Thursday, December 26, 2013

Another One on Sexist Toys

Is Boxing Day too early for me to complain about my daughter’s Christmas gift?  My 4-year old asked Santa to bring her Baby Alive this year.  I knew it would be an annoying toy, what with the peeing, pooping and obnoxious phrases like “Oops, I made a stinky!” (I mean, really.  Seriously?), but my beef with this doll goes much deeper than a simple irritation.

Let me just preface this by saying I’m not some kind of nut that doesn’t let her kids play with whatever toys they want or that forces them to play with opposite gendered toys just to make a point.  A couple weeks ago, my best friend sent me this message: 
As I explained in my reply, I don’t freak out when someone buys my daughter a princess toy or my son an Avengers book.  I do the same thing.  It’s what they’re into and I buy them things that I know they would like.  My problem is with “girls only” and “boys only” toys, and when toy companies and parents teach kids that they’re too good for certain toys, (even more loathsome are the parents that suggest their kids are too good for certain colours).  It’s offensive and is not a fair message to be using while we raise the next generation.
Okay, now back to Baby Alive…

You have the option to have her speak in either English or French, which is great.  What you don’t have is the option to have her talk to her mommy or daddy.  Nope, the only option there is mommy because really, only little girls will want to play with a baby doll, right?  Ugh.
My son has played with Baby Alive since she was unwrapped yesterday morning just as much as he has played with his new Ninja Turtles.  Lucky for us, the gift was given to his sister so she’s the mommy and he is taking his role of Baby Alive’s uncle very seriously.  We don’t need to explain to him why she only calls out for mommy, but what if that was the gift he had asked Santa for?  Why is Hasbro assuming that little boys are not playing with this product?  Is the message that girls have the natural role of nurturer while boys do not?  It’s ridiculous and it grates on my nerves every time the silly doll starts to speak.  We’re a long way from the 1950’s.  The dads of today are raising their kids just as much as the moms and, while our kids are hopefully learning by example, they should also be encouraged to role-play this as well.  I'm really hoping Baby Alive makes her way to the back of the closet soon.
End rant.

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