French Retailer Calls for Gender-Free Christmas in Powerful New Ad

A new Christmas ad reminds us kids don't care if toys are for boys or girls.
Systeme U/YouTube

A French food retailer wanted to create a Christmas toy catalog free of gender stereotypes. Instead of "girl toys" and "boy toys," Systí¨me U aimed simply to sell toys. So the store created a thought-provoking and, frankly, adorable commercial to promote its #GenderFreeChristmas.

The ad begins with young kids spouting out gender stereotypes they know to be true. "Stuff for girls is more pink," says on little girl. "Boys, they don't know how to take care of babies," reports another.

"Boys play football, and girls have tea party sets," explains a third girl.

"If a castle is pink, well then it's for girls," notes a little boy, sagely.

But then, the kids are given a chance to just play. We see them rushing into a giant playroom, filled with toys. And what they'd said about gender stereotypes goes right out the window.

Indeed, girls are playing with pretend power tools and building sets. Boys are cooking in play kitchens, and taking care of baby dolls—they're vacuuming and pushing carriages around.

I've noticed a similar phonemenon when my preschooler's friends play together. Boys are busy in the pretend kitchen, while my daughter dresses up like a pirate. They aren't thinking about whether a toy is for boys or girls; they're just being kids and playing.

The images of the French kids playing freely are the photos that will go on to make up Systí¨me U's Christmas catalog. The company explains: "Few French brands dare display their social commitment, and even fewer dare to do so through film. Being a major retailer in France today means being a social stakeholder, in touch with the French people."

This isn't the first time the retailer has taken a stand on social issues, having previously committed to removing parabens from products it sells, and replacing aspartame with stevia in beverages.

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.

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