My ‘Girls Only’ Cleaning Trolley


There are a lot of pretty ridiculous kids toys out there, and we’ve taken on the sexism they invoke before.
The My Cleaning Trolley is an amazing eleven piece cart to push around with all the cleaning supplies you could ever need! I’m all for teaching kids about cleaning–even making it fun.
But the big purple “Girls Only” stamp is just too much.

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  • dhistory

    Is “Girls Only” the company name?

  • Athenia

    “Hey Susie! Let’s go play janitor!”
    And speaking of janitors, I’ve known mostly male janitors in my life…are there more males than females in that job?

  • BaltoMom

    These cleaning trolleys actually come in all different colors and are targeted to both boys and girls (in some situations, girls are specifically targeted but I’ve also seen some cool gender neutral ads/color schemes). There’s no doubt that this “Girll’s Only” merchandising is scary & politically loaded. As the SAHM of a boy, I’m realizing that I can use these type of toys to expand gender role definitions and show him that cleaning is done by both boys & girls. I’ve chosen not to have any of these cleaning toys in our house. One, they go through A LOT of batteries, which I find wasteful, and two, since I don’t enjoy cleaning why would I want to do pretend cleaning in addition to the real stuff?

  • BaltoMom

    These cleaning trolleys actually come in all different colors and are targeted to both boys and girls (in some situations, girls are specifically targeted but I’ve also seen some cool gender neutral ads/color schemes). There’s no doubt that this “Girll’s Only” merchandising is scary & politically loaded. As the SAHM of a boy, I’m realizing that I can use these type of toys to expand gender role definitions and show him that cleaning is done by both boys & girls. I’ve chosen not to have any of these cleaning toys in our house. One, they go through A LOT of batteries, which I find wasteful, and two, since I don’t enjoy cleaning why would I want to do pretend cleaning in addition to the real stuff?

  • attentat

    From what I’ve heard from union organizers, at least when it comes to companies that get contracts to clean buildings, it varies from pretty even to sometimes a majority of women, usually people of color and getting paid shit.

  • Suzza

    I’m pretty sure that just looks like the worst toy ever. Really. If your child is old enough to “pretend’ clean, they can start doing small things around the house – I hate the idea that we have to construct this fake world for kids.
    Also, when I was six or four or whatever this is aimed at, that would have been below sticks and rocks on the list of “things I would like to play with.”

  • Nik

    I like the little picture in the middle right.
    “MOM! I have to have this! It comes with a SQUEEZEY BOTTLE.”

  • uberhausfrau

    i stay home with my two boys (5 and 2.5) and so do the the majority of housework – including yard work, minor repairs and home improvement. in the back of my mind is what example i am setting about gender roles and expectation so im a bit neurotic about them doing as much of their own stuff as they can, probably even more so than if i had girl children. they clean up their own messes, put their own clothes up, help me sort and load the laundry, etc. (i have a friend who has built in housework into her homeschooling “curriculum.”) they help pull weeds and use the push lawnmower. they even replaced my license plates on my car for me. yeah i stay home but “your mama doesnt work here.”
    there’s also the “Polish Prince” phenomenon – a term coined by my mother when she was dating my father to explain the absurdly preferential treatment my dad received as the first born male child (he had one older sister) by my second generation off the boat Polish grandparents – that i just refuse to allow to happen.

  • Zack

    Holy shit.

  • Kim C.

    Exactly! Why be a janitor when, with the wave of a stick, you could be EMPEROR of the entire leaf pile?

  • Ellen Marie-Frances

    i remember having a play kitchen and a dollhouse but nothing as sexist as this. growing up it was just me and my sister, she the girlie girl and me the tomboy who popped the head off of Ken dolls. for me this is a step in the wrong direction and i can only hope that this christmas i don’t find this underneath my tree!

  • cattrack2

    Craziness, pure craziness!!! What parent would even THINK of buying this for their kid???

  • Charybdis

    omfg… condition them early??? This calls for pilot toys and truck-driver consoles for girls only.

  • Lucy Gillam

    Eh, my two-year-old loves her toy broom, and I have to balance encouraging her desire to be helpful around the house with the reality that right now, she helps by spreading out the nice, neat piles I have swept all the crap into. If the thing weren’t so gender-coded, it would make a cool gift for her.

