Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Should Toys Be Gender Neutral?

Recently a little girl from New Jersey went out to buy her little brother an Easy-Bake Oven. She was upset to find out that these toys only came in pink and purple colors with flowers. She felt the ovens were geared toward only girls and she began a petition to the Hasbro company to make the Easy-Bake Oven gender neutral.

Stores and advertising make it pretty obvious that toys are usually packaged based on gender. Wander the toy section of most stores and you will find one bright pink aisle and one dark blue aisle. The purpose of the Easy-Bake Oven petition was for Hasbro to make their product in gender neutral colors so both boys and girls can play with it.

Here are my thoughts on this subject. I don't think toys should only come in neutral colors. (Imagine if everything was in greens, browns and yellows?) In our house we try to teach our girls that colors are for everyone. Pink is not just for girls and blue is not just for boys. My husband even owned a pair of pink converse to drive the point home. We did not limit any type of toys or even clothes for our girls. If they wanted a toy car that's what we bought them. We bought them clothes from both the boy and girl section. It wasn't unusual to see my oldest daughter in camouflage shorts and a blue t-shirt  That was just what she liked to wear. My youngest has much more pink and tutu's in her wardrobe. That is just her style. In their playroom they have a drawer filled with My Little Pony's and another filled with Hot Wheels.

Of course the idea of things being gender specific creeps in our house thanks to television commercials and classmates, but we do our best to remind our daughters that "yes girls can play with Star Wars Legos and yes boys can play with an Easy-Bake Oven."

We want to hear your thoughts!
 What are your thoughts on gender based toys and marketing? 

14 comments:

  1. I would like to see more gender neutral marketing. I think it would be more comforting to kids to know that its ok to play with toys that are for 'girls' or for 'boys'. Ive always been the mom who was like my daughter will not be into princesses and wearing dresses, she will wear whatever she wants, probably because my mom dressed me in pink flowery dresses all the time when I was little lol...but of course she likes the princesses not so much the dresses but she likes the 'girly' stuff just like her older sister. Just recently she has been into Spiderman so for Christmas I bought her a Spiderman toy :)

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    1. Jackie I was the same way! My Mom always had my sisters and I in big dresses and bows in our hair. I hated it and said I would never dress my daughters like that. Now my youngest would live in big dresses and bows if we let her. She loves them. I had to learn that my kids will have an opinion on what they want to wear. As long as I respect that and let them be who they are then that's okay.

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  2. I love this topic! And I agree with Elissa. I'm not even sure how toy companies would go about marketing to children in general without bright colors.

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    1. Or infomercials. I swear if there is an crazy "as seen on TV" kind of commercial from some crazy toy, my kids will beg for it.

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    2. I can remember doing that too!! They are SUPER well-placed on Nickelodeon especially.

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    3. Don't get me started on infomercials. We didn't have a TV until Isaiah was about 4.5 years old. Then last year when he was five he asked Santa for two toys from two very catchy informercials. Well that was last year right before Xmas and "Santa" spent a ton. One of those toys ended up done and forgotten in about 24 hours (70 dollars later) AND I saw it on Amazon for so cheap (didn't think to check Amazon beforehand, 1st lesson learned). Also, big lots now has it on sale for pennies! DARN YOU INFORMERCIALS! This mom/santa has learned quite the lesson!

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    4. Yes Irene! My 2 year old is wants Stompeez! Ugh!

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    5. Buy them on AMAZON or after Xmas!!!!

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    6. Stompeez is #1 on Xmas list!

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    7. @Jackie! Really!! My kids don't ever ever wear shoes. So they are not getting the stompeez. The big #1 this year in our house was the Dream Lites Pillow Pets!

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  3. I think there is a big difference in "acceptability" of your daughters playing with cars or wearing "boy clothes" that there is when boys play with things that are "girl things". When girls like to wrestle and play soldiers they are called tomboys and mothers are proud their daughters aren't princesses. But if a boy wants to play with a bright pink toy or cook or play with dolls he is looked down upon by his peers (and some adults to be honest). Its very sad and i am happy that some toys like the easy bake are becoming neutral.

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    1. Anon, you are right. I like to think that if I had boys instead of girls I would still be the same way. But I guess I don't really know.

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    2. I am okay with my son playing with so called "girl" things, BUT not society is not. You would be suprised how many adults (family, friends) will make comments (that he can hear). I have had to talk with him about how his peers and society sees things as typically "girl" and i dont mind if he plays with them, but there are going to people who do care and who will make comments. if he can handle that, then it's fine, but if it's going to make him feel ostrasized because he likes to play make-beleive with barbies then he needs to decide when and where to do that.

      Think of it this way, if a girl was wearing basketball shorts and a baggy t-shirt, no one thinks twice. But if you were to see a boy in pink leggings or a tutu then everyone will notice right away. thats an extreme example, but thats the difference between girls doing "boy" things and boys doing "girl" things..

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    3. i have only boys and i let them play with girl toys if that's what they choose. how are they going to be open to acceptance if all they are told is they "should" play with certain toys? i have had family members try to make them feel ashamed that they want to play with a girls baby doll toy and in front of my children have made it clear that it is fine and there is nothing wrong if it means they are learning something from it. then before you know it, that same family member who was saying that, their sons were wanting to play with the same item. i stand up for the kids who want to try because they have not dealt with society yet, and i hope it builds confidence.

      i also let my kids choose what they want to wear and they do understand that girls wear dresses, and they think they are pretty, but they have never asked to wear one. i guess on the clothing spectrum it's a little different because thehy make jeans geared towards girls and are altogether neutral items, so i don't know how that would work for boys. but letting kids try is how they will grow and learn.

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