Cool Toys for Girls–An Endangered Species?

July 1, 2013

My daughter’s birthday is coming up, and to celebrate the occasion, Toys R Us sends her a $3 gift card. Not that you can get anything there for $3, but it is the thought that counts, I suppose, and the fact that the recipient will want to spend it, and inevitably spend more!

Anyway, we took her there on Saturday to see what she could find. She wanted something Harry Potter, but I warned her they were unlikely to have anything, and that was proved correct. Despite the staying power of the books, the ancillary market seems to have died out after the final movie. Then she wanted something featuring Wonder Woman. Nope–lots of Spiderman, Batman, and Superman, but no Wonder Woman. Then she saw the Star Wars section, and asked if there were any Princess Leias. Again we struck out.

Finally we found ourselves in the Star Trek section, and she saw a Mr. Spock action figure. This is from the classic series, not the reboots, which she has not seen. We have been watching Star Trek on TV, and she thinks Spock is cool, so that is what she wanted. We did another lap of the store to be sure, but Spock it was, and now he stands, ready for action, between her photo of President Obama, which he sent in answer to her letter, and a Harry Potter action figure. I have had trouble finding a Hermione one.

I have no problem with Spock–as I told her later that morning, I thought it was cool that she liked him. However, it would have been nice to come home with a female figure. First, I have to note that all this looking we did took place in the boys’ section of the store. The girls section was pretty much limited to Barbie, My Little Pony, and Disney Princesses. None of which she finds appealing. But as I walked past the pink Easy Bake Oven, I was reminded of the petition started by the girl whose brother wanted said oven and didn’t understand why it only came in pink. My daughter wanted a cool superhero toy, and there was nothing specifically for her. It’s bad enough that we still perpetuate the cars and tools sets are for boys and kitchen sets are for girls mindset in the toy industry. But can’t girls even get the tiniest bone thrown their way?

I left the store wanting to open a toy store of my own and stocking it with cool, non-traditional toys for girls, and maybe boys too. It is unrealistic, but I was annoyed. I don’t think my daughter really realized she was shopping in the boys’ department, but she did notice that the store didn’t have the things she wanted. In the end, however, I am happy she found something she liked.

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Kim Harrison

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