Daily Inspiration From Around the Web

Genderized Toy Ads

It is so amazing to look at toys from the small beginnings of the feminist movement in the 60s and 70s and compare them to today. I know that the pink and purple overload on modern girls toys has little to do with feminism, and more to do with marketing, but it is still a shock to see how much we have regressed in what kinds of things are acceptable for our girls to play with.

When I was little I loved loved loved the Littlest Pet Shop toys. I was obsessed with dogs and their dogs came in all breeds, doing all sorts of cute things. Yes, they were “adorable” and not hyper-realistic. But they still looked like animals. 

In the 2000s The Littlest Pet Shop toys were purchased by Hasbro. Here’s what they look like today:

And these posh puppies don’t do things like play fetch. They shop and put on make up and babysit cute baby animals.
The new My Little Ponies line has spawned a male fan club known as “Bronies.” But that’s clearly so unusual for a guy to like something as girlified as My Little Ponies (sarcasm) that they got their own documentary to highlight the weird guys that would like these toys.
In one of my favorite books, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Peggy Orenstein points out the exact moment princess and pretty culture took over. It was when a Nike executive took over Disney marketing and decided to market all of the princesses together, separate from their stories and other characters, specifically to girls. It worked wonderfully and every other toy brand has been copying it since. Now add the popularity of anime and you can see what has taken over girls toys (note, despite the popularity of anime comics, videogames, and movies for boys, it is only girls toys that have undergone the bug eyed, stars everywhere, and fashion obsessed transformation.)
I think it upsets me so much because I’m starting to realize that I lived in probably the best time period for toys. When I was growing up everything was about girl power. But not just any kind of girl power. Third Wave Feminist kind, where you can be a girl and still be absolutely awesome. Spice Girls kind of awesome. You saw girls in sports everywhere, Barbie was focused on her career, toys were still meant to mimic real life, not cartoons, and everything wasn’t separated into girls and boys. 
I’m not the kind of person who is against my daughter playing princess or my son playing with swords. In fact, I like having domestic toys like kitchens and vacuums around. I think it’s fun for kids to mimic what Mommy  or Daddy does. But why oh why does a girls blender have to be pink and swirl around glitter??? I’ve never put glitter in my blender! And if all is equal then why are my sons hammers not in various shades of blue and don’t make an explosion sound when you hit them against something??? 
 I was so horrified to see what Lego did, making horse and fashion and baking toys in all pinks and purples just for girls. Do we really need things just for girls? Or just for boys? C’mon lego and other brands…what happened to all those beautiful primary colors? What happened to plain toys that you had to use your imagination with instead of already coming with their own plot lines? Here is a great article about more toys that have gotten the girly treatment.
ugh, i am so so disappointed with toys.
Tiny House Swoon
I really love small houses. Not really those ones people build on trailers that look like a fancy shed but just houses that are tiny. 
Adorable little cottages. This website is full of them and you get to see inside too!
Roulottes
Which led me to this.
I would give just about anything to live in a gypsy wagon but staying the night in one is close enough. I wish so much I was a bohemian.
Food Growing Summit

You should all head on over to foodgrowingsummit.com and sign up for their free online lecture series from March 3rd-7th. They have some pretty big names like Joal Salatin, Vandana Shiva, and Will Allen. You can check out all the speakers as well as the topics here.

“Just a Mom”

Matt Walsh is…ok. Sometimes I like him and sometimes I don’t. But I read awhile ago his post about defending his wife’s choice to stay at home with their children. It’s been making its rounds again and so I thought I would mention it this time. Although he says some great things about stay at home moms, I think what he says about cultural values is much more important.
I got in an argument once with one of my professors about jobs that are typically “women” jobs. Think secretary and teacher. Her liberal feminist argument was that these jobs were demeaning and she was tired of having girls come into her class and say “but i’m becoming a teacher because I WANT to, not because I feel like I should because I’m a woman!” She, obviously, thought that women were not drawn to these jobs but instead they were forced on them by a sexist society that wants to place them in subservient roles.
But I felt, and still do feel, that there is nothing inherently wrong about jobs like being a teacher and it is instead women’s job to elevate that status of “women’s jobs” rather than simply try to abandoned those positions for more presigious ones. If our culture is really so patriarchal then isn’t our desire to adhere to patriarchal ideals of success part of the problem?
As Matt Walsh puts it:
“Finally, it’s probably true that stay at home moms have some down time. People who work outside the home have down time, too. In fact, there are many, many jobs that consist primarily of down time, with little spurts of menial activity strewn throughout. In any case, I’m not looking to get into a fight about who is “busier.” We seem to value our time so little, that we find our worth based on how little of it we have. In other words, we’ve idolized “being busy,” and confused it with being “important.” You can be busy but unimportant, just as you can be important but not busy. I don’t know who is busiest, and I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. I think it’s safe to say that none of us are as busy as we think we are; and however busy we actually are, it’s more than we need to be.”
Here is the rest of the post.
So is a job really better because you’re busier or have a bigger office or are paid more? No. Absolutely not. And that kind of mentality is something that really needs to not only be broken down but destroyed and crushed underfoot. Because as much as some people think we need to, women are not going to suddenly stop staying home. Or being teachers. Or whatever else. What needs to change most is our valuation of caring for others. Because that’s what all these “women jobs” really are isn’t it? Stay at home mom, office assistant, teacher, nurse, elderly assistant. It’s all about caring for others. Really, there’s not anything that’s worth fighting for more than that.

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