Talking about gender targeting in children’s toys again, I was shocked to discover, last night at my niece’s party, that little girls not only receive total-pink presents gift-wrapped in Disney Princesses, but they also receive branded floor mops coming with their branded buckets.
These are the objects a 3-year-old girl was operating last night in the middle of the room. I am well aware that children love cleaning products because they allow them to imitate adults, but why do only girls get them as presents?
Please note that the set also includes a carpet beater.
To be honest I find colour-codes interesting and basically harmless, as long as they don’t become obsessive or compulsory, and I’m not completely against gender targeted toys, provided that children can choose and are not automatically denied a toy for the ridiculous reason that it’s targeted for another gender. For example I find the ubiquity of Disney Princesses even fun, in particular the toilet trainer my niece owns and proudly uses.
The problem is that colour-coding nowadays is obsessive and compulsory, to the point of nonsense. I was at the mini-market last week and a boy pointed to Himalayan salt and asked his mother “why is this salt pink”? And the shop assistant replied, in a mocking tone, “because it’s for girls”. The boy clearly understood the joke, while his mother looked puzzled.
So I accept pink dolls are for girls. But I remember very well I used to like toy cars as well, and always wanted to bring one with me during car trips (the car within the car), and my most beloved possession at kindergarten was an action figure representing Grendizer. Yet one day Grendizer was stolen from me at the kindergarten by a boy, and instead of beating him myself I sent another boy to beat him and retrieve my Grendizer. I’m not proud of it.
In my opinion the big problem starts when a toy is considered acceptable for a girl, but taboo for a boy. Boys are presented trucks instead of dolls because the general idea is that they prefer building/destroying things over taking care of things. This is questionable, but I still find it acceptable. But why exactly do girls receive floor mop and bucket (and carpet beater) as a present while boys don’t? Ideas anyone?
Anyway, I gave my niece a green plush crocodile, she gave it a kiss on the nose, and then put it to sleep in her pink toy pram where her pink doll was already sleeping.