Tesco, a grocery retailer based out of England, has just offended little girls everywhere, according to a slighted mother and her 7-year-old daughter. It's offense? Claiming superhero action figures were "toys for boys."
Karen Cole brought her daughter to Tesco for a routine grocery trip, when her daughter Maggie noticed a sign that said Marvel superheroes were "Fun gifts for boys." Here was Maggie's best Mckayla Maroney-Grumpy Cat-like reaction:
Cole's post got over 10,000 retweets and BuzzFeed decided to run a story on it suggesting that this little girl had "schooled" Tesco. The photo gained more than just social media buzz, however. The picture gained Tesco's attention, prompting the company to remove the "sexist" sign from each of its stores.
In response to her picture going viral, Cole wrote a blog post entitled, "Maggie v. Tesco, our story." In the piece, she explains how she has taught her daughter that toys aren't exclusive to any gender and she was pleasantly surprised that Tesco realized its mistake.
But, was it really a mistake?
John Stossel had a great segment on parents and their decision to raise children in gender neutral homes on his Fox News show which aired Saturday night. During the program, Stossel questioned parents who let their children decide whether they want to be boys or girls. He determined that it was confusing for children, to say the least.
Christina Hoff Sommers, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, also tackled this issue in a piece for The Atlantic in 2012. After speaking with experts and studying research on the subject, here's what she concluded about children's play preferences:
"They are different, and nothing short of radical and sustained behavior modification could significantly change their elemental play preferences. Children, with few exceptions, are powerfully drawn to sex-stereotyped play. David Geary, a developmental psychologist at the University of Missouri, told me in an email this week, "One of the largest and most persistent differences between the sexes are children's play preferences." The female preference for nurturing play and the male propensity for rough-and-tumble hold cross-culturally."
Is it so mind boggling to suggest that boys and girls are programmed differently? Boys tend to want to pretend they're Iron Man, and girls tend to want to braid Elsa's hair. It's not sexist - it's basic science.
Presumably, Tesco also had Barbies or Easy Bake Ovens that were labeled "just for girls." I, for one, don't think the company would have to apologize for assuming that girls like playing with dolls and baking cookies - because they do!
Instead of teaching our sons and daughters to be offended by false cases of sexism, why not teach them to embrace the differences between boys and girls? That is something to be thankful for.