‘Tis the Season for Gender Stereotypes?

If there is one thing the Holiday Season is good for, it’s bringing out the sexist toy ads among the different chain stores. Girls playing with pretty pink dolls and Barbies while little boys play with their castles, tool benches and, of course, laboratory sets. We’ve seen these ads a million times, and they’re back again the 2012 winter holidays.

I’ve got two things to say about these pretty, pretty store flyers.

One is that these ads infuriate me, as I’m sure they infuriate a ton of American parents. But that’s sort of a given, as moms and dads across America often complain about ads that try to pigeonhole our children by using gender stereotypes for their sales efforts.

Girls, of course, have to play with kitchen sets and baby dolls so they are well trained for their future roles as housewives and indentured servants right?  WRONG!  If you are in my household, girls play with whatever they damn well please. Dolls, kitchen sets, fire trucks, monster trucks, sports balls. Whatev!   We have a healthy selection of toys around the house. I have to admit that when we had a little girl, I had been so desperate to buy baby dolls and pink frilly stuff… but the moment my son (who was three-years-old at the time) asked for a baby doll, that is exactly what he got.

Instead of always posing the boys with the high tech science kits and laptops in these ads, we need to encourage our daughters to know if they choose that line of interest for a career, they will be just as good, if not better than their male counterparts. These ads are secretly and unintentionally demeaning our daughters before they get a fair chance at life.

My second issue is this — try to turn things around with a little gender balance, as Toys R Us in Sweden did, and what happens? International panic!! The Swedish ad depicts girls wielding Nerf guns, and boys playing with baby dolls. And what did the parents of the world do?  Freak the hell out!

Image via HuffingtonPost.com

An insane and unnecessary uproar of negativity, foolish nonsense further encouraging these deep gender stereotypes. What the hell America! Do you want to continue to suppress women? Do we want our daughters to think their only options in life include childbearing and taking care of a man?

Hell, if that is their personal choice, so be it! But if your little girl wants to be a doctor or a scientist they should know it is not only possible, but we should encourage it! At least one girl is showing some initiative this holiday time to make the traditionally girly Easy Bake Oven more boy friendly, and Barbie is wielding a hammer as she takes on the construction industry (though she’s still wearing a skirt). Now we just need to get some of those images into the sales ads and flyers our kids scour as they compile their holiday wish lists.

Image via BuzzFeed.com

Black Lives Matter Oscars Social Justice
Social Justice Warrior Battle Fatigue: When Blacksplaining is Too Much
Barbie Fashionistas, photo courtesy of Mattel
The Casual Feminist: How Do You Take Your Barbie? Curvy, Tall or Petite?
#wheresrey, rey star wars, hasbro
#WheresRey: Finally, Here’s Where You’ll Find Your Jedi Princess
400.a-gift-id-like-to-return
Let’s Make a Deal!
bernie sanders feminists, hillary clinton feminists, women voters and feminism
“Young” Feminists, Don’t Toss Out the “Old” Ones. We’re Really on Your Side
24414814619_ff75538970_z
A Hillary Smear in the Making Brought to Us By MSNBC: TRANSCRIPTS!
Black History Month, reparations
For Black History Month, Let’s Talk Reparations
Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, real change in politics
Do You Really Want A Revolution, or Just Talk About One?
Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, real change in politics
Do You Really Want A Revolution, or Just Talk About One?
America Ferrera at MAKERS
For America, It’s a No Brainer Between Hillary and Cruz
Hillary Clinton in Iowa, Hillary Clinton criticized for style, media criticism of Hillary Clinton style
Bernie and Donald Can Shout. Hillary, Not So Much if You Believe the Media
Hillary Clinton Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders is More of the Same
Valentine's Day, chocolate
Hard Lessons, Valentine’s Day Edition
bernie sanders feminists, hillary clinton feminists, women voters and feminism
“Young” Feminists, Don’t Toss Out the “Old” Ones. We’re Really on Your Side
Barbie Fashionistas, photo courtesy of Mattel
The Casual Feminist: How Do You Take Your Barbie? Curvy, Tall or Petite?
Senate_Women_2013
Women Senators Aren’t Afraid of the Snowpocalypse, But Their Male Counterparts Are
Paris attacks, Paris terrorism
Is Paris Burning?
Chinese government and women's reproductive rights, adopting Chinese girls, international adoption
Dear Xi Jinping, I Am Writing to You as an American Mom of a 19-Year-Old Chinese Daughter
First Lady Hillary Clinton in Inda in 1995
The Vital Voice of Hillary Clinton: Part 1
American tourists help Syrian refugees in Hungary
One Woman Making a Difference to Syrian Refugees
369.the-eyes-have-it1
The Eyes Have It!
Ashley Madison, Jared Fogle, sex, rape, sexual affairs
Ashley Madison vs. Jared Fogle: Rape, Sex and Hacking in America
women's viagra, Viagra, Flibanserin, sexual arousal, women's desire, sex after menopause
That “Little Pink Pill” Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be
breast cancer, save the boobies, save second base, why is breast cancer awareness about sex
Campaigns to Save the “Boobies” and “Tatas” Do Women No Favors

Get our new weekly email
Broadly Speaking

featuring our best words for the week + an exclusive longread