Walk into any toy store and you'll notice a considerable amount of pink "girly" toys and darker-colored "boyish" toys. Rewind two decades, however, and you may find this stark separation by color didn't always exist.
Let Toys Be Toys, a group that asks retailers to stop classifying toys by gender, recently tweeted an image that shows how toy marketing has changed over the years. The photo on the left is a page from a 1976 toy catalogue. On the right, they placed newer, similar toys in corresponding spots.
The group calculated that 80 percent of play strollers and 88 percent of dolls houses in that catalogue are pink.
However, the pink favoritism certainly isn't specific to Argos, the retailer that Let Toys Be Toys pinpointed. Ms. Magazine's Ponta Abadi noticed that both Toys “R” Us and the Disney store websites have dedicated sections for boys and girls.
To prove that toys are more gendered than ever before, Abadi points to research by Elizabeth Sweet who studies gender and children’s toys at UC Davis. Sweet says that toy advertisements were the least gendered around 1975, "at the height of the women's movement".
Let Toys Be Toys started a petition on Change.org to convince UK retailers to "stop promoting toys as only for boys, or only for girls". Ms. Magazine then launched a similar petition here in the U.S., specifically targeting Toys “R” Us and Disney. It reads, in part: "A little girl should feel like she can play with trucks and a little boy should feel like he can play with dolls if they want to!"
Beyond the pink: Click through the slideshow below from Sociological Images to see how toys have been updated to be more "girly" over the years.