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WHY??? (gender issues and toys)


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Why do toy companies feel the need to market so many toys that could be for either gender to just one? I KNOW my ds7 would love an Easy bake oven, but he is so turned off by the three girls on the box. Seriously, they couldn't have had a little boy and girl? Don't boys like making treats as much as girls. I will likely still get him one, maybe take it out of the box. It's just so annoying. It's the same with so many craft type things. Ds is very crafty, but he assumes all the kits out there are only for girls because they come in pink packaging with girls on the box. Just annoying....that's all:)

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What's also frustrating is how other kids react. My DD got two gifts from little boys at her party which she LOVED-a mini Robo Raptor and a Lego castle set. In both cases, these are things she's played with the little guys in question, they know she likes dinosaurs and legos, and they picked them out. To a one, the other little girls reacted with "That's a boy toy!"-even though anyone who has been around DD for even a few minutes knows she likes dinosaurs, castles, building things, and mythology (because she doesn't shut up about it!).

 

I'm thankful that my DD, so far, isn't willing to reject a robo raptor in the hand because her friends think she should like zhu-zhu pets (which is still in it's box, a week later, and I suspect is destined to be donated to the toys for tots box, along with the Baby Alive doll the girls thought she was "SO LUCKY" to get).

 

But it's hard. And I suspect it's twice as hard for a boy as for a girl.

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We've managed to avoid the worst of it - my boys seems okay with girl things. More than that, actually. They kinda love pink. But it really frustrates me too. And why must so many things come in a "girl" version and a "boy" version? And why must it be that when you go to the majority of toy sales websites the primary way to browse toys is by gender? The idea that gender roles are "inevitable" when all that starts working on kids from the moment they're born is just baffling to me. Sure, many boys like playing with trucks from the get go. And many are socialized into it so they can make friends.

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It is very frustrating. One year my ds asked for a motorized four-wheeler (the small battery powered ones - he was 4) and a tea set. He is 17 now and still has his tea set packed away as a keepsake. I don't know why toy companies think they have to market things that way.

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Guest mrsjamiesouth

When dd2 came along ds6 was so excited that everything was pink. We didn't have anything pink before, he kept oohing and aahing over it all. He plays with her dolls and she plays with the swords and guns. :lol:

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Ds got a play kitchen the same year he got a ride on forklift for Christmas. It took some work to find a less girly kitchen, but man we had fun with that for years.

 

Maybe Alton Brown needs to design a line of toys for children.

We got DS a play kitchen when he was two. It took forever to talk my DH into getting the kitchen, as he had so many hang-ups on it being "girlish." I looked and looked for a more masculine kitchen. Finally found one. We were in line to pay for it and had three different people say, "Wow! Your girl is going to be so happy Christmas morning." I was so worried DH would change his mind right then and there, but he glared and said, "It's for our son." The response? :001_huh:

Then MIL found out we were giving DS a play kitchen. She pitched a huge fit, said her father was rolling over in his grave that his great-grandson was getting a girl gift for Christmas. :glare: I informed her that it was not fair that "cooking" is considered a woman's job domestically but being a chef is very much a male-dominated field!

We just got rid of that play kitchen last year. It was one of the best things we ever bought DS. DS loves watching the video of that Christmas. He refused to open any other presents - just played and played with that kitchen all day. Even ate breakfast standing at the kitchen. He was so adorable in his little footed pajamas, eating cinnamon rolls and playing with the kitchen.

But we always struggled finding things to go with the kitchen, like a green tea set vs. pink or lavender.

I totally agree that Alton Brown needs to come out with a line of children's cooking accessories. My DS would have loved a play mixer with flames!

DS is getting two new cookbooks this year - a cupcake one and a Star Wars one. I know he will love both!

 

For the record, my DS actually loves pink! He doesn't have a problem telling people it is his favorite color, though he also likes green if pink is inappropriate for something.

Now, I did let him buy pink fuzzy Hello, Kitty socks the other day, with the understanding that they are to wear at home only. The other day he did school while still wearing his camo pajamas -- and pink fuzzy Hello, Kitty socks. :lol: I thought about taking a picture of him, but decided he would hate me when he was older!

