INTRODUCTION: In the first part of this piece, which appeared yesterday, I related how I’d been bombarded by the viral video commercial for GoldieBlox — construction kits that are being marketed specifically to girls in order “to get girls building” — while considering Christmas gifts for my own four daughters. After an initial rush of enthusiasm from consumers, GoldieBlox experienced some backlash for peddling pastel toys while simultaneously claiming that they wanted to “disrupt the pink aisle.” All of which raised interesting questions that get at the heart of our culture’s confusion about what it means to be a female: Are traditionally “girly” toys and games (dolls, tea sets, princess play) inferior to traditionally masculine toys and games? In order to encourage girls to engage in more “masculine” play, do we need to make separate-but-equal toys (i.e. traditional boy toys in pastel hues)? And if we answer “yes” to the two previous questions, aren’t we being demeaning to girls? So where does that leave us?
I’ll attempt to tackle some of these issues based on my own experience.