Ten years ago I was in a particularly rabid part of my action-figure collecting phase and was at Toys R' Us looking for one figure or another, wandering the action figure aisle, which contained Spider-Man, pro-wrestling fugures, GI Joe figures, etc... All toys the store, the toy manufacturers, their marketing people, and seemingly most of customers, seemed to believe were aimed at boys.
A very young boy, probably no older than four or five - old enough to start knowing what toys he wanted to go look at on his own instead of having toys handed to him - was standing down the aisle while his mother stood near an empty cart. She waited for another mother to roll into the aisle with a child of a similar age (also a boy), and the first mother began addressing the newly arrived mother.
"Can you believe this?" she said, making sure her voice was loud enough for everyone on the aisle to hear. "They're dolls. My son wants to play with dolls
. That's all these are
." She made sure to roll her eyes and make big hand waving gestures. Her son just sort of tensed up. This was clearly not new behavior from mom.
"Well," said the other mother, more quietly. "He knows what he likes."
," laughed the first mother, making sure she got the point across. "I can't wait
for him to realize that."
To break it down:
1. Forget the clear marketing at boys (something geek girls complain about regularly), these are
dolls, if that is your definition. But they're also dolls with bazookas and anti-aircraft weaponry and robot arms and what-not.
2. These are not dolls in the traditional Raggedy-Ann sort of fashion.
3. If your son IS playing with Raggedy-Ann, God help him because I suspect you'll make his life a living hell.
4. Way to emasculate your child in front of a store full of strangers. In no way will that
sort of thing come back to haunt you both.
5. It wasn't clear what toys this mom thought were okay for 5 year old boys to play with, but it was pretty clear she wasn't too up on what 5 year old kids actually do.
6. Nor did she notice "this aisle is literally full of people all shopping for the very items I am ridiculing. Maybe I'm a bit of a jack-ass".
7. We may not like it from an abstract sociological standpoint, but toys are actually sold differently to boys and girls. The exact same toys, sometimes.
Pursuing this conversation is, of course, a politically correct landmine, as it treads into the territory of "what is" versus "what we think" or "what a white paper clearly demonstrated" or, basically, the cynical realities created by forces of nature, nurture, culture and marketing forces stronger than your best laid plans. And the fact that when money is involved, all you have to do is consider that businesses are either growing or they are failing, and the rest just shakes out. And why even getting your hackles up over this development is kind of weird.
Lego is taking heat over the recent introduction of Lego toys colored pink and purple and made extra cute.
Online and in social media, I have seen a lot of people complaining about Lego's latest efforts.