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I'd make something specifically geared to him. Get him a set of his own measuring spoons and cups, a cake pan, etc. It's not an easy bake oven but I personally think those things are weird. I remember sitting in my friend's room for hours making french fries and cakes. We'd sit there and cook for the longest time waiting to have enough of something to actually eat and not just nibble. :)

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What is it with boys and pink? My DS also loves pink - it is his favorite color. Interesting, his best bud, a girl, prefers blue or green and hates pink or purple.....match made in heaven, huh? LOL

 

One of the things DS (6) asked for this year is a Baby Alive.....sure, why not?

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Glad I'm not alone. Ds loves his light sabers and gun toys, but he did recently buy a Ken doll with money he had earned. Dh was mortified, but felt better when ds used Ken as a "warrior":lol: Maybe I'll get the easy bake oven and tape some boy faces from a magazine over the girls....think he would notice?!?!:)

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I'd make something specifically geared to him. Get him a set of his own measuring spoons and cups, a cake pan, etc. It's not an easy bake oven but I personally think those things are weird. I remember sitting in my friend's room for hours making french fries and cakes. We'd sit there and cook for the longest time waiting to have enough of something to actually eat and not just nibble. :)

:iagree: I always look at those ovens, and then think about buying miniature pans and such instead, and then think "Who wants just one tiny cake when there are 6 people in the house?". I've decided to just do baking days with the kids helping me instead. I would like to get them some chef's hats and aprons though.

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For me, one of the most positive things about homeschooling has been avoiding all the gender conformity that comes with school. I see it so clearly. Once we were at a homeschooling park thing in the afternoon then went to T-ball practice. Ds was wearing his purple pants. At the homeschool thing, no one said anything. At T-ball, where all the kids are schooled, literally every kid had something to say about it. :glare:

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Why do toy companies feel the need to market so many toys that could be for either gender to just one? I KNOW my ds7 would love an Easy bake oven, but he is so turned off by the three girls on the box. Seriously, they couldn't have had a little boy and girl? Don't boys like making treats as much as girls. I will likely still get him one, maybe take it out of the box. It's just so annoying. It's the same with so many craft type things. Ds is very crafty, but he assumes all the kits out there are only for girls because they come in pink packaging with girls on the box. Just annoying....that's all:)

 

 

When my son was young they had a pizza bake oven for boys. If you look hard enough you can find just about any toy for either gender.

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Ds got a play kitchen the same year he got a ride on forklift for Christmas. It took some work to find a less girly kitchen, but man we had fun with that for years.

 

Maybe Alton Brown needs to design a line of toys for children.

 

I have absolutely no idea why kitchen are marketed to little girls. In every family that I am very familiar with it is the man that does the cooking, my hubby, my SIL, my future SIL. We decided that it is a prerequisite for joining the family. :D By the way, I do believe that my grandson is getting a kitchen for Christmas although I must admit that the one he is getting looks pretty gender neutral: http://www.amazon.com/Step-737200-LifeStyle-Custom-Kitchen/dp/B000KGAFTU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291334475&sr=8-1

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What is it with boys and pink? My DS also loves pink - it is his favorite color. Interesting, his best bud, a girl, prefers blue or green and hates pink or purple.....match made in heaven, huh? LOL

 

One of the things DS (6) asked for this year is a Baby Alive.....sure, why not?

 

I have a brother whose favorite color is pink. He still has a stuffed pink dinosaur from when he was a kid.

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For me, one of the most positive things about homeschooling has been avoiding all the gender conformity that comes with school. I see it so clearly. Once we were at a homeschooling park thing in the afternoon then went to T-ball practice. Ds was wearing his purple pants. At the homeschool thing, no one said anything. At T-ball, where all the kids are schooled, literally every kid had something to say about it. :glare:

 

It depends on the homeschooling circle, as some homeschoolers are quite focused on clear lines between genders, even during playtime. See Vision Forum's catalog as a good example.

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Books too. Recently in the UK, 'girl' books are all packaged pink. 'Ballet Shoes' was on the school's suggested reading list for children in Hobbes' class, so I took it out of the library. He just couldn't quite bring himself to read it - despite happily reading books about girls. I left it on the back seat of the car and he ended up reading it one day when bored (sneaky Mum technique) and enjoying it, as did Calvin.

