This week has been a total bust. I am still sick. I haven’t gotten ANYTHING done! For a fairly type A person like me, this really chaps my hide. Mid-week, after giving up on A) studying, B) blogging, C) cleaning, or D) bathing (no worries, Chance has been well taken care of throughout and luckily, work has been slow), after sitting for one too many hours watching children’s programming I finally pulled the huge pile of holiday catalogs to my side and started flipping through them.
I mean, if I don’t have the brain power/energy for anything else I might as well Christmas shop, right? (One more thing off my plate when I finally get to the huge research paper due for school. Argh)
So as I’m flipping through the ten million catalogs I noticed an oh-so-(sadly-)familiar pattern, and on behalf of chicks everywhere I just want to say, I’m offended. Apparently the toy industry feels little girls are consumed with toys centered around grooming themselves. And pink. Lots and lots of pink.
Now I don’t have a problem with pink in general. It’s not my favorite color in the world, and in particular I really don’t care for carnation pink (ala Barbie), but I’m not going to say I haven’t occasionally worn something pink. Or you know, had a fabulous accessory like deep rose pumps that looked so kicking offset by my mint green top. (What?) I understand that lots of little girls (and women) love the color.
But when I encounter a tsunami of pink merchandise as a sweeping symbol for all things female? Yeah, it kind of makes me throw up in my mouth a little.
It’s like when you go to your local sporting event and want to buy a new shirt for your team. You expect to find something kick-ass in teal and black with lots of teeth and all that’s available is a pink crop top with curly script.
I also am kind of offended (and always have been) that the color pink is just assumed to be universally loved by all women, that it inherently symbolizes our gender, and is automatically co-opted by any cause or jackass merchandiser who wants to get female participation or dollars. (And then I feel bad because I know pink is for breast cancer, and yes, I DO SUPPORT breast cancer research!)
But still. Me girl. Me like pink. Ugh. I mean technically, if you’re going to pick a color as a symbol of the physical female gender it’s, um, the wrong color pink. If you know what I’m saying.
And why is there no sweeping symbolic color for men and all things male?
Now, yes, I have a boy, so why am I worried about this? Because I shop for little girls. I hope to have a little girl one day. And frankly, I wasn’t quite into this crap when I was a kid. Yes, as a little girl I did like pink, but I wasn’t into grooming myself or grooming accessories (that came much later). I also really, really wanted to be Indiana Jones, and an adventurer-archaeologist in pink would just not blend into a desert dig or jungle at all.
As a kid, I wasn’t really drawn to a lot of the “typical” girl toys and I have to imagine there are still girls out there who aren’t into them. In fact, I know one little girl who’s interests fall along the same lines mine did. A lot of interest in science and nature, lots of leanings towards the alternative. For her last birthday I bought her goth clothes and she really loved them. It was easy to shop for her; I simply picked out stuff I would have loved to get at that age. And never got. I do remember getting my first Hello Kitty collectible something-or-other and having no idea what to do with it. Ditto with the first nail polish kit.
(See? Because you CAN be female, like shoes, and still not like pink or doing your nails. I’m just saying. I’ve also noticed that you pay a premium for “female empowerment” merchandise, but that’s a whole other WTF post.)
So anyway, out of the gajillion catalogs I did find a few that had more options for girl toys than just pink and grooming yourself, and I wanted to share these with you. I thought The Met catalog, Back To Basics Toys, and Flax Art all have nice general purpose toys.
How about all of you? Any nice shopping alternatives to the onslaught of stereotypical and clichéd toys out there? For boys and girls?
As for you men out there, I think it’s high time you all picked your color of inherent maleness. (But don’t pick black because then what would the disaffected youth and middle-aged women of America wear?) OK? Go!
– the weirdgirl