I spotted these while shopping at Babies R Us this weekend and immediately had to snap pics for another edition of TMF: Tired Marketing FAIL!*:
These were at the front of the store in a FAO Schwarz section. The soldier was on one rack, with clothing that was all boy-oriented (according to mass-marketed gender stereotypes). The pink princess onesie was on a different rack, right next to the soldier rack, and all the items on the princess rack were pink and “girly.”
I admit, these are not as bad as some other more egregious TMF offenders in the past. Indeed, my husband asked me, “Are princesses bad?” And I will tell you what I told him. Princesses are not good or bad. Pink is not good or bad. But telling little girls that the only thing that is good about them is that they are pretty and that they need to be rescued is bad. Telling little girls that they should like pink above all others because it is the appropriate color for their gender, is bad. And he said what I often say in these TMF posts, “Then the soldier one is just as bad for boys.” Agreed! Because strictly enforced gender roles work against boys just as much as they work against girls! Telling little boys that they must be macho and they must be ready to fight — or that they should not like pink or princesses — is just as bad.
Have you seen a despicable ad campaign or product? Send them to me and I might feature them in a future TMF!
(*Program note: I have altered the name of TMF, changing “Toy” to “Tired” because the recurring theme in many of these posts is about the failure in gender-coded marketing of a variety of children’s products and services, not just toys. Everything else about the feature will remain the same.)