Lately, I’ve been getting frustrated with a lot of the “stuff” I see shared via social media. I doubt there are many people who really agree with me, so rather than post a ton of comments on social media…I’m just going to rant on my blog. I can do that…it’s my blog.
I think what set the wheels in motion most recently was a very well written blog post about American Girl dolls. The article had a lot of really good points. American Girl dolls used to be about hard-hitting history and how young girls could make a difference in this crazy world. Now…not so much. I agree with that assessment. I also think you’ll have that when you take a company that was built on the historical aspect and sell it to a company like Mattel. It’s a toy company. They don’t care about teaching your girls history. They want to sell toys and make money. Personally, I think they currently *can* help to feed the whole feel-good mentality of our society, that doesn’t mean they have to. I knew lots of girls with braces when I was a kid, their dolls didn’t have braces. They were fine with that. At least I think so, I didn’t have braces, but I did have a retainer. It doesn’t bother me much that dolls come with their own story, but (again, personally) it’s a doll. Dolls are for using your imagination. Dolls can help you to dream up all sorts of crazy worlds and play out adventures. Girl dolls, boy dolls, doesn’t matter…it’s a doll. It’s more about the kid playing with it…again that is just my opinion.
Next on the list is Goldie Blox – engineering toys for girls. I love these ads. I love the toys. I love what the developer of these toys is going for. They’re on my list of prospective toys for Christmas. I have 3 girls as well as 3 boys in this house and there are never enough fun engineering toys. I love the “more than just a princess” tag line.
However, and here it comes…there is nothing wrong with being a princess. My girls are all daddy’s princess. They’re all my princess (although I tend to call them “baby girl” more than princess”). In this house, they are a daughter to The One True King and that makes them a princess…just like me. They like pink and purple and blue and green and black and camouflage…and TIE DYE. My girls love their dolls…including their over-priced American Girl dolls. One of them saved up enough money to get one for her birthday last year. She chose a historical doll AND it looks like her. Does that mean she’s sold out her sisterhood? I seriously don’t think so.
So, my take on all of this? Well, since you asked…and you are reading my blog so you did indeed ask…
Girls are girls. Boys are boys. Kids are kids. Does that mean girls need engineering toys?? Ever heard of Legos? YES, they make pink legos and that’s not the same, but WHY can it only be a girl’s toy if it’s pink? My girls like to line up their Hero Factory characters with their brothers and have a good old-fashioned war. I have never once heard them say “wait! I need a skirt for my bad guy!” Do they like pink? Yup.
I think we sell our girls short saying they can only play with something from the pink aisle. I think we sell our girls short saying playing with dolls feeds some archaic gender stereo-type. I think we sell our girls short saying they can’t tell the difference. I mean really…kids can see through a stupid toy. Have you ever tried to get them to play with something and tell them just how cool it was when it was really lame? They toss it aside and move on. If they like dolls…give them dolls. If they want to build, give them stuff to build with. You can keep dolls from a girl who wants to mother a doll, she’s going to turn something else into a doll. She’ll baby and cradle a pillow. She’ll try to put diapers on the cat. I can also assure you that a girl who really wants to build is going to do it. I have one of those and today she was catapulting her doll house dolls across the room. Did you know that the babies go farther? You do now. She’s also the girl sneaking in her brothers’ Legos when they aren’t looking. (Before anyone flips out, they have their own Legos…and love them. Yup, they’re girlie Legos, but that’s what they asked for, so we got them.)
Truth be told, our girls (and our boys) are going to grow up and be faced with all the craziness of this world soon enough. If we focus on letting them find their own way more, instead of trying to lead them down the pink or blue or gender neutral aisle, I believe they’ll find their own way.