Toys 'R' Us has been reprimanded for discrimination by a consumer advocacy group that says its 2008 Christmas catalog featured "outdated gender roles."

The claim came from Swedish-based consumer advocacy group Reklamombudsmannen, after a sixth-grade class in Stockholm appealed to them as part of a project. The class examined the toy catalog, which showed boys playing in "action-filled environments" as superheroes, while girls are shown "sitting or standing in passive poses" dressed up in princess costumes. The kids felt that the scenes reinforced a subjective idea of normal play, and filed a complaint against Toys 'R' Us for gender discrimination.

Sweden's International Chamber of Commerce has strict policies concerning foreign marketing, and the sixth-graders argued that Toys 'R' Us's strategies were potentially unhealthy. Student Moa Averin worried that it could make children feel self-conscious about wanting to play in a manner not typified as normal, pointing out that "guys want to be princesses sometimes."

Although Reklamombudsmannen has no authority to dish out punishments for companies it finds at fault, they did agree with the sixth-graders' complaint and issued a public reprimand.

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