 

Laura

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The simple answer is because they are a business trying to make money, and so they do vast amounts of research to find what will sell the most product.

 

My girls used to ask for a lot of "boy toys" for every holiday. If anyone said anything negative about their choices, it taught them to stick up for themselves. My dd hated pink and purple (still does, somewhat,) and so she always wanted boy boots each winter, for example. No one picked on her, because the first time they said something, she would say, "Yeah, so?" :D It made her a less than satisfying target. ;)

 

My son had two older sisters, so he played with baby dolls and the doll house. His sisters had mostly boy toys (K'Nex, Lego, Matchbox, etc.,) so he never had a chance at many other girl toys, though. He also does a lot of crafts. There are a ton of "boy" crafts, you just have to look a bit harder: trucks and cars to make out of Perler Beads, wooden dinosaur models to build, bugs out of Sculpey, etc. There's even camo yarn to knit with!

 

We had this discussion in my online education class, and I saw a lot of, "but my kids can't play with that because society says it's not okay." :001_huh: March over to the girl/boy aisle and get what you want. :001_smile:

 

I agree with a pp, don't get an Easy Bake anyway. They are lame. Get a nice "Jr. Baking" type set. They are usually gender neutral, and they can bake real things that taste good. A 7 yo is perfectly capable of using an oven safely with a little adult supervision.

Edited by angela in ohio
typo
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I have absolutely no idea why kitchen are marketed to little girls. In every family that I am very familiar with it is the man that does the cooking, my hubby, my SIL, my future SIL. We decided that it is a prerequisite for joining the family. :D By the way, I do believe that my grandson is getting a kitchen for Christmas although I must admit that the one he is getting looks pretty gender neutral: http://www.amazon.com/Step-737200-LifeStyle-Custom-Kitchen/dp/B000KGAFTU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291334475&sr=8-1

 

It's like that in our house too. The guys cook.

 

Anyway, several years ago, my SIL got my DS a boy's version of the Easy Bake, called the Queesy Bake. It was all about putting a gross twist on those treats, but the same idea and the oven was in green and purple. Is that still available?

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I'd make something specifically geared to him. Get him a set of his own measuring spoons and cups, a cake pan, etc. It's not an easy bake oven but I personally think those things are weird. I remember sitting in my friend's room for hours making french fries and cakes. We'd sit there and cook for the longest time waiting to have enough of something to actually eat and not just nibble. :)

 

Great idea!!! My girls hated their easy bake oven because they ended up splitting a cookie the size of a checker between the three of them. They would much rather help out in the real kitchen. You could go even further and get him some cheap cake and cookie mixes and icing. And a chef's hat! What fun!!

 

I only have girls, but I hate that things like legos and tools are mostly geared towards boys. I remember spending hours playing legos with my little brother. And I still love me some power tools!!

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The simple answer is because they are a business trying to make money, and so they do vast amounts of research to find what will sell the most product....

 

March over to the girl/boy aisle and get what you want. :001_smile:...

 

:iagree:

 

Buy what you want. It's a marketing ploy. Statistically more of one gender would buy x, so they market it toward that gender.

 

If your son is having issues because he thinks something is for girls because of the pictures on the box, then you should probably tell him about marketing "liars." It is an excellent teaching opportunity, plus will teach him to discern truth and question other things later, like propaganda.

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Play kitchen was a hit when my boys were little, too. We bought a wooden one designed for pre-schools from Lakeshore. It was in primary colors, and got a lot of use!

 

I was never a "girly-girl" as a child--I preferred Legos and Hot Wheels cars myself. Never had dolls. I did once buy a Barbie because all my friends seemed to like them, but she quickly was forgotten. I loved Playmobile! As an adult I'm still not a "girly-girl", though I do love a day at the spa and have developed a fondness for pink--it helps me find my stuff in a house with all males.

 

Honestly, I think cheap toys are marketed to the lowest common denominator, and that the average parent spends no time at all thinking about the social implications of pink pots and pans with girl pictures. But I would also guess that most of us on this board are far more intentional about purchases, gifts, etc. Almost all of our purchases are online anymore.

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When my son was young they had a pizza bake oven for boys. If you look hard enough you can find just about any toy for either gender.

 

They have a Chuckee Cheese Pizza Oven at Kmart and Big Lots this year. All of my kids want one. I totally get the gender thing. I think it has been a bit easier for us b/c we had the girls first and people kind of assume we handed down girly things some times.

My ds3 has an elmo kitchen which is great if you can find one. I thought my dh would give a fit over it, but he didn't and ds loves it!!!

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If possible, I take the toys out of the packaging, so they can't know that it had a bunch of girls on the box.

 

It's harder if they won't even LOOK at the item in the store to decide if they want it. But if it's something they want (like the toy kitchen examples above), then buy it, but get it out of the box before they see all the girls on the packaging.

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We just purchased a play kitchen for ds2 this evening. We found a red and white wooden one at Target, as well as a set of stainless pans and accessories to go with. He is going to love it!

 

I remember getting an Easy Bake Oven when I was a kid and being really disappointed with the whole thing.

 

Have you tried looking for a smaller toy store that sells more gender-neutral items? We have a great shop downtown that sells lots of neat art supplies, books, educational items, puzzles, wooden toys, etc. It's pricier than Walmart but the selection is amazing!

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We just purchased a play kitchen for ds2 this evening. We found a red and white wooden one at Target, as well as a set of stainless pans and accessories to go with. He is going to love it!

 

Oh, I'm so glad they're selling a gender-neutral kitchen at Target again! We got a gorgeous blue one there for our daughter, but a year or so later I noticed that the Target kitchen had been redesigned to be pink and white. I bet they got a lot of complaints from people who would have bought the blue one for their sons.

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Not all toys sellers market things this way.

 

 

www.novanatural.com

 

They are more costly, but a few really wonderful & well-made toys are going to have greater play value & longevity. Our little play kitchen is still getting used, and still looks calming and engaging in my living room for little friends and relatives, all these years later. The little animals, blocks etc., are also all still going strong.

Edited by LibraryLover
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They do it because, I would assume, the overwhelming majority of customers do not buy kitchens and the like for their sons and may look with askance at a product that they view as for girls attempting to appeal to boys. Those companies that attempt to market to both sexes are obviously seeing a trend or niche that the other manufacturers do not.

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Ds got a play kitchen the same year he got a ride on forklift for Christmas. It took some work to find a less girly kitchen, but man we had fun with that for years.

 

Maybe Alton Brown needs to design a line of toys for children.

 

For us, it was a sewing machine. The case was barbie-pink. Ds wanted to sew stuffed animals and little pouches for treasure hunts.

 

Turned out it was a decent machine to start with but inadequate for his skill after a season. But it was irksome that they couldn't make the case and accessories a more neutral light blue, purple, green.

 

Crafty boys here as well. It's discouraging when perfectly good crafts are so decidedly gender-specific.

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My daughter wanted an easy bake last year, so we put together a supply kit of real baking supplies instead. Cake pans, a great kids cookbook, and some fun measuring tools and utensils. She loved it, and spent Christmas day making cakes for our neighbours!

 

As for the gender issue, I think that will continue to be a problem for as long as people keep reinforcing it as being a problem. This makes me especially sad in cases where the kids don't care but the parents start disallowing it -- that's a pretty powerful message to send. When more boys and girls start playing with/wearing whatever they like and aren't discouraged from doing so, then it will become less and less of an issue.

 

I'm feeling especially annoyed on this front today as my 5yo has recently heard that pink is a girl colour, and refused to sit in a pink seat today because of it. Grr.

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This page has several non-pink kitchens. Some of them actually look masculine. I love the red one, myself!

 

:iagree:

 

The red one reminds me of that guy on The Food Network with the snazzy red appliances in his kitchen.

 

Oh, I found him--turns out his name IS Guy! lol!

 

http://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/behind-the-scenes-on-guys-big-bite/pictures/index.html

 

Now that's a kitchen *I'd* love. :coolgleamA:.

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