Girls are Girls and Boys are Boys?

Published: 11 February 2014

Country: UK

CBBC_guideBBC audience guide for children’s channel has been accused of gender stereotyping while it labels girls as emotionally focused and boys as task focused.

The guide entitled “Girls are girls and boys are boys” provides audience with a list of  characteristics for each gender; girls “have a tendency towards manipulation and can be over emotional while they are keen on fashion and enjoy listening to popular music”. Boys, one the other hand, enjoy achieving goals and completing physical challenges and for many of them their football team is a top priority. BBC stated the document was out of date and that had been mistakenly left on the website, without reflecting broadcaster’s policy.

Guidelines have been severely criticized by equality groups and netizens on Twitter, like Let Toys Be Toys, Everyday Sexism and TransMedia Watch. Justine Roberts, chief executive of Mumsnet said “It is really disappointing and unhelpful that even an organisation as forward-thinking as the BBC can still pigeonhole boys and girls into such traditional stereotypes”. On Twitter, users have characterized the guide as depressing, destructive and harmful thinking while they accused it of deploying hideous gender stereotypes in their audience.

BBC spokesperson told The Independent that the logo shown on the criticized guide has been out of use for at least seven years. The guide, aiming to show what CBBC children audience members “care about”, and their interests related to age and gender, has been already removed from the website.