I tweeted about this a couple of days ago, but I feel like it needs a full blog post, because this is something I’ve been bothered by for a long time.
The tweet was in response to this article, about a woman who was offended that Target had a two signs on their aisles – “Building Toys” and “Girls’ Building Toys”. Cue the general outrage you’d expect from such a heinous sin. Thankfully, Target didn’t fall all over themselves to correct it – just commented that customers preferred the signs because it made navigating the store easier.
So beyond the practicality of that – how novel an idea, labeling aisles according to toy type, in a logical matter – I’d like to talk about this feminist inspired idea that is plastered all over the media as of late.
The idea that girls who are, well, girly – are broken and must be fixed.
Let me preface this with my belief that kids should be able to play with whatever they want to. Your son wants to play with dolls? Ok, sure, let him have fun. Your daughter wants fatigues and a gun? Let her have fun with that too. Life is too short to micromanage what your children enjoy, whether you’re feminist or traditional.
So now that that is out of the way – why does it matter if there are “Girls’ Building Toys”?. We saw a similar backlash over the newly released LEGO Friends Line, as if because this set of Girl Legos existed it immediately disqualified children with two X chromosomes from playing with any other Legos.
Now it isn’t – “Hey, let’s make sure that there are girl options for toys”, or even “Girls should be allowed to play with boy toys”, it is “Girls must only play with gender-neutral or boy toys. Girly toys are bad.”
This is an issue anyway, but it bothers me personally because my little girl – who is funny, smart and creative, and just fine exactly the way she is – is girly and now many people (at least the main stream media/feminists) are acting like she is less of a girl for being this way, that she is illegitimate and must be changed. That she is not ok the way she is, and should be shamed because her favorite colors are – in her words – pink, purple and sparkly. She also loves Princesses, and Mermaids, and dressing up, and playing with her play kitchen. And, horror of horrors – she helps me make dinner many evenings, because she wants to. I know. I should hang my head in shame for such a travesty.
Now, as I am sure someone will think this, no one has directly said it in those words…”shame your daughter for liking girl things”, but it permeates every article that condemns the availability or creation of toys that would appeal to her. Her likes aren’t right. Her likes don’t serve the cause. So even though she’s three, she should be changed to better fit the proper feminist mold of a girl. How is this remotely ok?
Pink was my favorite color growing up, despite being very tomboyish, especially from mid-Elementary School through Middle School. For whatever it is worth, I would have loved the Lego Friends when I was younger. I didn’t play with Legos, other than at my grandparents. But a couple Christmases ago, my husband bought me this Lego set because I’d never put one together, and I loved it. I think the girl colored Nerf things are awesome too.
Because why should a girl have to become a boy to like “boy” things? Or building toys, robotics, weapons, or science toys? So what if E wants to build with pink and purple Legos, or get the Sleeping Beauty princess Lego set? This is even ignoring the push to get more girls to enter into STEM subjects – if it gets girls playing with “boy” toys, why should they care what color it is? It is accomplishing their goals.
Of course, most if it is just because the type of people that get upset at signs accurately labeling the location of toys in a store are the kind of people that always find something that offends them.
But beyond that, my daughter is great. In addition to all her girly likes, she plays superheros with her brothers, likes cars and trains, and has just started taking Karate.
And do you know what color her new Karate gi is? Pink. Because she asked for it.
Stop telling her it isn’t ok for her to be the way she is. Let her enjoy her childhood. And if your daughter doesn’t want girl colored building toys – great. Buy her blue and green ones, or even plain wooden blocks with no color at all. I hope she loves them. But don’t make it out like my daughter is a lesser woman because she doesn’t innately jump towards feminist-approved activities, desires, and colors.