TMF: Boys do stuff, girls are pretty

Welcome to another edition of TMF: Toy Marketing FAIL! This is where we examine the idiotic tendency for gender-coding on innocent baby/kids stuff.

For today’s edition I wanted to look at kids clothes.

Walk into the baby clothing section of any mass-consumer store and you’ll find plenty of cute little pink things for girls and cute little blue things for boys. And somewhere in between the racks of dresses (for girls!) and the racks of action-oriented t-shirts (for boys!) are a pittance of unisex (i.e. not gender-coded) clothes.

Why are all the boy clothes action-oriented and all the girl clothes pretty, pretty oriented anyway?

Don’t believe me? Here are some examples from a recent shopping trip:

Girls are too cute!
Girls should smile! It makes them cuter!
Boys like to do stuff: Like pop wheelies!
Boys can be astronauts (you know so because this hoodie is BLUE)!

And just like last time, we see that the “boy” stuff could be worn by a girl (although she might be mistaken for a boy, GASP!). But the “girl” stuff could never be worn by  a boy. That would be so horrible! Right?

Now, are all these clothes fun and cute baby things? Yes. But I ask you, do we always, always, always have to be banging the gender-coding drum? Can’t girls pop wheelies and dream of becoming astronauts? Don’t we want our little boy babies to be cute and smiling? Why the gender lines?

And most importantly, what are we really teaching our little girls and boys? We worry that girls grow up into young women who may develop eating disorders and body image issues. Well how about we stop validating their appearance over their abilities, starting at birth!

Finally, I wanted to give a shout-out to a reader, Kris, for pointing out the stupid gender-coding in the pink and blue glow worms for babies. I have seen these, too.

[T]he Glow Worm, a favorite childhood toy of mine, but there is a boy version which is blue and a girl version which is pink. I recall my Glow Worm being a gender neutral green when I was a kid. Grr.

And although they were out of stock at the store, I did see these glow seahorses that pose the very same problem:

Why only pink and blue for the glow seahorses?

If you have a nominee for TMF: Toy Marketing FAIL, please send it to me!


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