My Issues With Gender Roles & Toys
Why The [expletive here] Is This Still Happening?
I know I’m preaching to the choir here. I know we have discussed this many times before.
I went to Mrs. Tiggy Winkles today, looking for a Christmas gift for my nephew.
I want something like a Jr. Scientist kit or something along those lines and that place is really good for it. In fact, I looked for the gift at the Air & Space and the Natural History museums when I was in DC. They did have some great ones but the problem was all the instructions were in English. You see, my nephew lives in Colombia and doesn’t speak any English. I thought it was weird that in a city were most signs are both in English and Spanish, I couldn’t find a geeky gift set with Spanish instructions.
The good news, Mrs. Tiggy Winkles has a ton of those “little Scientist” kits made in Europe. All of them come with instructions in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Danish. Score!
I think I’m gonna get him these two. He’s a very curious kid and he likes to learn how things work and he’s very environmentally conscious so I think he will be happy with them.
But that’s not why I got annoyed.
I got annoyed because of the genderizing of the packaging.
I saw this really nice indoor garden kit. Very cool. It includes a very neat container, seeds and everything that is needed to grow the garden. They call it a Fairy garden which I also think it’s cool. I like fairies. This kit is so cool, I’m actually considering buying it for myself.
But why oh why do they have to make it all purple and pink and put pictures of girls only? Who says boys are not allowed to like fairies? Or grow gardens? Or that if a boy likes to grow a garden, he must like pink and purple as well?
Why is it that the minute a toy is deemed as “for girls” they make the package all glittery and pinky and purply. Gaaaaaaaaaaaah.
Why do toy makers feel they need to genderize (yeah, that word probably doesn’t even exist) their toys? What does it matter?
Of course, I am not saying this is Mrs. Tiggy Winkles’ fault. They are merely selling the toys, not packaging them.
I am not saying boys can’t like pink and purple, either. Of course they do. Some of them, anyway. And that’s good. But at the same time, not all girls like pink and purple. Some girls like blue and green and black.
I like all colours. So I couldn’t care less which colours they use in the packaging (I’ll be more attracted to orange, teal and turquoise packagin but that’s irrelevant). But I do have a problem with assigning colours to either gender.
It is SO annoying. Why do we force our girls and women to identify with some colours? Pathetic, really, as Meizac underlined.
Oh, and of course, all the Science and Tech toys have pictures of boys only, if they have any pictures of humans at all. And I can hear my mother’s voice, “No, you can’t have that. That’s for boys”. Grrrrrrrrrr
Now, my mother was a great mother. She was a great woman too. But she was the product of her space-time continuum. She was brought up to believe that little girls played with dolls and little boys played with cars and that’s how it was for her.
But now, 4 decades later, why is it that we still allow this to happen? Is it because we pick and choose our battles and deem that one not as important as others? Clearly that ‘s not the case for every one. All those witty responses to the Bic pen fiasco confirm it.
Why then? What does it still happen? And do you think toy stores should refuse to sell products from companies that assign gender roles to their products?
- Why All the Gender Marketing? Don’t Boys Like to Cook? (blogher.com)
- Does how we play decide who we’ll be? (feministlawprof.wordpress.com)
- Pink Bic Pens and Man Crisps might be patronising, but we buy them (newstatesman.com)
- When kids cross gender lines (cnn.com)
- Swedish boys’ new hero: pram-pushing Spiderman
- Toys”R”Us scolded for gender discrimination