“Dreaming of a Pink Christmas”

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Essay here at the f-word in which Rosalyn Ball looks at how girls and boys toys are   segregated along strict gender lines. Below is an excerpt:

… There have been various authentic scientific studies on these subjects but let me give you a few of my own experiences on one visit to Toys R Us. There is a very obvious area designated for girls and these aisles are a sea of candy pink plastic and fluff. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that what can be found in these aisles is make-up kits, dolls, dressing up clothes including ‘Dream Dazzlers’, angels, princesses (all pink) and a witch outfit (black with pink trim!). In these aisles I found many ‘baby’ dolls and many ‘teen’ fashion dolls, all packaged in pink. In a less pink aisle I found a play-kitchen and a play-ironing board. These items were not in pink boxes but unsurprisingly had pictures of girls on the boxes. So to recap, girls toys reflected motherhood, domestic chores, physical appearance, passive activities and PINK!

To the boy’s aisles and the contrast is marked. Most products, like the pink in the girl’s aisles, are distinguished by their ‘boyish’ red, black and dark blue colours. There are cars, wrestling figures, toolkits with only pictures of boys on the boxes, weapons like the very unpleasant and large ‘Ninja Sword’ with sound effects. Costumes included a fireman, Power Rangers, cowboy and pirate hats, ‘Fantastic 4′ character outfits complete with rippling padded biceps and six-pack. These aisles suggest boys play involves mechanics, action, fighting and athleticism. …

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