I would like to introduce you to my daughter, Ada.
|Ada, aged three-and-a-half|
It's the crane her uncle gave her for Christmas. She has placed two figures in the crane.
But here's the thing. The construction set to which the crane belongs came with these figures (hello fellas!):
|Construction Big Site by Kid Connection|
She didn't use these figures. Instead, she took this figure...
...and one figure from this set...
|Melissa & Doug|
...to use in her construction play. Problem solved. At least according to the child.
I didn't put her up to this. It has just become more and more important to her over time to play with the figures she has that represent her own sex.
Ada dreams of being a fireman when she grows up. This Christmas, her grandparents bought her the Melissa & Doug fire truck set, above. I tried to tell her the female was a firefighter-in-training. She poo-pooed my idea, telling me instead that the girl was getting rescued by the firemen, which of course she is. (Those are her words. I always say "Firefighter.")
We have a lot of old toys around saved by Grandma. These toys are so impressive. The figures here...
|Fisher Price "Little People"|
|Playmobil (truck is unrelated to these figures, of course)|
...have defined genders but each can still play any role a child might want.
Toy manufacturers have improved in terms of race. Look at those black firefighters and construction dudes! You used to be lucky if you could find one person of colour in your toys.
But my daughter, who loves trucks and tea sets equally, has been nudged out of such roles. And yet, in real life, there are more females occupying more roles than ever before. What gives, toymakers?
As a mom of two (I also have a nine-month-old son), I have to tell you that I don't like the fact that she has to make do by cobbling together what she can scrounge out of the toy bin. It's not fair.
It's embarrassing and sad. Especially when in every other way all these toys are just awesome. I just want to see one woman in each of these sets. And I really don't want her to be the one getting rescued! Please help, toy companies!