First meatballs, then IKEA, then Alexander Skarsgard. Seems like everything that comes out of Sweden is stellar, even the toy catalogs: The latest offering from toymaker Leklust cleverly turns traditional gender roles upside down and sideways with photos of a boy dressed as Spider-Man pushing a pink stroller and a little girl driving a race car. About time, right?
Thank you (again), Sweden!
Here's what I found really funny (as the mother of both a daughter and a son): The first time I looked at the images nothing even struck me as out of the ordinary. Because as every parent knows, little kids don't give a fig if the toy they want to play with is meant for a girl or a boy. I want it, therefore it shall be mine.
Kaj Wiberg, the male CEO of Leklust, totally gets it:
"Gender roles are an outdated thing," he says. “I’m 71 years old, and those of us who have worked in this industry for a while know that boys play with doll houses. We know that boys can play with Barbie dolls."
But guess what? Some people -- people who must either blind, stubborn, or both -- apparently DON'T know that boys can play with Barbie dolls, as evidenced by some of the comments left on the website of an English-speaking Swedish newspaper:
“The right pic is just ridiculous. Spiderman is supposed to be a superhero, not a nanny."
“OMG Only in Sweden. I imagine some Nazi feminist pushed this through and the cowed metrosexual men sat meekly by.”
Sadly, I'm sure there are plenty of other people out there who'll be outraged by these ads. Which is exactly why we need more of them. Because gender roles ARE an outdated thing.
It's just that everybody hasn't figured that out yet.
What do you think about these photos?
Image via Leklust