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Tiny, Pink-Clad Badasses Of The World, Rejoice, Major Toy Stores To Do Away With The "Boys" And "Girls" Sections

By Joanna Robinson | Miscellaneous | September 9, 2013 | Comments ()


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Oh no, not here in the U.S. That would be too exciting. But the “pink aisle” is being razed in a number of UK stores including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Boots, and Toys R Us. The fomenters of this plastic rebellion are Let Toys Be Toys (LTBT), a consumer campaign group that fought the good fight so that boys can play with Barbies and girls with Batman and who on earth cares why or where. LTBT spokeswoman Megan Perryman said the following:

“Even in 2013, boys and girls are still growing up being told that certain toys are ‘for’ them, while others are not.

This is not only confusing but extremely limiting, as it strongly shapes their ideas about who they are and who they can go on to become. We look forward to seeing Toys R Us lead the way to a more inclusive future for boys and girls.”

It’s not just that the notion of “girls toys” and “boys toys” is backwards for 2013. It’s that it’s literally backwards from where we were 40 years ago.
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So what, exactly, are the UK retailers doing to make us proud? They’ve agreed to excise “boys” and “girls” signs from their stores and reconfigure their whole attitude around marketing. And that’s no small thing.

In conclusion, wise up, America. If you don’t do it soon, I know a few feisty little girls I can send over to convince you.

(via The Mary Sue)




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • e jerry powell

    I realized how much gender pissed me off about the time one of my acquaintances from high school gave birth to fraternal twins and proceeded to immediately put the blue baseball cap on the son and the pink headband on the daughter. It chapped my ass something fierce. The mini-consolation was that for their first birthday, they had nothing on but plain white diapers while sitting on the plastic-covered dining table to receive their chocolate cake, which, predictably, ended up becoming their joint costume. Equality at last!

  • googergieger

    Ugh.

  • BuffyloGal

    You can remove the signs above, but nothing will change until you work on the packaging as well. Everything is pink in the "girls" section. Everything. My boys fly past Pink Alley knowing the Legos are farther down the aisles.

  • VohaulsRevenge

    I played dolls with a female friend of mine in my (distant!) youth. Of course, I'd have to throw a lurid male slant on the proceedings from time to time ("Now, let's pretend Barbie is dying of yellow fever...")

  • Gwendolyn

    Where are the camo color tutus for boys? The day it's progressive for boys to do "girl" things is the day I buy this, hook, like and sinker. Yes, encourage girls, but no one is trying to get boys out of their "box" like they are for girls. It's a double standard.

  • Ruthie O

    If you read the mommy blogs, lots of moms have been fighting for the right for their boys to wear dresses to preschool or dress up as a girl character for Halloween. It's actually kinda a thing right now.

    But to address your larger point: it's a double-standard rooted in misogyny. Boy toys may be inaccessible for girls, but girl things are actively bad for boys. Girly represents weakness (of course, not in reality), and that is why it is an insult to call boys "a girl," or as they get older, "pussy."

    We are taught that boy=strength and girl=weakness. That's why, when girls play with boy toys, they are considered strong bad asses, and why when boys play with dolls, they are considered pansies. This also hurts girls because the concept that pink, feminine toys are weak very much dictates how we talk about a woman's strength. Hopefully, someday, we can break down the value judgments associated with both genders, so that gender performance means nothing beyond how the individual interprets him or herself; then, we can be in a place where boys can play with girl things without fear of stigma.

  • Maguita NYC

    One of our friends got dressed in a pink tutu, a tuxedo blazer and black high top basketball sneakers for highschool prom.

    He's he, a hetero he, did not shave his legs, and was the coolest looking dude on the dance floor.

  • The Double Standard

    I encourage girls to do "boy" things because then parents buy girls both boy and girl toys, in addition to buying boy toys for boys and it makes more money for toy companies and marketing firms. But if it truly went both ways, then that might bleed over into other facets of society and undo all my hard work. Plus then I'd have to find a new job and all the most lucrative anthropomorphic personifications are already taken.

  • Mrs. Julien

    It's always a delight when you pop by.

