I studied at an extremely socially outspoken university. Before going there, I was obviously against sexism, racism, homophobia and xenophobia, but it was not until I went to university that I started to observe the small injustices and inequalities around me. Many of my classmates were wildly passionate about this or that issue, and I owe it to their passion that I can reflect on things that happen around me now.
The first winter that I came home from college, I discovered at a local supermarket that they had started selling Kinder eggs “for girls.” I used to love Kinder eggs. In fact, I still succumb to delicious Kinder chocolate every time I visit home. But now I tend to opt for bars instead of eggs. (Fun fact: If you’re not from the US, you might not know that these eggs are illegal here and that there was a great campaign featuring them, see picture below.)
Now, if you grew up eating these eggs, you probably became evermore disappointed as the “surprises” turned from intricate DIY planes to boring one-piece figures or toys. Nonetheless, it never occurred to me that these toys were not intended for me. There was nothing about the red-and-white packaging or the small yellow capsule that screamed boy. The eggs were for everyone. Until one day, someone decided that girls needed separate eggs, with Barbies and pink.
The worst thing is that I know the only reason Kinder did this is for money. Naïvely, I hoped no one would fall for the ridiculous new marketing. But here we are, 4 years later, and the pink eggs “just for girls” are still being sold and advertised. I’ve written to the company, urging them to reconsider, but I’m sure it’ll end up getting no response, just like the time I emailed the M&M company to tell them that the crunchy M&Ms sold in Europe are much better than the pretzel M&Ms sold in the US, despite the fact that they are both sold in blue bags, which is misleading…
I know gendered products are hard to get away from. I can’t see myself buying Old Spice body wash either. But if I’m honest, I like the smell and probably no one would notice 5 minutes after I got out of the shower. And if my boyfriend used my honey and oat or my lavender shower gel, I sure wouldn’t mind. Be that as it may, I still don’t get why companies are introducing new gendered products. I think more and more parents are consciously trying to steer away from pink for girls and blue for boys, but evidently, the market is still large enough.
In conclusion, I have three points: Kinder should bring back intricate toys even if the pieces are smaller and therefore a greater choking hazard; buying pink eggs is counterproductive; European blue-bag M&Ms are far superior to the American ones.