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Toy industry: Barbie doesn’t cause violence

Senate inquiry is probing a possible link between gendered toys and family violence.
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Toy manufacturers have denied a link between toys, gender stereotypes and domestic violence during a Senate inquiry.

The Green’s-led inquiry is taking submissions from parents, toy makers and advocacy groups on the issue of gendered marketing, inequality and family violence.

Greens Senator Larissa Waters last year argued there was a causal link between the gendered marketing of toys ‘for girls’ and toys ‘for boys’, which taught children from an early age that the genders are different or unequal.

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The senator also argued there was a popular consensus that gender inequality leads to domestic violence later on in life.

A submission from international women’s group Zonta International argued the early sexualisation of girls through gendered marketing was damaging in the long run.

“Sexualisation of young children through products, dress, toys and cosmetics reinforces that girls should be sexy, submissive, and boys should be dominant, macho, important and strong,” it said.Does gendered marketing cause violence?

“These products reinforce boys to grow to males that can be powerful and strong, and that girls need to be attractive and submissive to males.”

But in 2015, both then prime minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten criticised the Green’s campaign, with Mr Abbott dismissing it as “political correctness”.

The Toy Association also argued against the claims in its own submission, saying it “strongly rejects any links” between toys and the “ongoing problem[s] of domestic violence and gender inequality”, according to Fairfax Media.

A report is due in August, 2016.

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