A new YouGov study has found that when it comes to Asia-Pacific nations, Australia is the country most comfortable with boys playing with Barbie dolls!
YouGov polled over 10,000 people across the APAC region to find out if kids’ toys were too heavily gendered.
Nearly half of APAC residents (45 per cent) believe children’s toys are too gendered; just one in five (19 per cnet) disagree. There is an even broader consensus around which types of toys children should play with; 70 per cent of those polled believe it’s important for children to play with a wide range of toys and not just those that are considered gender specific.
However, when respondents were asked specifically about which toys were suitable for different genders, the responses were far less progressive. Only slightly more than one in 10 of the respondents (13 per cent) think Barbie is suitable for boys to play, while just a quarter of those polled believe that it is suitable for boys to be playing with either an easy bake oven (26 per cent) or a tea set (23 per cent). By contrast, more than nine in 10 (91 per cent) believe Barbie is suitable for girls to play, while three-quarters (74 per cent) of people feel it is suitable for girls to play with an easy bake oven or a tea set.
Of the nine countries polled, Australia is the only country polled where the majority of respondents would either be very likely or somewhat likely to let a boy play with a Barbie doll (50 per cent), an easy bake Oven (62 per cent) or a tea set (57 per cent).
It is not just boys that are limited in the variety of toys that people deem suitable. While trucks/car are considered the toy most suitable for boys (85 per cent of those polled think it is an appropriate toy for a boy), just 29 per cent of those polled believe that trucks/cars are suitable toys for girls to play with.
Of the toys surveyed, Lego is the only toy that the majority of respondents feel suitable for both boys and girls. However, it is still seen to be significantly more suitable for boys, with 79 per cent of respondents believing Lego is a suitable toy for boys, compared to 55 per cent for girls.
Branding and marketing experts will be interested to note that colours are not seen as gendered as stereotypes might suggest. While only a third of respondents (36 per cent) believe that pink is only for girls, just a fifth (20 per cent) believe that blue is only for boys.
However, anyone hoping for a revolution in toys’ packaging will be disappointed by how the results break down by gender. While only 29 per cent of women agree that pink is only for girls, so long as 43 per cent of men still agree it could be a while before you find a pink Action Man in a store near you.