I was scooting through my apartment building’s basement (a wonder in systems and architecture) on my way to pick up a package at the Super’s Office. My path crosses an alleyway in our complex where trash is collected prior to moving out onto the street, and I saw this terrifying object!!
I was frozen in terror. A Disney Princess kitchen set. Not only does little girl get to learn household roles, she gets to feel like she’s engaging in a precious, pink activity while doing it (am I reaffirming gender stereotypes myself here by assuming this didn’t belong to a boy?). I certainly begged an Easy Bake Oven when I was a kid, but my mother was careful not to encourage role-stereotyping. I think my only toy kitchen equipment was a small groovy set of orange, green, and brown toy Tupperware, some of which is still used by my parents for their lunches.
Culinary endeavors are certainly having a moment of fame here as Americans re-learn the importance of good food after the tragedies of the 20th century. I think the P-word is doing our girls a disservice. If she’s interested in cooking, how about getting her to stir cookie dough and actually make something? (or something healthy, if you object to cookies). I was equally disturbed by Goldie Blox, engineering toys for girls. The premise from this Kickstarter campaign is that in order to interest girls in science, you must wrap it in pink and sparkles and cute puppies and ribbons. Really? Have all our toys just become more gendered? I don’t remember anything particularly girl or boy about Tinkertoys, those sharp-edged all metal Tonka Toys, or my favorite, Lincoln Logs. I could play with Lincoln Logs for hours. (ok! full disclosure: so I did have Barbie and My Little Pony – but my brother and I spent hours playing with Matchbox cars too).
Read my post “Hold the Tulle: I’m Anti-Princess” about actually talking to girls about their brain, rather than indicating that their value is appearance-based.
Stop the fantasy homemaker madness!!!