Quick Hit: Girls Playing with Boys Toys

From Sociological Images, the Toys To Grow On website features girls playing with toys that books like this one tell us are only for boys.

Here, for example, is the Young Woodworker’s Project Kit:

And the Spy Scope:

And the Archery Kit:

And the FBI Agent Play Kit:

I understand the public relations effort for empowerment, also considering that they choose a diverse group of girls for the pictures. Still, the store isn’t perfect, featuring the “My Cleaning Trolley” and feminized toys for cooking–and the girls are all wearing pink and purple outfits.
But it begs the remaining question: Where are the pictures of boys playing with toys that the same book tells us are only for girls?

Related: My “Girls Only” Cleaning Trolley

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20 Comments

  1. earwicga
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    All boys are off wearing dirt coloured clothes doing dirty things. Far too busy to be photographed for a toy magazine. Boys can’t stand still don’t you know.

  2. uberhausfrau
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    it’s a shame a lot of those toys in that catalog suck though – poor quality, etc.
    *bitter about something my kids got for xmas last year*

  3. Achilles Effect
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Sad, isn’t it, that boys have far less leeway than girls to explore the terrain outside the narrowly defined scope of their gender. What would people say about a boy who chose the cleaning trolley over the FBI set? In point of fact, there probably would be no comment because no boy would confess to preferring cleaning toys to cops and weapons.
    Boys know from a very young age what is expected of them and they shy away from toys that are blatantly feminine – studies have proven so. If we adults had the courage to broaden the definition of masculinity – as we have done for femininity – boys would be free to do what they like without fear of being chastised for choosing “girly” activities. And until we do expand the idea of what it means to a boy, boys will continue to view the hyper-masculine as ideal and devalue the feminine.

  4. Toongrrl
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    “Spy Scope” looks cute!
    My friend would love the “Young Woodworker’s Project Kit”
    Where’s the boys and the dolls1

  5. The Woeful Budgie
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Man, I’d have killed for that Spy Scope when I was 10!

  6. candySweet
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    That’s a good observation. I honestly feel that in today’s world were you would think girls can play with boys toys and boys can play with girls toys it would be fine. Yet it isn’t, it maybe more linnet for a girl to play with boy toys. When it comes to a little boy playing with dolls and dress up and makeup, its looked at as there identity. For instance, if a boy was to put makeup on and be the mom, when playing house, he would be looked at as if it was wrong. A lot of parents more so fathers, look at this situation as “my son is gay”. Men aren’t comfortable with there boy sons playing with dolls or girl toys. I believe that this type of thinking is just how boys were raised. And now its to the point were its considered wrong. This situation makes you wonder, if roles were reverse then girls that play with boy toys would be considered to be lesbian.

  7. Laura
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I definitely support the idea of boys playing with alleged “girl” toys and girls playing with alleged “boy” toys. I find stereotypes associated with toys (whether they are for girls or boys) annoying. Why does a specific group of people have to fit into one category or like a specific type of thing? Why can’t everything be for anyone who’s interested and not have labels? I hate the whole idea of the cooking/cleaning set being only for girls and the FBI/woodworking stuff being for only guys. But I don’t find the whole pink and purple outfits wrong in any way. It’s just a color and there is absolutely nothing wrong with girls wearing pink or purple. Even if all of them are. It’s just a color those individuals probably like. But I completely agree on everything else.

  8. Phenicks
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Because I think girls playing with “boys” toys are seen as empowered while boys playing with “girls” toys are seen as being emasculated.
    Basically, a girl can be a girl and play with “boy” toys but if a boy plays with “girl” toys then its because he’s either gay or a transgirl who isnt allowed to present as the gender he wants to be.

  9. Audentia
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    OH! That site is fun of win. If you browse around the actual site, a couple of the female models are wearing blue and green, including in photos of science-y toys.
    I *begged* for something like this crayon set for years…but there was never anything remotely close. Crayola made an attempt with “Flesh Tone Markers” once, I think, but that was about it.
    So awesome.

  10. demimonde
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I bought fake food for my godson (he’s 2) today, and it came in a pink container. With a picture of a little girl playing with the food on front.
    *headpalm*
    But, y’know, I bought it anyway because fake food is awesome! (And his parents won’t give a crap about the pink packaging).

  11. South
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    There is a dangerous book for girls. A quick flip through it showed much of the same stuff as in the dagerous book for boys.

  12. Lucy Gillam
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    You know, oddly, I’m going to give Little Tykes credit on this one. When I look at toy kitchens there, there’s almost always a girl and a boy in the picture. It’s not perfect (one kitchen that had a kitchen and an outdoor grill of course had the boy at the grill), but I see some progress there.

  13. Krista
    Posted December 12, 2009 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    IAWD. Where are the boys in pink gingham aprons cooking a delicious plastic casserole?

  14. nancyser
    Posted December 12, 2009 at 3:46 am | Permalink

    I think it’s actually healthy for boys to play with girl toys, I think there are too many pro to mention now but in fact beneficial for a kid.
    Enhanced Kre-Alkalyn

  15. tinfoil hattie
    Posted December 12, 2009 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    “begging the question” does not mean “leaves the question unasked.”
    Begging the question is a logical fallacy also known as circular reasoning. It’s when you draw a conclusion that is part of your argument; i.e., saying that God must exist because the Bible says so, and the Bible must be true because God wrote it.

  16. Eresbel
    Posted December 12, 2009 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Archery strikes me as a very feminine sport. But maybe it’s just because it makes me think of Artemis/Diana and Daine from Tortall.

  17. Toongrrl
    Posted December 12, 2009 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Awesome toys! SpyScope looks great.

  18. Gopher
    Posted December 13, 2009 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    But they get privilege for it.

  19. fe.MOM.hist
    Posted December 13, 2009 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Here is the problem. There is a difference between non-gendered and non-sexist toys. Simply flipping the gendered object doesn’t teach non-sexist principles. Many so called non gendered toys, such as building sets like legos and tinker toys, have now been gendered up since my childhood and come in “themed” sets for girls. They are of course PINK. In marketing this is known as the wall of pink. Many years ago I taught the material culture of childhood and sent my students off to Toys R Us to do some on the ground research. They were shocked by how all toys were gendered and how the children in the store responded (not a boy in sight in the “pink” section.

  20. That Fool Dog of Yours
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Begging the question when discussing PHILOSOPHY is a logical fallacy. Words and phrases have different meanings in different context. If this were a philosophy paper, then it would make sense to not use the phrase ‘begging the question’ in the this context, because of the inherent ambiguity. In this post, there is no such ambiguity and the meaning is clear, so there ain’t shit wrong with it.

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