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The Toy Museum in Nuremberg opens the exhibition “For girls only? Household equipment as toys” on 25 March 2011. It shows how toys at the start of the 20th century prepared girls for their role as housewife and mother. Experts discussed the extent to which toys influence the development of children only recently at the Building Our Future Toy Conference at the Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nürnberg 2011. The results of the Building Our Future Toy Conference can be seen on film at www.toyfair.de/toybusinessforum.
Toys in the 21st century are still strictly orientated to gender-specific role models and allow little scope for gender-neutral toys. This was the outcome of the discussion between toy manufacturers, retailers, business and PR consultants, market researchers and journalists from all over the world at the Building Our Future Toy Conference. Historically the packaging of technical toys and their advertising depict girls in a mainly passive role, criticized presenter Richard Gottlieb, President of USA Toy Experts: “Instead of complaining that girls lose interest in toys at an ever earlier age, the toy industry must develop products, packaging and marketing that reflect the active self-image of girls.”
The participants at the Building Our Future Toy Conference recommended toy manufacturers to critically review their products, design and packaging: Do these appeal to boys and/ or girls? Do children have interests that have not yet been taken up by toys, but provide ideas for new products? The discussion panel also suggested a rethink for toy retailers, who often rigidly physically separate girls’ and boys’ toys in their shops. Many products could appeal to more customers in gender-neutral areas than on shelves predefined for gender-specific toys. The Building Our Future Toy Conference at the International Toy Fair 2011 called upon the toy industry to take a closer look at the impact of toys on the development of boys and girls when inventing toys. Ultimately, the toy industry also shares the responsibility today for the development of the people of tomorrow.
The time when girls – and sometimes boys too – played with the toys shown in the “For girls only?” exhibition was shortly after the arrival of gas and electricity in private homes. The new technology of the first decades of the 20th century was promptly taken up by toys. On the other hand, the social changes in role models need several decades before they are reflected in the cultural asset toys.
25.03.2011 – km
Informationen on the Building Our Future Toy Conference on the Internet:
Photo material: www.toyfair.de/photos
Sound bites: www.toyfair.de/radio
Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nürnberg
The Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nürnberg, the leading international fair for toys, hobbies and leisure, is organized by the fair and marketing services provider Spielwarenmesse eG. The purely trade fair creates a comprehensive communication and ordering platform for 2,700 national and international manufacturers. The presentation of new products and the extensive industry overview provide a valuable pool of information for annual market orientation for some 76,000 buyers and toy traders from over 100 nations.
62nd Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nürnberg: Thursday – Tuesday, 3–8.2.2011
63rd Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nürnberg: Wednesday – Monday, 1–6.2.2012