Tag » toys
  As children, many of us turn to our toys to navigate our developing identities. Sometimes, our dolls serve as surrogates; we parent them the way we see our children parenting us, and we identify with them. Photography operates similarly: as teens, we might dog-ear or collect magazine images that appeal to our expanding sense of self. Since so many dolls and photographs in mainstream fashion magazines present a grossly limited definition of femininity, it can be damaging to use them as a means of self-definition. Read More
  Pink is for girls, and blue is for boys. Girls want to be pretty; boys want to be smart. We’ve heard this nonsense before, yes? Well, it seems like companies are finally catching on: 1950s gender norms and prejudicial limitations should stay in the past. The present is about empowering children to dream and play however they wish! That’s why Goldie Blox is basically the best ever. A biting response to all the toys that teach us that brushing our hair is the only fun activity we can partake in, this company’s toys are designed for girls who want to be engineers. Read More
It is no exaggeration to say that I am obsessed with Hello Kitty. My bedroom is saturated with stuffed animals and wall decals. The first thing I see every morning is an image of Hello Kitty on an airplane adventure, the words “It’s a wonderful day... Hello Kitty” flying alongside her.    But not all of Kitty’s days have been wonderful; like the rest of us, she has faced her fair share of criticism. The Japanese Kawaii aesthetic from which she is modeled is often seen as oppressive. Read More
There are few things I love more than household items that have the capacity to arouse confusion and discomfort in unsuspecting guests (taxidermy animals and memorial pet portraits, anyone?). Which is why the bizarre intergalactic creatures of MadKnits bring me immense joy. Born from the creative mind and talented hand of Kaitlin Juarez, these fabric monsters hail from Providence, RI. They are hand-stitched, one-of-a-kind, and expertly detailed. Read More
    LEGO has produced many scientist figurines in the past, but alas, they are most often stereotypical stock figures: they have unkept hair, broken glasses, and look completely crazed. They are also mostly male, and while there have been lady LEGO scientists, they seem to be scientists in name only, never wearing a snazzy professional outfit or having a special area of expertise.    On this historic day, the toy company has finally given the kids (and adults!) what they want: a super smart female scientist. Read More
It’s like my entire feminist life has led up to this one, darling moment. In 2012, Stanford University student Debra Sterling founded GoldieBlox, Inc.—a startup with one awesome mission. As an engineer, Sterling wanted to give girls a toy that would stir up their interest in story-oriented building, a luxury boys are given with Legos. In a world where girls start losing interest in science as young as age 8, Sterling’s big idea seemed to be the perfect solution. Read More
  Who IS that girl?  We know all about how kids’ toys are divided by gender in really icky ways. Why can’t a boy use an Easy Bake Oven? Why aren’t girls playing with those trucks in the commercials? And the issue goes far beyond surface advertising – “boy products” often encourage building, activity, and adventure, while “girl products” usually emphasize appearance and foster skills like nurturing and cooking. These are all great qualities, but dividing them by gender is bad news for any kid. Read More
When the American Girl catalog would enter my household, I’d page through the overpriced accessories with glee.  I had Kirsten, because I was vaguely blonde-ish, and she was my very best friend. We slept in the same bed every night, we joined my swim club’s American Girl Club and dressed in the same clothes (yup, I was the unfortunate child who was a Swedish pioneer for Halloween). Eventually she grew up and had to get her own miniature bed, which at the moment is being covered by several articles of clothes. Read More
I've heard it said that "ask and you shall receive", but I guess in this case it's more like petition and you shall get heard. After starting a petition asking Hasbro to make their Easy-Bake Oven a more gender-neutral toy, McKenna Pope got her wish and more. If you haven’t heard of McKenna Pope, she's the 13-year-old girl from New Jersey who questioned Hasbro on why they don't make a gender-neutral Easy-Bake oven. It all started after her four-year-old brother, an avid baker, told her he thought the current model was too girly. Read More
I don’t know about you, but I grew up positively drowning in Barbies. As I got older, I began to notice that all mine looked the same. (Go figure!) I read articles explaining just how unrealistic Barbie’s proportions are, and had to come to terms with the fact that I would never have perpetually pointed toes, hair that changes color in the pool, or perfectly symmetrical lady parts. We all know the dangers of comparing ourselves to a small, plastic doll—yet Barbie remains a beloved, if problematic, icon. Read More