Equality & Diversity
Oh, I've not heard of them, but they look a bit like one my sister had. They aren't the same - my sister's was one that you could make 'talk' using different discs and it had hair which got SOOOO tangled. I spent hours brushing it only for my sister to mess it up within minutes. It might be why I shaved the hair off my only doll!
I hated dolls as a kid. They disturbed me. I was bought a doll with pram, so I threw the doll out and put the cat in the pram instead.
SASHA DOLLS!! That's them! Looking at pictures of them now they are ever so slightly freaky.
Sasha dolls, gosh I remember them. They cost about £30 in the mid 1970s, which seemed utterly unobtainable - and indeed in today's money (thank you internet) between £200-300!!!
I loved looking at them - there was one toy shop that sold them, but I never quite wanted them - they were a bit odd. I got my Pelham's puppets there, for a fiver or so, which was expensive for a toy (I still have them. In their boxes).
I didn't like dolls either. I had soft toys - I made replicas of the Hickstead and Olympia showjump courses out of Spilikins and plasticine, and made my crocheted horse with the other toys as riders compete to win.
I was an odd child. #pointlessnostalgia
I loved my dolls. I was lucky growing up with a relaxed and liberal mother - I had dolls, I had toy cars, I had teddies, I climbed trees, I dressed up, I made stuff out of junk, I rode my bike, I made mud pies and spent most of my time outside. I would wear skirts and wellies and go yomping off into the wilderness for the day. I was not a tomboy, nor very girly. I was just me!
That sounds wonderful, Headdesk! I too had a pretty free childhood - I remember dressing up (mostly playing brides using old net curtains!) and making copious mud pies. I don't remember ever being limited for being a girl or being made to conform to a stereotype - when we went to Toys R Us my sister would go to the dolls and I would often go to the art supplies (not something I've kept up, unfortunately).
Luehea, I love the idea of making showjump courses! My next-door neighbour had a large garden and would let my sister and I, and our neighbour who was the same age as us, play there. We would make jumps out of stuff and pretend we were horses. There was a large bracken that was on the edge of a grass terrace (the garden sloped quite a lot, as did all of them around us) that was a particularly tricky jump, especially when it was in full leaf!
Hey, what about 3D-printed warrior gear for Barbie?
Very quickly as am about to dash off to work - the other day I was looking at newspaper articles with my class. I wanted to show them some examples and found an online article aimed at (older) children about gendered toys. We ended up not reading the article as it was too complex, but the picture was brilliant - showed a pile of pink dolls on one side and a pile of colourful toy cars on the other. I pointed to the pink side and said "Who is that for?" The majority chorused "Girls". So I said "Why?" and although it was by necessity only a short discussion as we did have to go on to look at the features of newspaper articles, it was very interesting that when you challenged the children on WHY something is a boy's or girl's toy, they really start to think and realise there is no reason.
I expect a few parents were surprised when they went home that day!
When I gave a talk to a school last year, I pointed out the genderedness of toys, and the kids were all really shocked. Some of the girls looked positively outraged (though some of the boys thought it was great. Grr). I don't think anyone had pointed out to them that they were being manipulated and they found it quite disturbing.
Would love to know if that sank in long-term!
One thing that someone on Twitter pointed out was how rarely you see boys and girls playing together in toy marketing materials. He was specifically referencing Lego, but I think it holds true for a lot of toy ads. In some ways, that worries me more than the stereotyping! Though I will confess this particular bit of stereotyping really made the red mist descend:
Suw, I write reviews for Amazon, if you remember. Sometimes I pick toys to review, and almost always include some comment on gender. These reviews are consistently poorly rated by shoppers. It seems my Guardian reader's hat is unpopular! It's not as though I come across as fanatically feminist, so even mild comment eg on Barbie dolls is unwelcome!
All the toys go to Oxfam, mint in box, btw so they do help to make the world a better place by raising funds for my preferred charity.
