With Holiday shopping season in full swing, I have been thinking about the 1993 Barbie Liberation Organization movement we learned about earlier this year. The movement was particularly genius because it targeted the people who strengthen the market for gendered toys and pushed parents to think about what their children were learning about gender stereotypes, violence, and their freedom to creatively express themselves by only playing with certain toys. While I think the Barbie liberation Organization was successful in gaining media attention, it was a small step in a long fight against a consumer culture that perpetuates damaging gender stereotypes. Recently, the toy company GoldieBlox came out with an ad that quickly went viral. In the ad girls dropped their dolls to work together to build an intricate contraption. The company is attempting to encourage young girls to be interested in building and science. A recent Times Magazine article, entitled “The War on Pink: GoldieBlox Toys Ignite Debate Over What’s Good For Girls” by Eliana Dockterman explores the way in which the GoldieBlox ad has illuminated concern among a growing number of parents who are starting to question the gendered toys they buy for their children (the link to the article is below). I thought it was interesting to compare the Barbie Liberation Organization with the GoldieBlox campaign. While one movement was by an outside group attempting to disrupt people’s perceptions of gendered toys through a shocking act of interference, a toy company has sought to gently change people’s mentalities by creating toys that defy gender stereotypes. While GodlieBlox has received some criticism for still maintaining relatively gendered packaging and a ‘girly’ appeal, I think the company is headed in the right direction.
Do you guys think that to change the market to offer more gender neutral toys it is more effective to perform acts of defiance that make people think, or to provide toys that people can buy for their children?
Times Magazine Article
This is a very cool resource I found that explores different acts of defiance people have engaged in to capture the public’s attention