Monday, July 19, 2010


Rage Against the Minivan had a really interesting post about Barbies and race and what Americans value and a podcast about what happened when FAO Schwartz ran out of white baby dolls and mothers had to choose between Asian, Latino, and African American baby dolls.

It reminds me a little of my gender studies class. I remember discussing and thinking about children's toys and the coded messages parents send with every purchase. Not just messages about primarily liking and befriending those who look exactly like you but also messages about what girls should be good at and what boys should good at. Debilitating messages and, okay, let's pretend like Bratz dolls don't even exist because they really just gross me out. And then depress me.

This is not to say that boys and girls are exactly the same or that parents should force them to play with toys they hate, but some choices in toys seem to limit kids more than helping them grow. I'm also not saying that every toy should be an educational toy, that they shouldn't just have fun sometimes, but it seems a little dangerous to be totally mindless of the early lessons kids learn from these kind of things. And what's so wrong with books and blocks and the backyard? But this is just an observer, commenting on something she hasn't experienced so take that for what it's worth, but it makes me sad.

1 comment:

Caroline | surprised by joy said...

My friends and I were JUST talking this weekend about how incredibly creepy we find most dolls nowadays, especially Bratz.

The girl I mentor is 10 years old and once, at a toy store, she saw Barbie wearing a rather low-cut dress. She was APPALLED and kept saying, "That is not appropriate for children!" She hid the scantily-clad Barbie behind all the others and checked again before we left to make sure it was still hidden.

I had to stuff my fist in my mouth to keep from laughing out loud. I high-fived her and told her that she was awesome.

Anyway, moral of story: my children will also be the nerds with wooden blocks, bikes and backyards. Hurray! :)