I am a tough person to shock. Srsly. Ergo, I was a taken aback when I found myself shocked in Toys “R” Us last year. (Note: I shop there as a last resort second only to Wal-Mart, but hey – I live in Vermont; options are limited.)
What was so stunning? I was looking for a toy car, and was told that I needed to look in the Boy Section. Ie, that swath of blue across the aisle from the even more blinding shock of Pink. (Yes, there was so much of it that it warrants a capital letter.)
I looked at the female clerk and asked her if she had driven to work. She said yes, and looked at me like I had three heads. I guess folks who understand irony don’t wind up working at Toys “R” Us…
Anyway, I abhore the whole Pretty Pink Princess culture that seems to dominate mainstream female culture from, oh, birth to puberty these days. My girls like princesses and pink, but have (fortunately) had a low enough exposure to both the marketing of said and other kids who have been brainwashed by said that neither ‘pink’ nor ‘princess’ warrants a capital letter in our home. They have a pink Disney Princess play tent that they were given a few years ago for Christmas, and they don’t know their names. Heck, they call them ‘the pretty ladies’ a fair amount of the time. (Yes, they are still getting the mainstream version of beauty, but in a very, very small dose. I’m enjoying holding off a pink army right now; don’t point out the anorexic one right now, ok? Gee whiz…)
Don’t even get me started on how RIDICULOUSLY hard it was for me to find a baby doll for my son that was dressed by mainstream boy standards and didn’t cost a fortune. He dresses in his sisters’ clothes sometimes, so I knew HE wouldn’t care, but I wanted to find one, just to prove to myself that *someone* in the toy industry (who didn’t milk folks for the privilege) got that boys might like playing with baby dolls like themselves, too. (The best I could find for under $40 still had pink trim on his romper, not that he wears it often; Buddy is a hot sleeper, so figures his baby is, too.)
And yes, I did just read that a recent study has found that juvenile female monkeys will sometimes play with sticks or bark by cradling them like babies, while juvenile male monkeys will use sticks just for hitting. I’m not saying that girls might not prefer baby dolls more than boys do, just that kids have the right to pick their own toys, and not have marketing do it for them.
Anyway, this rant was brought on by a wonderful article I was just sent by a friend that I thought I’d share. http://margotmagowan.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/female-desire-and-the-princess-culture/
There, go read. I’ll wait. >:)