  • profession: none, or starlet

    And you're always popping by!

  • JoannaRobinson

    That's not true at all. I really love this piece. http://www.drmomma.org/2013/07...

  • Salieri2

    I like that piece a lot--mom rocks--but it only disproves the overly-sweeping nature @disqus_6NMl9auVGB:disqus's "no one;" it's quite far from establishing any broad or deep cultural support for men dressing in clothing typically considered feminine.

    The ZFX guys have been wearing Utilikilts for years now, and still get looked at askance, hairy legs and all. It's a power thing: women donning work pants and dungarees and Katherine Hepburn's slacks was aspirational, and laying claim to skills and jobs and a kind of practical agency dress codes and their modesty needs denied us. Men aren't going to gain any societal power by putting on skirts. The dominant culture is still panted. Men in skirts, in most Western cultures, are still outré.

    http://www.zfxflying.com/about...

  • John W

    Does this mean I can pull my Barbie dolls out of the closet without fear of ridicule?

  • I always thought it was Ken that was in the closet, not Barbie.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Then he should be allowed out, too!

    [fist raised in solidarity with Ken's right to be who he is]

  • emmalita

    We will still ridicule you, it still won't be because of the Barbies.

  • bastich

    Damn kids today are spoiled, what with their "gender indiscrimination", and "toy stores", and "safety regulations".

    In my day, all we got to play with was a stick. If we were lucky, we had a beehive to hit with the stick. If a girl or boy wanted a dolly, they'd just have to find a roll of gingham and some moss, and boom -- they had a dolly. No "pink aisles" for us, no sir.

  • JJ

    "No 'pink aisles' for us, no sir."

    That's more because the world was black and white as no one had yet invented Technicolor.

  • Guest

    Isn't this really a parenting thing? I've never seen a child not play with something because its only for girls or boys. Adults preconceived notions are usually the reason why boys can't play with "dolls" and girls don't play with Lego.

  • pajiba

    It's an "other" parenting thing. Even if you go out of your goddamn way to remain gender neutral, some other parent's goddamn child will eventually insist to your own child that princesses are just for girls, and then you end up in a half hour conversation trying to explain to your son that there are loads of bad-ass princesses, like Princess Leia. And Padmé Amidala. And the princess in Shrek. And Brave. And the one from Wreck It Ralph, all of whom can kick the ass of your friend who insists that princesses are just for girls.

  • Mrs. Julien

    We watched Tangled this weekend and Little J explained to us that it was a princess movie for boys and girls. We've also encouraged his love of Brave, despite the failings of the film itself. It's an ongoing battle.

  • emmalita

    I over heard my nephew tell another child that boys can be princesses and girls can be princes if they want to, because his aunt emmalita said so!

    The downside is he refuses to believe me when I tell him vegetables won't kill him.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I've just decided that if I ever meet you I am going to exclaim "AUNTIE EMM!" in my best Dorothy voice. I also do an excellent "TOTO!"

  • emmalita

    We'll invent a drink and call it the tornado!

  • Berry

    Would you accept a tiara as your Best Aunt of The Year award, or does it have to be some kind of trophy?

  • emmalita

    Well thank you. But the kids would be the first to assure you I am not the best aunt. Their Auntie T takes them to Toys-R-Us and Target and buys them things. I'm the one that makes them clean up their toys and won't let them set up tubs of water on the hardwood floor so they can bathe their barbies and trains. But they love me anyway.

  • Maguita NYC

    We can give her both Berry. Auntie Emm can carry both with ease; She's a multi-tasker extraordinaire.

  • Berry

    Good point. Tiara AND trophy it is then.

  • I don't know if I'd have put Padme on that list, but only because doing so would mean I was saying something positive about the prequels.

  • I got downvoted by George Lucas. The truth hurts, George, you're going to have to live with it.

  • Uriah_Creep

    I think it was Bob Iger, Disney's Chairman. Dude is really sensitive about that shit.

  • Maguita NYC

    Those other goddman parents should mind their own child's manners, whether the child be a princess or a toad in waiting.

  • Guest

    Totes. I should have included "other". Adults are the Number #1 reason why kids can't just be kids.

