I was out Christmas shopping for my lovely little Sailor Moon the other day, when I saw something that kind of surpised me. I haven’t spent time in the little girls toy section for years, I’ve mostly been buying toys for my nephew, so I was excited to see all the new and exciting toys that have come out since my days of pogs and ninja turtles.
There were still tons of dolls, but I was kind of surprised and happy to see that the Barbie doll had gotten a makeover in recent years. They are bigger now, still pretty skinny but they have more curves now, their hips are much more realistic, and their heads are bigger and more life-like. There were also a lot more “techie” toys especially some great learning toys that might be good for her when she is a bit older.
I was kind of surprised to see this however:
Still, in this day and age where women can be anything they want to be, they are selling little vacuums, broom sets and ironing boards for little girls toys. I don’t think there is anything wrong with “playing house” I did that a lot when I was younger, but something about the way these toys were bright pink and covered in Minnie Mouse and obviously geared towards little girls shocked me a little bit.
It would be one thing if it was like a house-section and there were more gender neutral versions or ones with more masculine design and decoration, but they weren’t selling anything like this in the boys section, I checked.
The argument could absolutely be made that little girls gravitate more towards these kinds of toys because they are born nurturers, and they like to take care of things, and keep things neat and clean, but that brings us back to the Nature vs. Nurture debate.
First of all, all little girls are not like that, many of them would rather be out playing baseball or soccer or doing science experiments than playing with dolls, just as there are little boys who would rather bake cookies and read than be outside playing in the mud.
And also, you have to wonder again if even the little girls that do like to play with dolls, and the little boys that do idolize cowboys and fast cars do so because they really like them, or if that is how we socialize them and teach them about gender in our society.
Maybe if little girls were given the opportunity to do more of the traditionally masculine activities, instead of being given a baby doll to take care of from the moment they are old enough to open their eyes, they might gravitate towards different activities.
It also reminded me of this video I saw a few weeks ago: