Little girls like pink things, and little boys go for blue, brown and camouflaged. That’s the traditional thinking, and that’s how it often appears in the toy aisles. Girly items there. Boyish items here.
But lately the lines have gotten blurred. Toy makers have realized that with more aggressive and take-charge role models being presented on film and television to young girls, it’s time to come up with, yes, pink weapons. Not pink bows, but pink bows-and-arrows. Pink guns.
Earlier this month, I wrote a blog post about the gender heroine gap that seemed to be closing a bit (but not enough), thanks to what seemed to be an increase in female heroines. Those popular, fierce female characters in films have not gone unnoticed by toy companies, especially thanks to the Hunger Games movies.
Did you know there’s a Katniss Everdeen Barbie? And with new movie Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley, there’s a Barbie doll for her character Tris, complete with chest tattoo.
The concept is causing parents’ heads to spin, notes The New York Times, quoting one mother as saying her seven-year-old daughter likes being “girly”, but also loves “the hero and being in charge.” Others wonder about encouraging their daughters to play war games, something they uneasily tolerate with their sons. The Rebelle line of toys from Nerf, introduced last year, features pink products with taglines such as: “Who says you can’t look angelic while you launch a crossbow attack? Arm yourself with the stylish power of the Guardian Crossbow blaster!” And, “Who says you can’t be a heartbreaker with fiercely accurate aim? Arm yourself with the stylish power of the Heartbreaker Bow blaster!”
Good Morning America, following up on the story, talked to a little girl who said a sparkly bow and arrow was “cool.”
One child psychologist told the Times that girls should be allowed to act on their aggressive impulses to see how they play out, but questioned the idea of using pink, sexy weapons to do it. A parenting expert interviewed on GMA said if there are weapons for boys, there should be weapons for girls.
Toymakers say it’s all about equal-opportunity play.
What do you say?