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Pink v. Blue: FIGHT!


Word clouds of words from toy ads for girls and boys, respectively.

I’m getting really sick of kids’ toys. Not just the ones lying in wait behind my feet as I turn around at the stove (grrr), but the ones in the store. It’s not even close to Xmas yet, and I cringe when I get there.

The main reason for my annoyance, is the fact that girls’ toys have become segregated into the pink ghetto of toys themed either ‘homemaker,’ ‘mother/nurturer’ or ‘fashionista.’ This is something which bothers me a great deal. A while back, I posted a video on the topic of gendered ads directed at kids which covered the same topic.These products severely limit girls’ imagination and exploration of different roles. We are living in a time when women have more power and equality than ever before, so why are we making a new editions of Monopoly and Scrabble for girls, based around shopping and fashion? And why do girls have to be surrounded by pink?

The other side of this ‘pinkification’ is the ‘blokeification’ of boy’s stuff. I have a really tough time shopping for clothes for my little boy because almost all of the boys’ clothes have messages emblazoned on them that perpetuate the stereotype that boys are dirty, tough, and ‘bad.’ This is why I bought my son a Superman outfit. I figure, if he’s going to have a symbol of masculinity it ought to be Superman, he’s honourable, he’s intelligent and he helps out those who are weaker than him. Most of the ‘boys toys’ are focused around construction, vehicles or warfare i.e. building stuff, driving stuff or killing stuff.

Where are the toys that boys and girls can play with together?

There is such a fine line when it comes to toys. Toy companies have their eye on the bottom line, and so they exploit stereotypes and create toys that cater to parents’ expectations. What’s worse is that parents start to get very strong ideas of what toys are for girls and what toys are for boys, and get uncomfortable when they see little Tommy playing with a ‘girls’ pink toy. Even if it’s the same exact toy in every other way.

Boy climbing onto a pink toy car.

"Uh-oh, that's a girl's toy. Better stop that, Tom."

Which brings us to the other recent explosion online, which was the boy with the pink toenail polish in the J-Crew ad. Which other bloggers have already covered to death.

And so, rather than flog a dead rainbow unicorn, I leave you with Jon Stewart, who covered it best:

One Comment
  1. 22/05/2011 3:51 pm

    Worse: a lot of our media normalises ‘male things’. Coming from regional Australia, I have fun asking the locals if they’d have trouble with their female children dressing up as Superman or Batman; then asking if they’d have trouble with their male children dressing up as Wonder Woman.

    I always laugh when people try to justify why they answer the questions differently…

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