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Al MacLeod
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Al MacLeod

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In which I continue to bang my head against the brick wall of gender segregation ...

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Hi,

I would like to register my profound disappointment with the layout of the kids' craft kits in my local HobbyCraft store in Central Six Retail Park, Coventry.

I was saddened to see that the various craft kits have been divided up into "Kits for Boys" and "Kits for Girls". The division has been done along lines which seem designed to take advantage of, and encourage, gender segregation. (See photo below.)

It is a gross simplification to assume that girls are only interested in fashion and make-up, and that boys are only interested in construction sets and castles. In fact, I take great offence at the implication that my daughter should not be interested in a skateboard kit, or a Geomag sports car; or that my son should not be interested in a sewing or baking set.

By using and repeating such gender-based stereotypes, I can't help believing that HobbyCraft is encouraging a deep gender divide. I would hope a company like HobbyCraft would be challenging gender presumptions, yet display layouts such as this one just serve to reinforce them.

HobbyCraft stock lots of great stuff for kids and adults, but I feel uncomfortable bringing my children into the store if I must think they would be treated so differently according to their gender.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks for your time,

Al MacLeod

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Dear Al

Thank you for your email and we were sorry to hear of your disappointment with the layout of our kids craft section.

At the moment although we do have girls bays and boys bays, we also have mixed gender and non gender specific bays. As you can appreciate this is such a large category it has to be divided in some way, and it quite tricky to always get right. However your comments have been noted and passed onto our Marketing and Buying Teams to look into and review how they display the items in this category in our stores

We do appreciate you bringing this matter to our attention and hope to see you in one of our stores again soon.

Yours sincerely
Lisa Saban
Customer Relations Manager
Hobbycraft Trading Limited
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Problem is the old style LEGO marketing isn't winning in todays marketplace. Friends LEGO is a blatant attempt to steal marketshare form the pink dollies brigade and get them building, which is a laudable aim.
I gave my niece a LEGO City coastguard set and it was met with indifference. I then gave her a pink leotarded dance instructor http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=8805-10
and immediately we had to suborn her elder brothers bricks and build a dance studio.
She's going to get an egyptian queen
http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=8805-14
next, I'm hoping for an Egyptian Temple build.
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Al MacLeod

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Me too. If you enjoy squeezing chickens and mining sarcastic rocks, this is the game for you.
Matt Styles originally shared:
 
I've been playing Glitch for a few weeks now. Great little game and surprisingly addictive.
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I'll bite, I'm Peter Marwood.
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Al MacLeod

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The otherwise excellent Bad Reputataion blog today features a guest post by some ranting feminist on "women in larp".
(With thanks to "L", "R" and "P".)
http://www.badreputation.org.uk/
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It's a great article but does miss one element: for many young women it's not a 'safe' environment at all and even at 22, I recall being pretty upset by being treated like a candy cane that some man or other was trying to grab (metaphorically or literally) everywhere I went, in the field and even at Derby station as many of us waited for our trains! I would question whether it seems better to your informants now because it no longer happens or just we're now too old to be so tempting (and often sporting wedding rings!)
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Al MacLeod

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A fascinating review of the new hit film "I Don't Know How He Does It":
http://conscientiousmummy.blogspot.com/2011/09/i-dont-know-how-he-does-it-we-know-only.html
If you think we've achieved gender equality, read this first.
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Al MacLeod

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Hey now, me little cabin girl, it's the crack o' dawn an' there's a hard day's sailing ahead. How's about lettin' yer old Captain get a bit more sleep, eh now?
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Al MacLeod

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I think I've just seen the farthest away thing that I am ever likely to see. 
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Have them in circles
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Al MacLeod

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Neutrinos - still faster than light!
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Al MacLeod

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I wear the White Poppy because it is an unambiguous commitment to peace.

"I would wear a red poppy if it was a symbol of remembrance for all the victims of war, and not just the ones who did the killing.
"I would wear a red poppy if it did not function to hide the truth and obscure reality.
"I would wear a red poppy if its fund-raising and symbolism had the true interests of the military personnel it purports to support at heart.
"I would wear a red poppy if it wasn’t a way for the state to offset the costs of war so that it can engage in ever more military adventures.
"I would wear a red poppy if it wasn’t used socially to enforce an unthinking patriotism.
"I would wear a red poppy if it wasn’t part of a broader militarism in our society which makes war more likely, rather than less.
"I wear the White Poppy because it is an unambiguous commitment to peace."

(Taken from RichardJacksonOnTerrorismBlog:
http://richardjacksonterrorismblog.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/why-i-wear-the-white-poppy-not-the-red-poppy/ )
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Al MacLeod

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Another ranting feminist has posted a blog post on Bad Reputation about women in larp, challenging my naivety:
http://www.badreputation.org.uk/2011/11/08/guest-post-women-and-larp-the-other-side-of-the-coin/
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p.s. as for some of the worst examples in the second blog post - seriously, have you thought about the words to Three Dirty Goblins?!
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Al MacLeod

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Nearly time for my eye test. Any revision tips?
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+Dan Prebble Don't you watch Doctor Who? Don't Blink...
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Al MacLeod

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I have been out drinking with grown-ups, and managed to avoid talking about cars, football and sheds.
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Have them in circles
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