It’s that time of year, I guess.
It’s that time of year when parents and kids are bombarded by toy catalogs and advertisements for all the hot toys of 2014. It’s the time of year where the disparity between boy toys and girl toys becomes glaringly apparent.
I saw an article yesterday on Gizmodo about a Barbie book called “I can be…A Computer Engineer.” It sounded promising (except for the fact that the article was called “Barbie F*cks It Up Again;” that was a red flag). In it, Barbie talks about how she’s *just* the designer, that she’ll need “Steven’s and Brian’s” help to turn it into a real game. There’s more and it’s all fucking awful.
More often than not, though, the fuck-up is a bit more subtle.
We received a Duplo catalog in the mail yesterday. Duplo. That same LEGO subgroup that was featured at the end of The LEGO Movie, when the kid’s sister arrives on the scene with her terrifying Duplo aliens. The kid’s sister. A girl. Girls play with Duplo. This is an important fact.
Imagine my surprise that there are only two girls — two girls — in the whole catalog. One is building a pretty pink dollhouse (which admittedly is pretty cool and most kids — boys included, Duplo — would want to play with it) and one is a baby playing with the starter set. My daughter got the message — these baby Duplo sets are for everyone, but the pink ones are for girls only — and girls can only play with the pink ones.
We were flipping through the book and Cookies said she wanted to get to the “girl” page. I told her, “They’re all girl ones. Girls can play with the non-princess castle and the police set and the farm and the Batman shit.” Which, of course they can. Why can’t a girl play with a fucking farm? It’s a fucking farm. But Duplo wasn’t helping my case. Because, according to the visuals of the catalog, only boys play with the non-pink toys. Give me a fucking assist here, Duplo.
Also, every section has a tagline — “Play and Discover, [Boys]” and “Build Stories, [Boys]” and “Make Adventures, [Boys].”
“Create and Share, [Girls]”
It’s just reinforcing the “Girls should be nice and sweet and sharing and caring” idea. All the “boy” stuff be like, “Play, discover, build, and make.” The girls, however, should “create” something and then “share” it.
Which is the same message as the scene I mentioned in the Barbie book! Create this thing, ladies, but pass your idea on to the dudes in order to get the real work done. Coincidence or conspiracy?
All of this ranting could’ve been avoided if only Duplo had included a few extra girls in this catalog on a few extra pages. It’s that fucking simple, really.
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