Memo to GoldieBlox: Let Toys Be Toys for Girls and BoysBuzz Bishop
They’ve taken down their Girls parody video and have replaced the soundtrack with an instrumental track that evokes The Beastie Boys classic, but doesn’t rip it off.
While everyone was fighting over who was copy right and who was copy wrong, they missed a bigger issue: GoldieBlox’s entire marketing campaign doesn’t break down stereotypes, it perpetuates them.
My issue with GoldieBlox starts with the CEO and the reason she started her company.
… a friend talked about how she grew up playing with her older brothers’ construction toys, and thought there should be similar toys for girls.
“I felt like I got hit by a ton of bricks,” Sterling says, instantly realizing it was what she wanted to do next. She and the friend started working on the idea together. “It’s hard, these stories pop up a lot in entrepreneurship,” says Sterling. “We wanted to work on it together, we kept putting a date on our calendar, but the date came and I quit my job and she didn’t. After several months, I realized I could do it.” So she went it alone. Her friend does not work with the company.
So instead of taking toys that would be marketed at boys and girls, she went and made pink tinker toys. She continues the gender bias. Instead of creating a toy and using her marketing to show girls and boys as equal, she says that girl engineers still need tea sets, feather boas, and pastel engineering kits.
LEGO went and made pink and purple bricks and rebranded it as LEGO Friends. They didn’t need to, and then a princess-obsessed generation of parents bought it hook line and sinker and the profits rose.
My son, however, didn’t care. LEGO is LEGO is LEGO. That’s him at the left playing with *gasp* pink LEGO.
Last year, the Easy Bake Oven announced they were swinging the pendulum the over way, by doing away with the pinky models and making one that was more neutral. I argue you already have a gender neutral oven – in your kitchen.
Toys R Us stores has launched a campaign called Let Toys Be Toys, and are starting to blend the toys. Building sets in one section. Dolls/action figures side by side in another. Gender labelling will be removed and they will just let toys be toys.
I don’t care your race, gender, or color. People are people. Let’s encourage everyone to chase every opportunity. Yes, girls can be engineers, and construction workers. Yes, boys can be hairdressers and teachers.
Let toys be toys and let us not decide which are girls and which are for boys.
Here’s a handy guide in case you still don’t get it:
Images via paranoid_shiksa_feminista and DadCAMP