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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » pink and blue boxes

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Author Topic: pink and blue boxes
Rizzo
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We sort of touched on this before, in the Pregnancy and Parenting forum, but...

What do you think of the way toys are marketed? It seems like 80% of the toys out there are aimed specifically at one sex or the other.

Why are toy ovens and vacuum cleaners aimed at girls? When boys move out, they have to cook and clean too (unless they live in squalor with their pet pizza boxes). Why are toy hammers and cars aimed at boys? Plenty of women drive, and most have to use a hammer at some point (oh dear, how will I hang this beautiful watercolour of bunnies and rainbows ;P)

It makes me cringe, actually. How can we educate future generations, when a majority of toys seem to be behind the times?


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Pixie69
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Ho-hum. Children gather 'round, because now it's time for a useless Pixie factoid. Back in da day (Wayyyyyy back in the day) the Indians (can I say that? Or is the new PC Native Americans? Well, you know what I mean) wanted to protect the male babies, because males were better yadda yadda ya. And blue was their color for protection, so the baby boys ended up surrounded in blue stuff, and the chicks had nothing. Later, for marketing, pink basically became the color associated with girls.

Okay, now onto the actual thread I think it's becase society as a whole, don't want little Lily playing with big trucks and stuff and they don't want little Jack playing with barbie. And if either of them did, and if they turned out to be GBLT, the parents would blame the toys and tell other parents not to let that happen. And since consumers are still buying the toys, and no one is really complaining, the manufacturers don't give a crap as long as they're making money.

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Rizzo
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Yes, many parents seem reluctant to let their little boys play with dolls (moreso than girls playing with trucks, I think). But what is their reluctance to choose "gender neutral" toys? Is it the mere lack of selection, or is it something more?

I agree with you that the toy manufacturers don't care, as long as they make money. Maybe it's time for some letter writing and boycotting.

Oh, btw, thanks for the interesting tidbit about blue and pink. Is that true? I've always wondered why these colours are supposed to be masculine or feminine...


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BruinDan
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I think the toy companies just aim their products at the gender group that they feel would be more likely to buy their product. Those assumptions are probably based on past rates of purchases by gender.

As for my family, my mom never let us play with toy soldiers (even though I always wanted them), and would have let us play with toy ovens if we felt like it. But my brothers and I just never wanted them. I remember looking at toy ovens in a toy store, but after a minute of staring at that I went back to the model airplane section instead.

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Aria51
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There's a great lack of gender-neutral toys out there. Baby toys are baby toys; bright, plastic, safe, noisy things. But once you get into the toys for ages 3 and up, that's when the divide occurs.

That doesn't mean that parents have to buy a truck just because they have a boy, or a doll just because they have a girl. I, personally, allow my son to choose between 2 toys of the same price. And I'll continue to do so. And in my opinion, it would be great if other parents did the same.

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Bobolink
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I only have a son but my sister has a boy and a girl (11 and 9 years old respectively). She tried to raise them gender neutral but my nephew liked trucks and my niece liked dolls. She wanted to box both their ears.

Interestingly, as they got older that has started to change; he now has a sewing machine (which he weilds very well) and she's into science projects.

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bgchick
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I think that what kind of toy a kid chooses to play with has a lot to do with the way commercials are made. you don't see a girl playing with a truck. so, when a little girl sees other girls on TV playing with dolls, i guess it just thinks that girls are supposed to play with dolls, and boys are supposed to play with other kind of toys. I've noticed this with my little cousins. maybe it's just them, but I think that what you see on TV has a lot to do with what you do in your everyday life. if someone disagrees, feel free to tell me
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Heather
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My mother's friend tried to give me typical girl toys at an early age. It didn't go well.

I used the girl magazines to wallpaper a box and make aa car for myself, the Barbie dolls had their limbs torn off to make sculptures, andwhen I'd get other miscellaneous (read: boring) girl stuff, I'd be a good little entrepreneur and have a yard sale with it in the front of our apartment building.

That said, I like pink. As a color, it makes me happy. But my male partner feels the same way.

In disucssing these issues with parents when I used to teach, a lot of them found the best way to combat this stuff was simply to let their children shop for themselves, and also to let them know they could return things given to them.

