Early Learning Centre under fire for ‘gender stereotype’ fancy dress ad

Did you see this - and did you find it offensive?


A mum’s screenshot of an Early Learning Centre (ELC) email newsletter has caused a stir on social media.


The email (above), which was designed to sell fancy dress costumes, left some parents furious – thanks to the way gender stereotypes were portrayed.

In this particular email, it appeared that girls were surrounded by the colour pink, while donning princess and ballerina costumes, meanwhile boys dressed up as superheroes, wizards and a doctor.

The text alongside the pics (perhaps inadvertently) suggested that the boys were there to ‘save the day’ – which, naturally, didn’t sit well with some parents.

Some of them even took to Twitter to vent their frustration…

The mum who first shared the email, Laura Benson, wrote: “OH MY GOD I really thought we were starting to get past this s***”

While another added: “Come on @ELCUK this is truly awful. Let’s move out of the stone age #progressivemarketing”

It was also picked up by campaigners Let Toys Be Toys, who wrote in response:

“Girls are passive princesses while wise, smart, active boys save the day? Very disappointing @ELCUK HT @lauracbenson”

But ELC responded in kind, telling us in a statement…

“At Early Learning Centre our aim is to offer a wide enough range to appeal to the many different tastes and play interests of little ones.

“We feature both boys and girls playing with many different toys and dressing-up outfits.”

And it’s also worth noting that one mum pointed out the work ELC has done to break the mould when it comes to their advertising campaigns.

She shared a recent pic from the brand which featured a young boy playing with a baby doll…

elc ad boy plays with doll

We have to say, we’ve had a look at some of the ELC’s previous ad campaigns and we reckon they do a lot to avoid gender stereotyping in general.

On their website, you can see little boys playing with cleaning toys and washing machines, and little girls wearing tool belts, and playing with medieval castles…


So maybe the ad in question was a bit of a one-off!

What do you think?

Do you hate seeing stereotypical ads around kids toys and clothes? Or do you just ignore ads anyway and let your child wear what they want?

We’d love to know – let us know on Facebook and Twitter.

Images: Twitter/Let Toys Be Toys, ELC 

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