I'll be the first to admit - I have not spent a lot of time in the girl toy aisle since I was a little girl. I have not shopped in that area since becoming an adult, and what I found was, well, shocking. And sad.
Amid the dolls and dress-up clothes, there were lots of grocery carts with fake food in them, plastic vacuum cleaners, and a dust pan. A dust-pan. Complete with its own brush. Scotty and I both looked at each other in confusion, as we both hate sweeping the floor. He made a beeline for the Matchbox cars, and I stood there quietly and fumed.
As a woman - and former little girl - these toys offend me. Here are three chores that I willingly outsource. I hate grocery shopping. I dislike vacuuming, and I detest sweeping the floor. I understand they are necessary evils, but why are we grooming little girls to do these things as children? What was next - Mommy's Little Helper's Toilet Brush? Ew.
Just by chance, I had a little boy (bear, technically). As a result, I've been immersed in the world of cars, trucks, tow trucks, skid steers, garbage trucks, and just about anything else with wheels. It's not specific to what Scotty will be doing as an adult, and it certainly isn't grooming him. It's just play. We don't force him to play with trucks; it just comes naturally to him. For whatever reason, he is drawn to things with wheels, whether it be a truck, street sweeper, or baby stroller. The kid digs wheels.
But these toys - a dust pan?! Is that the best we can do for little girls? I understand little girls want to emulate Mom, but can't they just use a real dust pan? Besides, they are going to sweep a floor thousands of times in their lifetime. Why start now? Not only that, but it feels very limiting. Why are we pushing girls just to be little mothers and just to be good cleaners? They are so much more than that.
I thought about it long and hard, and reflected back to what I did as a kid. In my childhood, there were lots of dolls, books, and art projects. I don't remember any plastic vacuums. (Mom, a little help here?) Maybe there should have been, seeing I am terrible house keeper. But at the same time, I'm a lot more than a house keeper, regardless of my skill level with the Dyson.
Maybe it's not about the chores or what the toys represent, maybe my frustration was a result of how limiting girls' play may feel. They can pretend to be a mom, a shopper, or a maid. Based on this aisle, that's what I gathered. In the boy's aisle, however, boys were not being limited. They could be pilots, policemen, a garbage man, even a super hero. Not a single dust pan in sight.
So with that in mind, I propose the following dolls. Let's not limit girls with gender-specific chores. Little girls deserve more than vacuums and dust pans, right?
(all dolls are inspired by real people I know and admire)
Comes with: briefcase, power suit and cell phone. Ken the Paralegal sold separately.
This Barbie knows her stuff. With a diploma from a reputable law school hanging on the wall behind her, she spends her days writing briefs, arguing in court, and yelling at Ken. She has a sharp mind, a quick tongue, and a desire to always be right. While her tenacity may annoy you at times, you have to admit, she's a great ally to have and loyal to the core.
Comes with: effortlessly trendy wardrobe, calculator, and fancy pencils
Tall and graceful, Architect Barbie has a keen eye for clean lines and a head for numbers. Don't let her calm demeanor fool you; having worked for so long in a male-dominated industry, behind her gray eyes is a steely resolve and the ability to stand her ground. She loves Swedish furniture and white space.
Comes with: lab coat, sneakers, unwavering strength
This Barbie spends her time curing cancer - literally. Her patients love her encouraging, supportive attitude and the fact that she is whip-smart. She never gives up, never says no, and goes out of her way to make others feel comfortable. Oh yeah, and in her spare time, she run marathons.
Comes with: teeny-tiny Junior League name tag, iPhone, and binder. Bottle of Veuve Clicquot sold separately.
This Barbie is more than shift dresses and great shoes; behind it all, she is committed to making her community a better place. She juggles family and work to dedicate countless hours a month to her various committees. Whether she is fundraising, setting up conference calls with other non-profits, or getting her hands dirty at the community garden, Charitable Barbie is happy to be involved and loves making a difference.
Disclaimer: Yes, I understand "Barbie" is a registered trademark for Mattel. I do not subscribe to the body-image issues Barbie is plagued with and am using the term "Barbie" for example only. Please do not send me angry letters. Thanks.