Have yourself a gendered little Christmas: Toy Shopping

young-girl-toy-trainI’ve recently had the terrifying experience of gift shopping for a few little feminists in my life. Of course, I went into it with a plan. I was going to get fun but educational toys that didn’t confine my tiny friends to traditional gender roles. Sounds simple enough, right?

Holy impossible mission! The toy aisle is easily the scariest burst of gendered shopping drama I’ve seen in a while. Naturally, you already know that there are “boy” aisles and “girl” aisles, and never the two shall meet.

I’m not just talking about everything getting a coating of pink or blue either. There’s a marked difference in the nature of toys deemed appropriate for a certain gender. Venture through the sparkly pink aisle, and you’ll notice that everything is about make-up, dress-up or pretend play that involves baby care, shopping, cooking, or cleaning.

Just one aisle over, you’ll find everything you need to shoot things, build things, or some combination of the two. Fear not though! Nerf seems to have caught onto this whole feminism business, for now you can purchase a petite pink handgun or a Heartbreaker crossbow from the Rebelle line.

I searched high and low, and the only gender non-specific options I could find were for babies or children over 8 (in which case, it has to be some form of board game). Apparently, in those crucial, pretend-play centric, formative ages of 1-7, children are expected to play in a very specific, gender limited way.

This recent toy shopping experience might be why I was so excited when I saw this article about Goldie Blox. The premise of the toy line is that it’s time we started telling our young children that girls can be scientists, engineers, and more by encouraging building and problem solving in play.

Of course, my partner was quick to point out that the block sets are still pink and purple, and Goldie is a thin, pretty little white girl with flowing blonde locks. It may not be the be all and end all solution to Christmas shopping for little feminists, but clever word play wins me over every time.




Filed under