Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Girly stuff

While Googling Dream Phone to avoid trying to search for the game in our basement closet, I came across an article slamming all of my favorite childhood things.

http://www.bitchmagazine.org/archives/ish_3_kidstoys/barbiecanbiteme.shtml

Dream Phone, Mall Madness, Pretty Pretty Princess, Barbie, Fashion Plates, the L'il Sweetheart trike...I had them all. I don't feel that playing with girly things made me any less of a woman. In fact, when I was little, I absolutely refused to touch anything that wasn't pink (preferably neon, of course). I did have my brother's old primary colored trike, but I didn't want that shit. I wanted the pink and purple one with the heart stickers and the seat that lifted up (I kept sand in there. I don't know, I liked sand.). The only coloring books I liked were Barbie ones (I enjoyed coloring their lipstick for some reason, so all of my old coloring books just had the lips colored and nothing else), and Fashion Plates fucking rocked.

I just get so mad when people say that the girly toys aren't encouraging little girls to become strong women, and that we should have gender neutral toys. Some strong little girls don't want gender neutral toys. You can bet I would've looked at you like wtf if you had handed 7 year old me a toy that wasn't the least bit girly. I'm not saying that all the little girls' toys out there now are perfect, and maybe there are some that enforce gender stereotypes, but damn it, I liked dresses, pink spandex pants, big floppy hairbows made of shoelaces, and shopping in Mall Madness, and I'm doing just fine, thanks.

What about the flip side? Would these authors go into the little boys' toy aisles and comment on the fire and destruction decoration? Should the little boys be made to play with something pink so that gender stereotypes won't be enforced?

Maybe I'm just tired and reading too much into this, but I think my parents and teachers taught me to be strong, while my toys had little or no effect. They were just amusement.

And as an added note, Dream Phone totally teaches the process of elimination. So there.

5 comments:

Jenny said...

Man, I had that awesome light box and all the different pages of clothes and hair and faces to trace. Holy crap, my sister and I made sooo many paper dolls with that lighbox.
We would spend hours making characters and dressing and coloring them and experimenting with cutting out clothes with tabs so we could change their outfits...I could go on and on about the sheer awesomeness of our fashion lightbox thingy, but I'll just end with that thing totally enhanced out creativity and really inspired both of us to become artists.

So there, bitchmagazine. ^_^

Oh, and I'm loving your blog. Little Gymnasts? Hello! Best series ever! I remember totally judging Lauren b/c of her ugly ass on the cover. ^_^

snappleaddict said...

Exactly what I mean! The fact that it was a girly toy didn't shape how strong of a woman you'd become, it was just fun to play with.

I remembered another thing about Dream Phone. It teaches girls to objectify men, thus promoting equality since there are a billion things out there objectifying women. I win.

Thank you! Lauren did always look weird. I was a Cindi fan. She rocked that sideways ponytail right into my heart.

Kamala said...

I completely agree. I was a kid in the 90s, so I never had a Dream Phone or whatever, but I was still quite the girly girl when it came to toys and I don't think it made me a "weak" person. In any event, I had all that mini-kitchen stuff (like the mini-oven you could supposedly bake cookies in, even though the heat came from like a light bulb), but now I live off instant noodles.

Love your blog, btw.

snappleaddict said...

Thank you, and the Easy Bake oven and ramen are the shit. I'm glad to hear that some people agree with me on this article, and that I wasn't just overreacting.

Clementine Bojangles said...

While I have to admit that I think the article raises some good points (and it's pretty well-written), I also agree with what you have to say.

You and I are about the same age, and we grew up with a lot of the same toys. Growing up, I had this Lego-knockoff set that allowed you to build a mall (all in pinks and purples). I loved it dearly, but I also had a huge barrel of regular Legos. Obviously, both sets were combined over time, which made for a huge amount of awesome.

I think that the toy companies are producing gender-specific toys, but I'll go a step further than the article and say that they're basically giving the public what they want. We live in a culture that's completely drenched in the gender dichotomy.

Does the article raise some good points? Yeah, I think it does. But I think the responsibility ultimately falls to the parents, teachers, mentors and friends in a child's life to make sure that they're raised in a way that allows them to think critically about the world around them.

You know what I mean?

(P.S. This is my second comment in like, three days, I'm here almost every day, and I'm officially adding you to my blogroll. I hope that's okay.)