Riley is Woman, Hear Her Roar

Okay, this little girl named Riley isn’t a woman yet, but she would make Helen Reddy proud.

At her young age she already knows that kids shouldn’t be pushed into gender stereotypes. That, even though some little girls (like my 4-year-old) can’t get enough of princesses and pink, many girls also like trucks, superheroes and LEGO sets — the gender neutral kind. And while many boys go crazy over Captain America and Star Wars, many love to play with dolls and join the tea parties.

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  1. There is something about these stories that really gnaw at me…not quite sure how to express it. I’ll try, though, I’ll try.

    Pink is just a color—a part of the visible spectrum of light with a specific wavelength. (Or more specifically, a mixture of wavelengths that the brain “sees” as pink.) Girls tend to like it but it is deemed by society to be an inferior, pathetic color. Why is this? I suppose it’s because, well, girls like it. I hear of women and men saying that they refuse to dress their baby girls in pink but I don’t think I have ever heard anyone say that they refuse to dress their boy in blue. Why shouldn’t there be Legos of the “softer” color palette? Is it because the original colors are bold and strong, which is what boys tend to like? I don’t see people currently protesting all the Lego and Playmobile toys that seem to suggest violence (i.e., guns, canons, swords, etc.) I don’t really care–I have a boy that thinks that Nerf guns are the greatest toys on Earth and a girl who combs her American Girl’s hair. But what do people mock? The AG Girls. Somehow, among a certain subset of forward thinkers, the American Girl Store is cloying but Legoland and Monster Truck Rallies are acceptable and cool. It’s always irritated me, this attitude. I was a bit of a tomboy myself but my daughter, who is kind, confident and wonderful, likes the “girly” stuff no matter what toys we have offered her. And she likes pink–why is this a problem as opposed to my son who likes blue things and gigantic monster trucks. (He did like pink feather boas when he was young and I have the pictures to prove it, heh heh. Interestingly, this is something to mock as opposed to a girl wearing some article of clothing that is considered very boy-like. But therein the problem lies.)

    What should be celebrated is girls and boys alike using their imagination when playing as opposed to staring at a DS or iPod Touch–that’s the real problem here, not the color of the toys.

  2. Not sure what you’re on about, tudlow. Boys and what they by nature like to do get plenty of opprobrium. Many people are appalled at violent video games, toy guns etc. Classrooms do a better job at accommodating girls and their temperaments.

  3. I just don’t see what the big deal is about pink Legos. I guess people like to be angry about something. I don’t see anybody complaining about the gender stereotyping with all the Star Wars Legos like my son wanted this Christmas. What’s the difference?

    Elementary classrooms, yes, but they have changed somewhat–lots of moving around. And high school classrooms? As far as STEM classes go, it’s more male-centered in my opinion (and it’s a well-informed opinion). Just like in real life. Hmmm, I guess it’s because girls are too busy when they’re young playing with pink Barbie dolls and girly Lego sets.

  4. I have no clear idea why STEM attracts more males than female, or whether the classes are geared to one of the other in high school. I was actually thinking of elementary school, as you say. Perhaps one day we’ll count Larry Summers among Bnet posters, and you can have that argument with him. In the meantime, I will defer to your better informed opinion, though I’m not sure what it is, exactly. That if we would grant girls respect for being girls as opposed to eing more like boys they and we would be better off? I can agree with that.

  5. A pleasure, as always, to read your passive aggressive responses. My apologies for not presenting my opinion in a succinct and clear manner.

    Again, what I am getting at, is that the default seems to be whatever the male prefers. Although plenty of girls enjoy the “traditional” Legos, many did not gravitate toward them. Research shows that girls, on average, prefer role playing and Lord knows many of them like pink. Thus the new Legos. Let the girls chose whichever Legos they want but if you can’t see that there is some kind of judgment of the new version because it is too “girly” then I cannot help you.

    Is Star Wars and fire stations (typical Legos) somehow better than a cafe and salon (new girl Legos)? It’s just different. I’m not afraid that my daughter will give up her dream of being an
    astrophysicist so that she can be a waitress and hair stylist (not that there is anything wrong with that). And we all know that girls may start out wearing a lot of pink but will wear mostly black as stylish young women. So let’s just forgo inviting good ol’ Larry to join the Bnet posters and wrap this one up, shall we?

  6. You misunderstand me, Tud. I am merely trying to understand you, honestly. No aggressiveness, passive or otherwise, was intended. I apologize for not making that clear. Communication, I find, is exceedingly difficult sometimes.

    I think you make an excellent point, and one that my male-oriented self hadn’t considered. So there!

    For what it’s worth, I don’t much like Larry, either.

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