  • Toongrrl

    What no boys allowed? I’ve never been one to follow crap like that as a child and hopefully kids are smart enough to make out the sexism of it all.

  • summery02

    i know most people can never imagine having fun by “pretending” to clean, but you need to remember you’re not a kid. I agree the marketing of the toy and the colors they chose are sexist, but actually I think this toy is pretty cool. I’ve been in child care in some way for 9 years, and I’m currently a full time nanny. Let me tell you, once kids are able to walk & talk the thing they LOVE doing most is imitating what they see adults do. You know what they see adults do? Clean, cook, drive, talk on the phone, etc. The toddler I care for now would love this toy, he throw fits over not being allowed to play with the broom, he thinks it’s coolest thing ever! When I worked in the nursery the toddlers, both boys and girls, loved playing with the pretend kitchen. I think this toy would be perfect for a child whose mother or father was a janitor, I could just see the kid playing with it “look daddy, I’m working like you do!” Thats how kids learn, they copy adults, and having kid versions of the real thing is better than having to fight with them over the real broom so they don’t knock over the TV

  • Heatherly

    You beat me to it! There’s nothing more terrifying than when my 2-year-old boy gets a hold of the broom and swings it with glee in front of our TV. I just put a similar kit (one w/out batteries, and in primary colors) on his wishlist.
    Do agree that the “Girls Only” thing is ridiculous, though. I wish they’d make these gendered things in more neutral colors, though that didn’t stop me from buying my son a pink doll stroller for his dolls. He LOVES it.

  • Lucy Gillam

    I was just thinking this. If this weren’t so hideously packages (and pink), I’d love to get this for my kid. She LOVES to “clean.” Heck, one time, she brought a wipey with her to the park and spent the whole time wiping down the jungle gym.

  • khw

    In my family, we referred to this as the “willy syndrome”.
    Insert childish giggling here!

  • Arin

    It is like they are teaching the kids at a young age what their roles are suppose to be later on in life. Like ths is what they expect of them. Especially with that Girl Only Sticker. This toy is a little disturbing. I don’t like how hey make it seem like it is the womens job to clean.

  • bb

    That same company makes a gender neutral (primary colours) cleaning set. The “Girls Only” branding is referring to the colour scheme … not the theme of the toys. http://www.amazon.com/Cleaning-Trolley-Hand-Vacuum-Cleaner/dp/B0006NDCMY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1255644754&sr=1-2
    OK so labelling colours as “girl” colours is a bit outdated and lame, but hardly “disturbing”. Getting up in arms without doing a little research, and implying evils where there are none, is how feminism gets a bad name.

  • Gular

    Are we sure that “Girls Only” isn’t just the name of the brand by the company whose label is obscured on the right?

  • rhowan

    Of course, sometimes examining things further reveals an extra dose of sexism…
    Check out the PlayGo website (it appears to be a Hong Kong based company) and you find that while the Pretend Play section of the site does include a non-pink Cleaning Trolley toy, the Boys section has the power tools (in red black and grey) and the girls section has a selection of more “feminine” themed toys, all in pink of course (notice that the piano toy is in the girls section, but the guitar and percussion instruments are in the gender neutral Music section). In fact the For Girls Only line has a wide selection of overwhelmingly pink domestic themed toys.

  • pepper

    And a toy company called “Girls Only” is an improvement?

  • MizzCoco

    I really don’t see anything wrong with this. As a mom of a boy and a girl, my girl is definitely my helper and she loves things like this because it makes her feel like she’s helping me and I see nothing wrong with that.

  • FLT

    I hate to even bring this up, but this represents a class issue as well as a gender issue.
    My wealthy cousin had an Easy Bake oven. We could not afford that in my branch of the family, so I learned to cook on a real one. Now, I am a much better cook than my cousin, but it doesn’t matter, really, because my she can still afford to have someone else cook for her.
    Kind of like Marie Antoinette (who, I know, was historically maligned) had a pretend little stable where she could milk cows when she felt like it and leave the real work to the servants.
    If you have money to buy this silly thing, and space to store it, your children are probably not needed to help in the real cleaning. And real cleaning, I know, can be done even by (supervised) three or four year olds.