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Heather Corinna
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Gaffer
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Actually, BGChick, I agree, a lot. From an early age it seems that boys learn they aren't supposed to play games that girls play from both other boys and the media (yes, I know, blame it on the media or el nino). Girls have it slightly better now because of all the gender equality stuff going on in the world of politics even as we speak, which seems to be affecting mainly those of the female gender. It's sort of difficult for me to put into words how I feel on this subject, and I fear this attempt was a feeble regurgitation of previous opinions. Oh well.
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Heather
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...that given, I should add something else.

For this, and numerous other reasons, rearing your children away from the glass tit is a Good Idea.

I know I'm thankful I wasn't exposed to it save the occasional episode of Sesame Street at a friends house (in it's first few years of existence, no less!).

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Heather Corinna
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My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
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Rizzo
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The glass tit, that is hilarious! But I love Sesame Street...

Anyway, as far as uh, the TV goes, I'm sure that has something to do with it. But even if your child doesn't watch TV, the toy packaging itself is another powerful marketing tool. It doesn't take long for a girl to realize she's supposed to be like the girls on the pink box, or for a boy to realize he's supposed to be like the boys on the black and blue box. So while some children might seem to choose the "proper" toy for their gender of their own accord, I still think the adults are to blame.


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Beppie
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While I mostly agree, Heather, I do have to say that Sesame Street isn't bad insofar as kid's shows go. I honestly think that watching that when I was 2-4 helped me learn to read. But after I was 7 years old, we never got television (we lived too far away to get reception), and I think I'm better off for it.

Now, as for toys and gender- I think my parents tried not to give us toys that were too strongly gendered, although in the end, my sister and I had all the dolls, while my brother had only stuffed toys. Interestingly, both she and I thought it was unfair that he didn't have a cabbage patch doll, while we had two each. However, he always played dolls with us. My mother's favourite present for us was always lego too, which is gender-neutral. I'd strongly recommend buying lego to all parents out there.


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Heather
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Hey, I'm all for Sesame Street, plus, PBS doesn't have commercials.

When told I could name my younger sister, in fact, the first name I chose was Snuffleupagus. Sadly, my mother wouldn't go for that one.

Maybe Rizzo, you could make your kids glasses out of cellophane with a yellow color that simply made the boxes orange and green?

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Heather Corinna
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My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


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Rizzo
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Geez Miz Scarlet, stop making me laugh! I'm supposed to be serious I can just see me in 15 years, with my kid going shopping with 3-D glasses on...
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Heather
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Hey babe, if *I* had super-duper-going-shopping glasses as a kid, I would have been stoked to go shopping.
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BruinDan
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Legos were another favorite toy that my mother bought for all of us when we were young, and that applied to both my brothers and my sisters.

As for seeing "boys on the box," my favorite toys as a youngster were Transformers and toy planes. Those boxes never had boys on them, yet I somehow felt a fascination with them. I vividly remember looking at Ken dolls in the store and not feeling any interest in them, even when he had a firefighter's outfit on.

Since my Dad was a television engineer, he did not allow us to watch television when he got home (he always said he saw FAR too much TV at work!), so I wasn't exposed to very many commercial advertisements for toys. So I can't figure out why I was attracted to the toys that I was. But I don't think adults are really to blame.

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Gumdrop Girl
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i was always into crafts and LEGOS. oh man, I love the Legos. I'm wearing my red Lego shirt right now. Last thing i built was a 6 bedroom, one story house. fully furnished, with tenants. it's wrapped up in plastic 'cause i don't play much anymore.

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Lin
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Hmm. Wihle I grew up with Barbie dolls, I never liked her. I used to cut her hair and like Heather, tear off her limbs for some reason or the other. I was just into her accessories. I mean, that jauzzi is too funky. I used to wish I could put my entire body into that tiny pink jacuzzi.

My brother on the other hand grew up with disgusting toys like the Power Rangers and I have to say my dad is very veyr traditional. The kind who would, when my brother wanted to buy a doll, go "You are not a girl you know?"

My favourite childhood toy has to be Play Dough. I remember making burgers out of it and trying to eat it. It tastes very very salty, in case you were wonderng.

But I think Aria's method of buying toys is fab and something I would definitely employ when I have my own child.


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rambler
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Okay, I have always been a big tomboy. I don't think that my mom really surrounded me by female-specific toys, but I did occassionally ask for them.

