Friday, December 18, 2009

Mommy, I need a tissue!

Whew. I just breezed in from my time travel experience. Wow. Sure am glad to be back in this decade again. I went into the past about 60 years, and then caught a glimpse of the future in the next 30, and let me tell you: this is the time to be a woman.

I went through the entrance of a place called Toys R Us (although my computer won't let me do that adorable little backward R). I'd heard that other people with kids make pilgrimages. I think I went once, to return something. Our kids have toys, I assure you (is anyone from CPS reading this?). And some of them are indeed plastic and occasionally trendy. Today, however, instead of entering into a toy store, I seem to have wandered in to a time machine.

After I passed through the corridor of zinging lights and red and green, I found myself smack dab in the 1950's.

There were the pink aisles. And the blue aisles. In the pink aisles I found miniature domestications. Strollers, cribs, easy bake ovens, dolls, dolls, dolls, dolls that made Barbie look progressive. Dolls that poop and pee. Dolls that cry: "Mommy I need a tissue!" (SOOOO cute!!!! Right?). Not wanting risk any misconception that some toys could be gender neutral, they applied thick layers of pink plastic to everything. Pink radios, pink computers, pink guitars, pink micro-scopes (those were the special edition super-weak ones) and pink vomit (that was mine!).

And then on the blue side of the store (divided by an impossibly wide crevasse of aisle) there were all sorts of cool toys, toys that used batteries for something more interesting that crying, toys with buttons (and if those buttons caused poop it was COOL poop), toys without toy diapers, toys that vroomed, toys that built, toys with courage, toys with balls, really.

Call me an old fashioned femi-nazi, but I found this array of crap to be so disheartening, so disgusting, so frighteningly back slid, that I almost started crying myself, "Mommy! I need a tissue!"

What the hell is going on here? I'd seen some glimpses of modern culture through the fingers I've had slapped over my eyes this past decade, but holy crap. Do girls really find changing a pretend diaper to be the most exciting thing they want to do all day? I would expect there to be some girls like this. But that's all there is. That's it. There aren't any other options. There's nothing exciting about girl toys. AT ALL.

I want boy toys myself. Yo, Santa, get me a remote control ANYTHING!! I love that shit. But DON'T GET ME AN EFFING REFRIDGE!! I'm sure I speak for many stifled little girls right now.

The only truly gender neutral thing I found was the McDonald's kiosk, with plastic patties to flip, and a dorky little visor. So, both boys and girls can proudly cross the gender divide, equally earning minimum wage and pimples galore. Thank god it's not all going to crap.


  1. Maybe it is the natural swing of the pendulum, or the economic hard times, but I definitely am feeling this trend toward regressing to the traditional when it comes to gender roles, even as-- or maybe partly because-- men lose unprecedented amounts of economic and employment and education ground to women (a to be expected shift as we attempt to move ever toward something more like a meritocracy). I love Mad Men as much as the next... but I'm starting to wonder if its popularity is yet another symptom of this desire to regress. In an uncertain world we've decided that it was much more comforting back when people had roles and knew where they stood in the world. Ugh. Read my facebook link about the new Dockers ad campaign... so horrifying!


    That was awesome. One question: since when are khaki's "manly"? To me, nothing says customer service underling like khaki's. Tuck in a nice polo and put on your biggest "please scream at me" smile. And they NEVER shout "power and money". No matter who's wearing them. But now that you're over on the Other coast, you probably have to wear and see them a lot. Are they "man"lier when worn near the Atlantic?

  3. Thanks to Jessica for this link!

    I might mention that the type of pink in use right now is also offensive. Not the sweet dainty pink that can look so pretty, not the dark sultry pink of the bordello (although that would also be inappropriate for girls, HELLO!), but it's this nasty pink, garish, glaring, stupid, brash pink. In short, it's Richard Simmons Pink.

    So glad I'm not the only one who's noticed and is up in arms about this! Some might see irony in a stay at home mom balking at pink motherly toys, but I don't. I'm still ambivalent about my choice. And I love having the option to work and do other things, if I need or want it. As with all "choice" issues, it makes the route I took feel like a choice, like mine, and not some forced straight jacket of fate.

    And I won't be a stay at home mom forever. We've all got to be thinking about what's next.

  4. oh, i agree. also missing from crap r us: building toys. i went in a few months ago to find some simple construction toys for my classroom and there was NOTHING. there was, however, an aisle full of lego sets to put together to create some product tied to a movie or tv show. i like to think that the parents of my students recognize the ridiculousness of this store and stay far away. i also like denial! -rachel



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