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There’s been a lot of talk lately about the gender inequality in toys that are currently on the market. parents want better toys for their daughters with less stereotyping, and they want toys for their sons that go beyond typical gender roles. I’m all for that, but it seems that the few attempts companies are making right now aren’t cutting it. Personally, I think there’s a better way.
Instead of making boy toys with female characters and colors or girl toys that are less feminine, I think that there should just be more gender neutral options. Seriously, make an aisle at every store that is neither male nor female oriented, and put all kinds of things in it that can be great for either gender. Toys can also have the gender-specificness removed or toned down so that they can go into the “any child” category.
I remember that as a kid I had my Barbies, but I also had several male dolls (which I used independently of the females) and many things that could go either way. I had Play-Doh sets, Linkin Logs, Construx, and Legos. Back then they weren’t all crappy, pre-fabricated, movie-oriented crap. They were just there and you could build what was on the package or anything else. Lego is the center of a lot of controversy right now, and I think going back to the truly do-anything blocks with an equal number of male and female figures in the pack would be the best move they could make.
I also had a microscope, and that was awesome. No gender definition on that one. Really, there are tons of toys and games that could be for either gender and don’t need to be separated into boys’ and girls’ categories. Even the legendary Easy Bake Oven should be in a gender-neutral color and in a non-gender area. Let’s face it, some of the best pastry chefs in the world are men after all, and straight ones at that.
Instead of trying to divide society by gender, just make more things gender neutral. Instead of forcing gender stereotypes onto children, make toys that are equally accessible to both. And for dolls, hell, you could sell them with basic clothing, then sell packs of outfits with both a male and female option for every career. Imagine how cool it would be to have a male hairdersser or a female firefighter, or pretend you’ve got a husband and wife doctor team? It would be much easier to make neutral or equal products than to deal with all the rest.
I don’t know why people don’t fight for the simplest solution. Just get rid of the male/female divisions and make more neutrality. Wouldn’t that be good? We never needed pink Legos or separate male action figures. We could make things more fair and set a standard for the future. I know some people will think I’m crazy, but it makes perfect sense to me.