When I was 3 years old or so, I lived nearby a male step-cousin. I'm the oldest, so it was basically me, him, my stepdad, my mom, and his parents around all the time. I naturally played with him. I played with Transformers and Hotwheels. In exchange, I got him to play with Rainbow Bright dolls with me. I also watched She-Ra, but I liked He-Man too... I also watched the WWF when I got a little older (stop laughing) because I wanted to fit in with the little kidergarten boys and I did okay. My best friend was a girl, but I spent a lot of time hanging out with those boys too, although I called it "dating" them... I figured that was what I was doing.

Anyway, I basically had the best of both worlds. I never played with Barbie, and when I was playing with Rainbow Bright, I mostly ignored all the female characters anyway. I mostly liked the little horse and the boys...

I did not mind pink toys, and if I got little dolls I might play with them for a little while. Not very long.

As far as TV goes--I think it does play a part. When I was younger, we had a rule that we were only allowed to watch PBS and then it became "PBS during the week" when we had homework. I really appreciate that rule. I hate TV now, for the most part, although I really like movies.

This rule has NOT been applied to my younger brother... although he's turning out okay, too. He prefers books to TV a lot of the time now.

Sadly...I actually have noticed commercials on PBS in recent months... I swear I saw a Chips-Ahoy commercial and I wanted to go scream at some people down at the local affiliate station...
Grrr...

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rambler
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Rizzo
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Oh yeah, they have those "Sesame Street is brought to you by Juicy Juice" sort of commercials on PBS. :/ It's still an improvement, I think.

I agree with you about lego, playdoh, etc. I like anything that has lots of play value (i.e., you can play with it in so many ways you don't get tired of it). Wooden blocks, cars, and Playmobil were some of my favorites.


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Laughs_Wisely
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I was a huge tomboy growing up. I also had craploads of dolls that people kept giving me and I kept kicking around the basement. I just could not understand my 'girly' best friend, who would get mad at me for trying to play with the Barbie pool parties she had set up. My Barbies, of course, were much cooler. They could fly.

But really, I wasn't too concerned with toys. I had a much better time with books, and with falling out of trees/off of bikes, etc.

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John Doe
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I think the reason that there are different toys for boys from toys for girls is that boys ARE different from girls, and that much of the differnce is biological not just cultural. Boys have different body chemicals, hormones, and even a different brain structure than girls do. To a certian extent, boys are hard wired to behave like boys and girls are hard wired to behave like girls. Now there are plenty of gender nutral toys out there, legos, crayons, play dough, most art type stuff. If a boy or girl likes to play with that stuff, great. But forcing boys to play with girl type toys, or girls to play with boy type toys, for the sake of political correctness, is a mistake. Implicity the toy companies have recognized this, and found that it is more profitable for them to market a toy towards the child who is likely to enjoy playing with it.
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Heather
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I have to poke my head in. As far as the most current genetic research has shown, the biological differences between genders may be LESS than 5%, and many of those differences do not appear in early childhood, but during and after puberty. Other studies show the differences to be far greater, and show effects from those differences as early as four months after birth.

I think we should be pretty cautious when discussing hard-wiring that may be social, cultural and even evolutionary, not necessarily biolgical. In other words, if serious geneticists don't have a definite answer on how much bioiogical difference there is between young boys and girls, I'm not sure any of us are qualified to be too solid in our ideas about it.

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Heather Corinna
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My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 07-05-2001).]


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John Doe
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True, although it is equally wrong to lay it all to culture. this is the old nature vs. nurture debate. My point in this, and in my relpy to the "at war" thread was to point out that both play a role. (there I presented evidence that the diffeneces would be less than 3%, although still significant) Much of the prior discussion seemed based on the premus that the differences beween boys and girls were 100% due to cultural conditioning.
Just one minor point, evloutionary would equal biological, since we evolve through our genes, which are deffinition part of biology. We are still essentially the same animals that we were 10,000 years ago, which in evolutionary time frame is a blink of the eye. Man is adapted for hunting, woman is adapted for gathering. Neither does much of this any more (well leaving aside Michigan durring deer season). But society has in some ways created modern analogs to them.

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Milke
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Rizzo, I loved Playmobil toys. Except for the black figures. Why couldn't they have made them look like the other ones, rather than making them look like the other ones -- in vaudeville makeup?

I remember being afraid of Barbie -- she sort of looked like an evil prostitute to me. Most of my toys were stuff you'd find around the house -- kitchen stuff and tools -- and small dolls, so I guess she was just out of place. I liked making cities, and developing social structures, and played with my dollhouses until I was at least fourteen. Honestly, I still really like miniatures -- I guess I just like being able to make things the way I want them.


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