this parenting caper : that's not equality

posted on: Sunday, November 24, 2013


have you seen that ad for engineering toys for girls?

after hearing in three different contexts today that this ad is fab I have a little something to say.

I thought the ad was okay. but, not great.

because of course girls should be encouraged to be engineers! hello. what century are we living in?

and...what is this ad really saying about gender?

what is it saying about stereotypically feminine games and preferences?


did you see the girls' expressions at the beginning of the ad?

is this ad sending the message that to have 'girly' interests is lame?

and what about little boys who love dress-ups and tea parties?

pink and dress-ups and tea parties and dolls can be fun for girls AND for boys.

sadly, I think in an effort to promote traditionally masculine toys for girls, this campaign is saying that traditionally feminine toys and pastimes are of lesser value.

that's not equality.


toys, like colours and careers, should be available to everyone.


well, that's my two cents on gender/equality/toys for the week :) friends, I'd love to know -- what do you think? do you think the ad is empowering for girls, or missing the point of equality? or do you think I've missed the point of the ad? I'd love to hear!

{images of the kiddo taking a ballet class when he was three four.}

28 comments:

  1. I think the idea behind it is admirable but like you think they miss the point by leaping over to the other side. On the other hand of that I'm quite annoyed that the ad goes on about pink being bad yet they toy is packaged in coral/peach - so pink or the purple one with the princess on it.
    Also there's already an engineering toy that is not gender specific- Lego!

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    1. right?! I agree. the message is kind of mixed with the packaging colours and the song, and Lego is exactly what I was thinking of too. there are lots of engineering toys already out there. girls can play with them!

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  2. I was really annoyed the other day when someone pointed out to me that I needed to buy my son some boys toys as he played with a grey rabbit - what's wrong with that? Just because he is a boy doesn't mean everything needs to be blue and trucks!

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    Replies
    1. how annoying, shari.

      grey rabbits -- another toy that is for everyone :)

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  3. I think the ad is just designed to sell more toys. Children can play with whatever they want its the adults and toy companies that create the gender stereotypes in the first place.

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    1. it's so true about the adults! I've noticed that very small kids will play with whatever they like, but they soon (round 3 I think) start to noticeably take on board what the adults/ads/marketing and by extension their peers are telling them is right 'for boys' or 'for girls'.

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  4. I could weep for this post is so spot on. Wonderful! Thank you. I have three boys and sometimes I think boy stereotypes have just gotten worse. And sometimes I am so disheartened by how "pink" things have to be to justify it as geared towards girls.

    Your space here is absolutely stunning. love what you have done. xo

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    1. thank you, thank you (on both accounts) rebecca. I feel quite dismayed when people don't seem to notice that when they hold certain attributes (eg: traditional male attributes) up over other attributes they're suggesting that the other is lesser.

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  5. To me the add is like when someone says "now I don't mean to be racist...." then goes on to say something racist.

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    Replies
    1. ha, ha. oh that old chestnut! don't even get me started. def a post for another day there ;)

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  6. I agree...I didn't see what was so special about that ad or the product itself...and some of the messages that accompanied it as it went viral were pretty depressing too...like if you happen to like Barbies you will never go to MIT or any other "good" college.

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  7. My husband played the ad for me least night. I thought it was a bit heavy handed with it's message. I also wondered at the end what it was even an ad for? I got saw plenty of examples of what was "bad" but I had no idea what they were actually selling. My 3 year old daughter loves her tea parties and tutus and the thought of her seeing this and thinking somethings wrong with that breaks my heart. I say let kids play with what they love- trucks, crayons, books, dolls- who cares?

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    1. one day when my son was three he came home saying that purple was only for girls. a little girl at daycare had told him that. another time he came home saying that someone had said that his beloved rainbow tee was only for girls. I said, actually, purple is for everybody. rainbows are for everybody.

      I think a campaign that embraces engineering-oriented activities without putting down other activities would be fabulous. a campaign with girls AND boys. inclusive!

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  8. i think what you are saying makes perfect sense!

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  9. I haven't seen the ad, but my boy plays with my handmedown dolls from when I was a girl, and yesterday he wore his cousins girly sun bonnet when I couldn't find a hat- and I was amazed when my neighbour teased me about it. As if a doll or a bonnet could damage his future masculinity? ? I say encourage all kinds of play with all kinds of toys for a child to develop a range of skills. No pigeonholing.

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    Replies
    1. many boys love dolls if given the chance to play with them, which is lovely. no pigeonholing indeed!

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  10. Oh, you just reminded me of an article I read about when pink and purple were boy colours, pre-war.I think that I even wrote a blog post about it a while back, I'll see if I can rustle it up for you.

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  11. I wholeheartedly agree with everything in this post.

    I've been thinking about gender equality an awful lot recently, with my pink, sparkle loving boy due to start preschool soon – I'm afraid his joy over that colour and all things deemed 'girly' will be quashed quickly.

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    1. your fears may be realised from the preschool environment but luckily for him he can still have that freedom at home. and perhaps our little people will grow up to encourage a more equal and inclusive society for their children? x

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  12. well said! it drives me crazy how gendered everything is for babies and children, it's so binary. i sometimes feel like as far as equality is concerned, we're actually going backwards. x

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    Replies
    1. I've wondered if we're going backwards too gaby :(

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  13. further to this: https://www.facebook.com/playunlimited

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