are also punished by the government. For example, it is forbidden to include the clichéd "pink for girls" and other gender-specific features in toys such as dolls or the like in order to explicitly appeal to girls.
Conversely, it is forbidden to design advertising specifically for boys. This means that it must be communicated that toys related to technology, sports and science should appeal to everyone.
In total, the new regulations have 64 new standards that the advertising industry and manufacturers must take into account in order to avoid financial penalties. Among other things, the corresponding catalog also stipulates that minors must be informed about the characteristics of the toy on offer. Thus, toys that are intended to stimulate creativity must also be titled as such.
What's so bad about gender roles?
Many things. Strictly speaking, there are several reasons for breaking away from old gender roles. On the one hand, girls and boys are taught that they are only "allowed" to play with certain toys. The spectrum of choice is thus more or less restricted.
The whole thing is also problematic in that it is difficult for children who feel they belong neither to one gender nor the other to take a place.
Accordingly, the new regulations in Spain are sensible and important to emphasize that it can be incredibly liberating for a child to stand up for itself and its interests right from the start.