I recently came across an advertisement by Kinder Joy when I was in India, and I want to talk about the way young girls were portrayed in it. The advertisement begins with a group of girls and boys, noticeably sitting together as a group, until an animated kinder egg appears with kinder treats for the kids. The egg throws joyfully blue and pink kinder eggs, which are caught specifically by boys and girls respectively, of course based on the aforementioned packaging.
Link for referred advertisement:
Sexism in the nature of toys that are marketed and sold to the two stereotypical genders has often been debated in the past and due to campaigns like this still existing, continues to be a hot topic. Enclosed in the blue kinder egg are the boys’ toys, including mini race cars, toy bicycles and airplanes, mini bowling sets, among other things, most or all of which require some basic assembly, and more importantly, are toys that have movement within them. The background jingle even sings ‘jodo’ which translates to ‘joining,’ encouraging the boys to use their hands to assemble the toys.
The girls receive, in their pink packaging of course, dolls that can be worn as rings, twirly dolls, dolls with clip on wings, and other types of dolls. Who knew there could be so many ways to make dolls seem like multiple different toys instead of just selling toys that actually differ from one another. The advertisement shows the girls playing with these toys, and actually unknowingly shows them having to improvise to make these toys ‘move’, by wearing the ring dolls and moving their fingers to mimic legs. At one point in the ad, the toy relies on blatant animation to add movement to it.
A toy that solely focuses on its appearance, whose only function is to alter said appearance, will definitely set a priority for the girl from that very young age itself. Young girls are not really given the opportunity to even interact with toys meant for the other gender, as the market makes it so specifically clear what toy is meant for whom, just like the end of this advertisement does.
Advertisements like this show openly on thousands of screens across the country and globe that this segregation is okay, which gets ingrained in the minds of impressionable young children. Emphasizing behaviours like this is what creates a ‘normal’ in society, which when deviated from makes you abnormal; something no one wants to be, especially at that age. In a country like India, which is definitely on its path to awareness and being progressive but is still in the early stages, an advertisement like this was met with little to no retaliation. It is extremely common, in fact, for products to be marketed to genders specifically rather than to children in general, which is worrying and in need of exploration.
Girl Museum Inc.