Yes…the Cake is a lie. If you get that reference your my favorite person right now. Girls have always been associated with the Sugar and Spice and everything nice mentality. Pretty, petite and princess-like. The stereotype of women has changed dramatically in the last 10 years alone and adults are starting break molds on both sides. Toy companies need catch up.
Half the toys we buy for our Diva are not in the “girl” aisle and aren’t part of the “sugar and spice” or every girl is a princess mentality. I’ve accepted and encouraged that. The girl toys frankly need a makeover. Big Time. Now don’t start assuming I am anti girl toys, or anti pink, or anything. I do enjoy “girly” things from time to time and I like pink but it took a LONG time to grow on me and I will NEVER like frilly poofy clothes…ever. Now on to toys…
I try to encourage the Diva to use her imagination but other than that we don’t force toys on her. Admittedly I bought those mini ponies before she really got into them because I thought they were cute and had to collect them. Who hasn’t done that right? No? Anyway, other than that we will buy one of something for her and see if she likes it or let her try it someplace else first.
The Diva likes what she likes and (because she is my daughter) she tends to lean towards the strange things like LaLaLoopsy which is a favorite and she is starting to like Monster High dolls because she likes monsters. My darling little girl also loves zombies, building with blocks and Duplos, Star Wars, Ponies, singing and dancing and crafts. Some things are more girly and some are not quite so “sugary”.
In the girl half of the store (Toys R Us) there is an entire aisle for Baby Dolls and accessories, an entire aisle on pretend kitchens and playing house accessories, and the rest of the aisle are various version of dolls. Barbie, Monster High, Bratz, Loopsy, Tinkerbell, Amercian Girl, and baby dolls make up 90% of the girl toys section. The other 10% is pretend kitchens, dress up princess, cheer leader or fairy outfits and accessories and make up and hair salon sets.
Where are the building sets for girls? Where are the cars or nerf gun type toys? Some companies are basically in business to market to little (stereotypical) girls and some are more for boys. For instance Disney is more a girl company (mostly because of Princesses) but Nerf has always been associated with boys although they are both trying to be a company for both genders. Here are a few toys that I have had a problem with…but it could be just me.
These are in the Boy section of the toy areas of most stores. Just because they don’t have pink or purple bricks or princess sets doesn’t mean girls can’t play with them. Duplo makes princess sets but they are not pink and those are actually cute regular sets with a princess figure. THAT is how Legos should be. Which leads me to real problem…
First of all let me say that I love when companies that start marketing towards girls but come on Lego…those “Friends” are NOT legos. Girls already played with Legos! They USED to be a ton of bricks and bits you used to create anything your imagination could come up with. Now you are limited to buying sets…you have to build what is on the box. Girls barely have that option. You HAVE to build what they say and use it for what they say…like having a tea party or styling lego hair. Lego…you failed.
All you had to do was incorporate pink and purple BRICKS for fun…and maybe add more female lego people. Period. My daughter will NEVER own Lego Friends but happily plays with Duplos (can’t do actual legos just yet).
I know a lot of girls and women who love a good nerf battle but these have always been found in the boy aisle in most stores. Nerf realized that girls like shooting foam darts at people too and came out with a new line of guns for girls. They are have purple and pink, but not overly so and most importantly they didn’t give them some wimpy little peashooter. Yes there is a bow but there is also a Crossbow. Not the weapon you think of for girls! Good job Nerf. Downside is they split them up so the purple ones are in the girl aisle in some cases and everything else is in the boy aisle. One nerf aisle is all that is needed and it should be with Lego down a gender neutral aisle.
These toys are awesome and the figures work with every other Imaginext set ever. I LOVE that I don’t have to keep upgrading. Yes they have a VERY few girl ones…actually I think maybe JUST Wonder Woman and Cat Woman. The rest are boy figures. However, this hasn’t stopped my daughter from playing with them or us from buying them for her. She is getting the Bat Mobile set for Xmas and a Police Car set as well. With the exception of Toys R Us these are also down a boy aisle. Toys R Us has them in an aisle just for imaginext toys next to an aisle just for playskool toys. I approve of that greatly. They just need to make more female characters.
Barbie is iconic and girls the world over have LOVED her for years. Except me…I preferred these weird My Little Pony Birds, He-Man and She-Ra and only had about 3 Barbies. When you look down the Barbie aisle it is insanely pink and there are TONS of versions of Barbie. I get her having friends and all but do they have to make a new doll for EVERY outfit or job they give her? Couldn’t they just put out a Doctor set with outfit and accessories for being a Doctor? IF I bought Barbie for my daughter I would not want more than ONE Barbie. Seriously isn’t that why they made friends for her?
Ah the princess..Disney has had the SAME princesses for forever…they keep changing the style but not by much. Same dresses, same hair, same everything. The idea of the princess being helpless, or waiting for her prince to come, or being pretty will get you a guy are all crap that I hate having my daughter grow up learning about. I like that the new versions of princesses are sassier and stronger though. Tiana and Merrida are now my favorites but Belle has always been my most favorite. She was pretty sure, but she was smart. She didn’t care what people thought and had a love for learning.
Tiana works hard to get what she wants, she is determined, intelligent and confident. Merrida is another strong willed “princess” that I like. She is tough, takes care of herself and others, independent, smart but more in a street smart common sense kind of way and clearly shows she does not need a prince. These are all qualities I would love for my Diva to develope. Confidence, independence, intelligence and faith in herself. So Disney…you are starting to break the mold but only a little.
Pretend Kitchen Sets
The aisle with all the pretend kitchen sets, pot and pan sets, food sets, cash registers, tea sets and shopping carts are ALL in the girl aisles. The work benches with building tools are ALL in the boy aisles. Explain how they are different? They both encourage pretend play, they both have sets and accessories and both girls and boys play with both. So why aren’t they in the same aisle? The really need a gender neutral section. Santa brought a pretend kitchen one year but it was for BOTH of my kids.
I don’t want to keep my daughter from liking Barbie, or Princesses, or Hello Kitty but I don’t want her to like them simply because those are all there is. I love that she loves playing with swords and nerf guns one minute and the next she is putting on a tutu pretending to be a fairy. Her little Loopsy dolls fight a dragon or go for a ride in a car. I don’t ever want her to lose that imagination or creativity. That is my ultimate goal with toys for my daughter. Allowing her to use her imagination and creativity to play with whatever she wants and how she wants.
Toy companies should learn to market toys for EVERYONE. Simple and small touches are all that are really needed to market to different genders and its cheaper than a whole new line of toys. Simply showing a commercial or a box with a girl in it playing with those different toys could do the trick. There is so much more to little girls than Sugar and Spice and everything nice, so please toy companies…let little girls out of the “everything nice” pink box?