Barbies Are For Girls and Guns Are For Boys, Right Santa?

A gender-neutral toy catalog arouses passions in France

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Philippe Huguen / AFP / Getty Images

A Santa Claus looks a boy and his mother buying Christmas gifts on December 15, 2012 in a toy store in Lille, northern France.

The Christmas spirit is wavering in parts of France after a toy catalog was released that featured a girl playing with a crane and a boy playing with a doll.

Though many parents have welcome the catalog, conservative critics have labeled it as brainwashing and “male hatred,” while others have called for a boycott of the Système U supermarket cooperative responsible. Spokespeople for Système U have said that the catalog was meant to reflect their customers lives, rather than to make a political point.

Gender-stereotyping toys garnered worldwide headlines in 2012 when Toys “R” Us introduced a gender-neutral Christmas catalog in Sweden, featuring Spider-Man pushing a pink pram and a young girl wielding a gun. In September this year, the toy retail giant decided to choose the same approach in the U.K., and several other countries, including Finland, Norway, Germany, Denmark and France.