Sexist marketing is all around us and it begins in the toy shop

A hostess stands next to an Opel car at the 65th Frankfurt Auto Show in Frankfurt.  (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A hostess stands next to an Opel car at the 65th Frankfurt Auto Show in Frankfurt. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
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Is this photo an advert for glitzy platform heels, or perhaps the latest fake tan?

We women are so naive. Every man will tell you it’s all about the car behind the leggy model.

It’s pretty bizarre; while he’s ogling her, he is totally aware of the car that never even registered with us.

She’s the eye candy that lures him think; Ooh, big, sexy, macho motor will make me more attractive to leggy girls who wear sparkly shoes - as he has been conditioned to do by decades of marketing campaigns specifically honed to massage his ego better than a Thai bride.

This photograph was taken not in the 1980s for some tyre calendar, but just the other day, at the Frankfurt auto Show. Which is also pretty bizarre.

Women buy cars. They love and lust after the latest model. Yet still car manufacturers envision men in the driving seat and drape sexy women all over their products. All that campaigning for equality, and sexism in marketing is as prevalent as it ever was.

So to those of you who think this week’s decision by Toys R Us to drop sexist marketing and gender stereotyping of its products to kids is a ridiculous hoo-ha, I say stop being a child and think of the wider picture.

Children grow up thinking certain toys are OK to play with, others not - because of what sex they are. It funnels them into gender-specific mindsets and roles in life. The biggest gender stereotyping kids pick up is from their parents, but we’re living in an age when most mums and dads both work, share childcare and help around the home. ‘Being like mummy’ means something very different to what it did 30 years ago. Toys haven’t caught up; the things we give kids so they can mimic adults still echo outdated stereotypes.

Toys R Us ads will now show boys and girls playing with the same toys. Stores won’t have separate sections. Now, if we can get toy manufacturers to stop painting anything aimed at a girl bright pink, one day women won’t be stepping into sparkly heels to sell male ego extensions.