Saturday, February 1, 2014

Ain't No "Barbie Girl"

Hello Hello all you gender role-defiers. Today, in the early hours of the morning (so... like 9:00)  I am going to rant to you about how the Toys are starting the gender-roles off at the youngest age possible. I went ahead and just google searched "girls toys", and I'll make  list of the things that came up:
"Kids Stroller", "Barbie Dream house", "Uptown Espresso Kids Kitchen", "My Very Own Vanity", "My Little Pony Make-up Kit" , "My First Nursery" (complete with a baby doll and all the items needed to take care of the plastic kid) and the worst of them all (in my opinion)- "Lego- Friends: Lego's For Girls". And many, many many more toys that prep girls to be the dolled-up, girly-girl, perfect housewives we're meant to be followed. Great. This is Great. 
And now I googled "toys for boys" (because "boy toy" is not the search I was looking for) and came up with some equally irritating results:
" Deluxe Wood-workshop", "Train and Track Set", "Lego Architecture", "Nerf-N-Strike Deluxe Rapid-fire", "Mega Wave Water gun", "Hot Wheels", "RC Helicopter" and again, many, many, many others that are just prepping boys to me the Manly-man, macho, gun-slinging dudes that are so idolized.
Ok. So what if a boy wants a kitchen? Or a vanity? What if a girl wants Ninja Turtles instead of Barbies? How often do you see a boy pushing a toy stroller down the street? The answer is "rarely". I don't understand why there is this distinct, clear-cut PINK vs. BLUE outlook when raising a child. Pink clothes, toys, bed sheets for girls. Blue clothes, toys and bedsheets for boys. You bring a pink onesie  for a boy's baby shower and there is confusion as to why "you didn't bring blue...". You buy a girl a set of toy monster trucks for her third birthday and she will be told that "they're for boys. not little girls". And what is up with this doll thing? I never got it. At all. I was a stuffed animal girl myself. And I rocked boy clothes for a lot of my childhood. Sorry, but I never got the appeal of playing with plastic, white girls, with unrealistic proportions, eerily smiling faces, and a clothes that, thankfully, don't exist in real life. 
I'm not even joking though. Beware. Girls grow up with these dolls as the "perfect image" and then don't understand why their waist isn't the same width as their jawline, why their breasts aren't torpedo pointy and size DDD, and why their legs aren't as skinny as bendy-straws, and attached to feet the same size as their hands. When little girls grow up with Barbie as their image of perfection, how do people expect girls to be comfortable with their bodies?

This article lays out the procedures through which hundreds of thousands of Japanese women have gone through to transform themselves into Barbie Dolls. Read it and weep. 
And then there's this whole new hype about "legos for girls". SERIOUSLY? I grew up building things with legos, and I still would except those sets are so expensive. anyways. So people were rejoicing because now girls had pink and purple legos, and lego people with boobs and makeup. 
Do we not remember when Legos- just "Legos" not "Legos- Friends"-  were for both sexes? What about when playing with legos wasn't boyish. Why have the Lego Ads featuring girls gone from this beautifully cute ad (just look at that smile *adorable)

To Animated polly-pocket looking girls with girls hair and skirts. Not overalls. We need to appreciate that ad so much more. You don't see girls portrayed like that in adds anymore. God forbid a girl is wearing overalls. Only boys wear overalls. Duh. 
There is no "Unisex" anymore. Dora and Diego. Barbie and G.I. Joe. I know that its great for the toy industry- having something for the girls and something for the boys. They're just rakin' in the cash from the gender-role perpetuation they're promoting without a second though. It makes me so angry that not only is this huge industry responsible for gender discrimination and kids feeling obligated to fall into the cookie-cutter Pink vs Blue roles, but also that parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, god-mothers, god-fathers, family-friends, cousins third removed, and grandparents are actually accepting and promoting the separation of "girl" from 
"boy" toys. 

So your son wants a doll, not a nerf gun. And your niece wants a light saber and Darth Vadar mask, not a toy makeup set. SO WHAT PEOPLE. Let it be. they're just kids. He doesn't have to be gay. She isn't automatically a tomboy. 
So just stop. Por Favor. S'il vous plait. Please. Expression as a child shouldn't be hindered because family member believe girls must behave one way and boys another. In fact, expression shouldn't be hindered by that at any age. 

So buy her Hotwheels, and let him have that doll. 
*Yay* for defying gender roles (Yippee hooray)
And don't be bogged down by the patriacrchal male. Thanks.

Xoxo and feminist vibes as always,

1 comment:

  1. There are some pretty awesome TED talks on this topic, you should check them out, hun. I'm sure you'd get a kick out of them.