When most of us were kids, toys were just toys. Toys ‘R’ Us didn’t sell hot pink Lego sets, and things intended for girls weren’t automatically covered in glitter and flowers. Now, if you’ve got a kid in your life, you know everything from soccer balls to Play-Doh comes heavily gendered. Even things like toy cars that should be basically unisex have a pink or blue option now, and it’s exactly that kind of sexism that landed one toy-maker in hot water this week.
A pissed off mom recently called Fisher-Price out on Facebook for gender stereotyping.
Gina Zuk Gruber fired up her keyboard earlier this week and pounded out an angry screed about some pink and purple Little People cars that exemplify everything wrong with kids’ toys right now. The cars come with female dolls who are basically dressed like soccer moms and are housed in packaging that says, “Time for yoga and a smoothie!”
Are you freaking kidding me right now?
The good news: Fisher-Price actually responded to the mom’s now-viral complaint.
In a statement to Redbook, the manufacturer said they’re making plans to release a female firefighter, dentist, mail carrier, and farmer in 2017. They also plan to make their colors more gender-neutral, as well as change the language on their packaging to reflect that not all women are smoothie-swigging yoga addicts. These are baby steps, of course, but *golf claps* to Fisher-Price for at least doing something.
Fact is, this sexist toy problem is pretty pervasive.
I actually have two kids—a boy and a girl—and here’s the thing: Lego sets for girls feature juice bars and shopping malls, while the ones aiming at boys are all airplanes and cars. They sell princess-themed variations of basically every board game you know and love, because apparently girls can’t play Chutes And Ladders unless it sparkles. Hell, even having a female lead character wasn’t enough to convince toy-makers to put Rey in their Star Wars: The Force Awakens merch.
Nothing changes unless we speak up, so kudos to this fierce lady for calling out bullshit when she saw it.