  • JoannaRobinson

    I don't have any kids but from what I gather from parents I know, there are princess pressures when your kid goes to school and mixes with other kidlets.

  • emmalita

    The princess pressure starts as soon as you start shopping for kids. Go to the kids' clothing section at Target. It is overwhelming.

  • Mrs. Julien

    That's true, but what is more overwhelming is that it is socially acceptable for the parent of a girl to wander over into the boys' section, but not vice versa. Boy clothing is so limited and boring, especially if you don't want stuff with sports on it, or, for example, flaming eyeballs.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    Now who the hell doesn't want flaming eyeballs on their shirt? Not wanting flaming eyeballs isn't even a thing and you're just making shit up to get me mad now.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Correction: flaming BLOODY eyeballs

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    Upon that correction, your statement has gone from the merely unbelievable to the patently absurd.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Flaming pustulent hairy necrotizing bloody eyeballs?

    In other news, I think I know what my costume will be for Halloween.

  • Uriah_Creep

    I can't find those on Amazon. Do you have a source?

  • JJ

    Yeah, you're only making those shirts sound cooler with each correction.

  • ellcoolj

    You got me so excited until I realized that it was just another US bashing post... What the hell is wrong with us!
    This is why I don't go to toy stores... I just shop online where there is no gender discrimination. The internets would never allow for the degradation of females!!

  • I'm going to upvote this even though the first half is kind of whiny, because the second half's sarcasm made me laugh.

  • koko temur

    Between this and sir Ian officiating awesomness, i will go now away from the internets for today, before it gets spoiled.

  • pajiba

    This is fantastic!

  • kinoumenthe

    I love this Lego ad and this could be me, I literally owned that lego set, with the grandma. Aaaaah, Legooo…
    I know I'm not commenting on the news per se, but to my defence, I already read it yesterday on the MarySue…

  • Maguita NYC

    This is absolutely awesome! Still to this day I see parents telling their children about this being "only for boys", and "No, you're not a girl".

    Leave that be America, let your children grow gender blind and limitless in their potential and future accomplishments.

  • e jerry powell

    The good Christians of America WILL NOT HAVE IT.

  • NateMan

    It's funny. My Smudge loves 'boy' toys; blocks, trucks, etc. And yet, when it comes to clothes - and completely on her own - she gravitates towards pink and purple and orange. She loooooves all things pink, and has since before she started childcare, even. And my wife is not a pink person and has very firmly gone out of her way to make sure Smudge can pick what she wants, rather than have styles foisted on her. And now, at 2.4yrs old, she wants pink. Such a fashionista - when she isn't playing in the dirt.

  • e jerry powell

    My oldest niece is just as bad. Sanrio and pink at the same time. At least she got over Hello Kitty this year.

  • Maguita NYC

    You'd be surprised how much girls love trucks and blocks!

    And I hope you understand this means later on, your Smudge will be into truckers and blokes with big bald heads. A tad of daddy in them to freak you out.

  • emmalita

    From ages 1 1/2 - 5 I terrorized my mother into making pink clothes for me. They just weren't as available in the early 70's unless you wanted an all Easter dress wardrobe, which I did want. My mom learned to sew so that she could make the long pink dresses I insisted on wearing every day. She also bought white clothes and dyed them pink, just so she could get clothes on me. It was hard for a young feminist hippie mom. And then I hit 6 and refused to wear dresses or pink for the next 15 years. I also played in the dirt and climbed trees in my pink clothes.

  • Maguita NYC

    Never understood pink. Still don't. Even young I gravitated towards black clothes. I was born to live in big cities where black is not only acceptable, but also encouraged.

  • emmalita

    Baby Goth Maguita!

  • Maguita NYC

    Oh yeah! And I could out-stare any parent trying to force me into doing something I'm not comfortable with: eating, studying, sleeping...

  • emmalita

    So what you're saying is, not much has changed? :)

  • Maguita NYC

    My mother would agree with you. Not sure I do though (denial).

  • emmalita

    All my favorite people are strong-willed.

  • Mrs. Julien

    It's been bizarre watching my son internalize it.

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