Friday, 17 January 2014

How toys can have a (bad) influence on young girls

One of the hot topics of last years is the current selection of toys for children, especially as
regards young girls. Scientific research demonstrated how toys and games can influence the
mindset of children while they are growing up and this is why there is new attention to what
toys will transmit and how they can influence young girls and boys. This is also why now
the toys industry is focusing on developing not-gender toys for cases of inter-sexuality and
variable gender identity. However, it seems that sometimes we all focus on new emerging
problems related to equity and human rights, forgetting to find a solution to pivotal
problems. This is what is happening in the toys industry as regards the young girls target.
Not even mentioning misguiding toys and games as the lap-dancer dolls - you wouldn’t
believe these dolls exist but they actually do - if you keep an eye on what the toys industry
is offering to young girls today you’ll discover a highly depressing situation.

Few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go shopping with my boyfriend and a friend to look
for a present for a nearly 4 years old girl. I’ll tell you what happened to us to show you what
I mean. First toyshop: after few minutes we ask help to the shop assistant describing the girl
as creative and energetic. What then the shop assistant showed us: 1) a naked doll with playdough
to create homemade and colorful dresses; 2) a kind of a machine to create ice-creams
with play-dough; 4) a kettle to liquefy chocolate. Well, the ice-cream machine was actually
nice, but we were looking for something creative, so we asked for something more.

She showed us a game to play the role of an hairdresser, another one with other kitchen related
stuff and lastly, the jewel in the crown, the check-out assistant game, vegetables and drinks
included. Disgusted and very doubtful about the image society has of women, we changed
shop. This only to discover that there is also a machine to create pizzas, is not everything
about ice-creams. Same for this toy: create a pizza is funny but is it really everything we can
offer to young girls? Why are there no toys about stars and planets or animals or fantastic
characters targeting girls? On the box of these amazing toys there are only pictures of boys,
and it is really depressing from my perspective. If you’re lucky you’ll find medical play-role
with girls playing as doctors, after centuries of gender rights fights we obtained that girls
can even be doctors!

Turning back to be serious, why are we doing this to society? We are slightly accepting and
promoting a mindset in which young boys can dream to become astronauts while girls have
to accept to be checkout assistant. There is nothing bad about being a checkout assistant, but
it can be bad if we reserve this future to a determined group of people discriminating them
while we hope all the best for men. There is something bad with all this situation, don’t you
think the same? Furthermore, we are transmitting to girls a whole pack filled with problems
and dissatisfaction that a 4 years old child wouldn’t ever have to experience.

If you are a woman you’ll understand my crazy article: while you were playing with a
crying doll and the whole game was to find out why and solve the matter, your male friends
were playing with colorful monsters and thinking about fantastic places and awesome
adventures. Well, that’s time to offer amazing dreams to girls, too. And don’t think they are
freak if they already dream a different (and better) future.

By Agnese Cigliano

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your sharing. You are absolutely right !