I think a lot of people just don't want to have to think about it, because if they admit to themselves that gendered toys may be doing children a disservice, that might mean that they, by buying gendered toys, may have done their own children a disservice, and that's too much to confront. Plus just basic sexism, obvs.
I don't know if there's evidence to back this up, but it certainly seems a worse situation than when I was a child. I am lucky with my class that one of the enlightened boys is very much an alpha male, and I am REALLY hoping he maintains his views as he gets older, as he is a great influence on others (if only he could curb the silly behaviour which is also an influence on others, lol!!)
I think pinkification is definitely worse. I don't remember the girls shoes aisle being predominantly pink as a kid, which they seem to be now. I had fabuland lego, which is animal and character-based, but I don't remember it being marketed in a pink girly way.
I suspect it's a lot worse now than it was 30 or 40 years ago. It's the same with greetings cards - I was trying to find a non-pink card for my niece, and it was almost impossible. It's all pink and all blue. I think clothing's gone the same way, much more gendered colour-wise than it used to be. I had literally no pink clothes when I was a child, partly because I made my hatred of pink clear, but mostly because pink just wasn't that common. It was easy to get other colours. Now, not so much.
I feel so sorry for kids growing up now, they're being so limited in what they can wear, what they can play with, just becomes some marketing assholes lack imagination and think they can sell more 'product' if it's gendered. Girls these days I think have a lot more to contend with than we ever did when it comes to gender stereotypes and gender boundaries.
I wonder how it has happened. I don't think sexism is worse now - Mum certainly had way more to contend with than I do - including being the first woman in her school to wear trousers to work (the headmaster tried to stop her. He failed.) which would be an unimaginable issue where I work. But gender typing seems to have got more prevalent in things aimed at children even while the opportunities available have opened up.
It's the lack of choice I object to - I like pink, and pink should be available, but it shouldn't be the dominant colour, any more than say, green should. It seems to have seeped into women's sports gear as well (unless you are buying fancy proper spec stuff).
Guardian article today. The tide is slowly turning.
Oh and I got my first positive rating for a (mildly) feminist review of a Barbie doll on Amazon! Yay.
I wasn't quite sure where the best place for this poem would be, ended up plumping for here:
FOR MY DAUGHTER
By Sarah McMane
“Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.” – Clementine Paddleford
Never play the princess when you can
be the queen:
rule the kingdom, swing a scepter,
wear a crown of gold.
Don’t dance in glass slippers,
crystal carving up your toes --
be a barefoot Amazon instead,
for those shoes will surely shatter on your feet.
Never wear only pink
when you can strut in crimson red,
sweat in heather grey, and
shimmer in sky blue,
claim the golden sun upon your hair.
Colors are for everyone,
boys and girls, men and women --
be a verdant garden, the landscape of Versailles,
not a pale primrose blindly pushed aside.
Chase green dragons and one-eyed zombies,
fierce and fiery toothy monsters,
not merely lazy butterflies,
sweet and slow on summer days.
For you can tame the most brutish beasts
with your wily wits and charm,
and lizard scales feel just as smooth
as gossamer insect wings.
Tramp muddy through the house in
a purple tutu and cowboy boots.
Have a tea party in your overalls.
Build a fort of birch branches,
a zoo of Legos, a rocketship of
Queen Anne chairs and coverlets,
first stop on the moon.
Dream of dinosaurs and baby dolls,
bold brontosaurus and bookish Belle,
not Barbie on the runway or
Disney damsels in distress --
you are much too strong to play
the simpering waif.
Don a baseball cap, dance with Daddy,
paint your toenails, climb a cottonwood.
Learn to speak with both your mind and heart.
For the ground beneath will hold you, dear --
know that you are free.
And never grow a wishbone, daughter,
where your backbone ought to be.
Not gender so much, but dolls with disabilities. Quite cute, aren't they? It was following a campaign from parents - Toys Like Me.
Oh, that is cool! But then, MakieLab really are awesome.