‘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

ageing, Netflix, Grace and Frankie, life change
“Grace and Frankie”: Helping Me Cope with Those Moments of Life-Shifting Change
Josh Duggar, Oregon Governor resigns, community leadership in chaos, 19 Kids and counting, looking for community role models
Out of the Chaos: Focusing on the Community Anchors in Arkansas
Maggie Gyllenhaal too old, sexism, ageism
Maggie Gyllenhaal is “Too Old?” I Guess That Means Our 50s Aren’t the New 30s
Duggar Family, Josh Duggar abuse, Duggar daughters
Why Aren’t the Duggars Talking About Their Daughters?
These three are ten kinds of crazy and I like it.
Quit Telling Me It’s Not Cool That I’m Happy for Summer … and Having My Kids at Home
Josh Duggar, Oregon Governor resigns, community leadership in chaos, 19 Kids and counting, looking for community role models
Out of the Chaos: Focusing on the Community Anchors in Arkansas
Maggie Gyllenhaal too old, sexism, ageism
Maggie Gyllenhaal is “Too Old?” I Guess That Means Our 50s Aren’t the New 30s
Duggar Family, Josh Duggar abuse, Duggar daughters
Why Aren’t the Duggars Talking About Their Daughters?
Hillary Clinton listening tour, Hillary and the media
Hillary’s Listening Tour Makes Media Angry. Poor Babies!
yearbook
Yearbook Quotes of the 2016 Presidential Candidates
Hillary Clinton tears, Hillary Clinton 2016, The Hunting of The President, Bill Clinton,
The Secret Weapon for a Hillary 2016 Victory? Channeling Her Inner Queen Elsa
Dad-bod, #dadbod, Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley, shirtless Martin O'Malley, politics
Watch Out, Hillary. Here Comes Shirtless Martin O’ Malley!
These three are ten kinds of crazy and I like it.
Quit Telling Me It’s Not Cool That I’m Happy for Summer … and Having My Kids at Home
ageing, Netflix, Grace and Frankie, life change
“Grace and Frankie”: Helping Me Cope with Those Moments of Life-Shifting Change
girl scouts allow gay leaders, boy scouts no gay leaders
So Much for “Scout’s Honor”
Josh Duggar, Oregon Governor resigns, community leadership in chaos, 19 Kids and counting, looking for community role models
Out of the Chaos: Focusing on the Community Anchors in Arkansas
These three are ten kinds of crazy and I like it.
Quit Telling Me It’s Not Cool That I’m Happy for Summer … and Having My Kids at Home
yoga, work/life balance
The Pose You Don’t Want Is the One You Need
The author and her father in 1968
Coming to Terms With an Abusive Father
Mother's Day, imperfect mothers, imperfect daughters, mothers and daughters, family relationships
To Mom, Warts and All
ageing, Netflix, Grace and Frankie, life change
“Grace and Frankie”: Helping Me Cope with Those Moments of Life-Shifting Change
Depositphotos_33795347_s
Amy Schumer’s Brilliant Take on Sexism and “Women of a Certain Age”
SBEMH-Graphic4
The Space Between Love and Fear
sexual women on TV, sexual role models
Powerful Sexual Female Role Models of a “Certain Age”

Get our new weekly email
Broadly Speaking

featuring our best words for the week + an exclusive longread