French feminists protest 'gendered' toys on Xmas shelves

Barbie dolls are shown in the toy department of a retail store in Encinitas, California Oct 14, 2014.  A group of feminists, some dressed as princesses and maids, briefly occupied a Paris toy shop on Saturday to protest the gender stereotypes fu
Barbie dolls are shown in the toy department of a retail store in Encinitas, California Oct 14, 2014.  A group of feminists, some dressed as princesses and maids, briefly occupied a Paris toy shop on Saturday to protest the gender stereotypes fuelled by toys in the run-up to Christmas. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - A group of feminists, some dressed as princesses and maids, briefly occupied a Paris toy shop Saturday to protest the gender stereotypes fuelled by toys in the run-up to Christmas.

Slamming the prevalence on store shelves of pink-clad dolls for girls and swords for boys the protesters urged shoppers to opt for gender-neutral gifts.

"The conditioning starts with toys," said Roselyne Segalen of the group Chiennes de Garde (Watch Dogs).

"Gendered toys such as science kits for little boys and tea sets and makeup for girls are shockingly regressive," she said.

"It sets a disastrous example and restricts children to stereotypes."

Gender equality is a hot topic in France, which saw mass demonstrations by conservatives in May over an experimental school programme that encouraged children to question stereotypes.

Carting shopping bags out of the shop, one woman expressed support for the protest.

"I bought my daughter a dragon!" she said.