Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What year is it again?

I won't argue that there are innate behavioral differences between males and females.  Cultural gender roles play a much, much larger part in things than a lot of folks are willing to admit, however.  (Anyone who's ever potty trained a little girl who insisted on standing up to pee knows what I'm talking about.)

Even babies are subjected to this, even by the most well-meaning people.  I am not immune, in spite of being sensitized to the issue; I still catch myself telling Marie she's such a pretty baby, even though I don't want my kids to think their worth is wrapped up in their looks.  For whatever reason, people frequently mistake Marie for a boy, just as they did her sisters before her, and it's always amusing to see the way they interact with her change once they realize the whole lack of a penis thing.  There was one fellow in HEB who just refused to get the message; no matter how many times Esther told the dude Marie was her sister, he kept on talking about how she would obviously grow up to be a big, strong man and take good care of her sisters.

So, I'm used to this and you'd think that given that she's my fourth daughter nothing would surprise me anymore.  Generally speaking, it doesn't, but every now and then something will poke me in just the wrong way and be irritating as hell.  The insistence on fairy ballerina kitties as an ongoing motif on girls' clothes is one of those things.  This is another:

This is the pop-up product page from the Fisher Price website.  See that tag-line under the picture? For a busy baby boy!

WTF, Fisher Price?  Here we sit, most of the way through 2011, and the hammer toy is labeled specifically for boys.  And it's not as though there's a pink-and-purple version on the next hanger for girls, as there often is.  Nope, you've gotta have a baby dick to use a baby hammer.  Or something.

To be fair, Fisher Price does have a rattle marketed specifically to girls:

See that?  Baby boys do things.  They're busy.  Baby girls?  Eh, they're just for looks.  Aww, how precious.

For the record?  Yes, yes I did buy this.  The second time I saw it.  The first time, I thought "Well, fuck, if that's only for boys I guess I'll spend my money elsewhere."  Which would have been a great decision on my part...had I not turned around and bought something else by Fisher Price.  Today, though, the thought was "Sexist bastards.  My girl can have a hammer if she wants to." 

So this may be the most brilliantly dastard piece of marketing out there.


Breda said...

For the record, I use a hammer FAR more often than I wear my diamond ring.

I would seriously write a letter to Fisher Price, that is beyond ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Well, of course boys are busy and girls are just there to look pretty. That's why they dress up 3-year olds to look like Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" on that really uplifting show "Toddlers and Tiaras." The girls are meant to shake their little moneymakers, and the pedophiles - I mean, viewers - get to enjoy the show at home. What could possibly go wrong here?

Dave said...

"Toddlers and Tiaras"? Are you serious? We may need to issue Fisher Price hammers to all babies so they can whack any parents who suggest they participate in such nonsense.

Borepatch said...

Somewhat OT, but Marie's great advantage in this world is not that she's pretty (although she is). It's that she's charming. She's a very fun child to be around.

Not sure if you can encourage that, but there's a great virtue there.

(sorry for late commenting; been driving 900 miles ...)