Aldi slammed for enforcing 'harmful gender stereotyping' with kids' books

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Aldi customers have publicly slammed the supermarket for selling children's books they claim perpetuate outdated gender stereotypes.

One Aldi customer shared her disappointment with the supermarket giant after noticing what she says are sexist images in two books available in the retailer's Special Buys range.

"Was disappointed with @ALDIAustralia yesterday," wrote the woman on Twitter.

Aldi children's book covers side by side
Aldi customers slammed the supermarket for selling children's books they claim perpetuate outdated gender stereotypes. Source: Twitter/@AshaRaoRMIT

"Why the difference? Girls can be Astronauts and surgeons! How about 'What can you be?' STOP the gender differentiation!" she demanded.

Alongside her post, the customer shared two side-by-side photos of the controversial kid's books.

One book, titled What Can He Be? features a picture of a young boy dressed as an astronaut on the front cover, while the other book is titled What Can She Be? and shows a young girl dressed as a veterinarian.

Aldi supermarket storefront at daytime
The controversial children's books were available as part of Aldi's Special Buys range. Source: Getty

'We need the conversation to become non-binary'

The Aldi customer pointed out the picture books appear to be knock-offs of ABC What Can She Be? and ABC What Can He Be? by Sugar Snap Studio, which aim to empower girls and boys by showing them they can grow up to become anything.

However, she said Aldi's version of the popular children's books fall short, as they perpetuate "harmful" gender stereotypes for impressionable young girls and boys.

"We need the conversation to become non-binary. Wonder how many professions are possible for each letter of the alphabet?" she asked on Twitter.

Pages in Aldi children's books
The Aldi children's books tell boys they can be engineers, firefighters, while girls are told they can be editors and fashion designers. Source: Twitter

When a Twitter user suggested the Aldi customer was judging a book by its cover as the same professions could be featured in both books, the woman revealed that wasn't the case.

"I opened and checked. It didn't which is why I was more irritated. Aside from the fact that it's time to move to a non-binary format," she tweeted back.

Inside the alphabetised children's books, boys are told they can be engineers, firefighters, quality assurance managers and race car drivers.

Meanwhile girls are told they can be editors, fashion designers, queens and real estate agents.

"Was very disappointed with the differentiation," wrote the Aldi shopper later on LinkedIn. "Do better. Think before you publish," she added.

Aldi customers share disappointment over gender stereotypes

Several other people shared their concerns about the children's books, saying they were "disappointed" in the retailer.

"Aldi is a smart choice for most things but this has disappointed," wrote one person.

"Sigh...no need for this," chimed another.

A third person pointed out how gender stereotyping, even if unintentional, contributes to a wider social issue.

"I'm afraid this harmful gender stereotyping and effective misogyny is all-pervasive and internalised by the shopping public and, unfortunately, by many school teachers," wrote the Twitter user.

Yahoo News Australia reached out to Aldi for comment, but the supermarket had nothing further to add.

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