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Toys for boys

(30 Posts)
Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Sun 19-Nov-17 07:39:55

Excellent thread on Twitter here from *@LetToysBeToys*. I've attached a picture from the thread - girls' toys then and now. Put your sunglasses on before looking at the now picture, as the sea of pink may dazzle you otherwise. I think they have a point. Toys were not nearly so gendered when I was growing up in the 1960s. What went wrong?

poooooooop Sun 19-Nov-17 07:52:41

That’s really sad sad

BikeRunSki Sun 19-Nov-17 07:55:17

That’s interesting. I was born in the early 1970s and have 2 older brothers, so the sea of pink was rather alarming when dd was born. Fortunately, she’s really not into the pinkiness of everything, but then finding a non-pink dolls house was really hard! (Also, a dolls house family with a blond son and brunette daughter, all were the other way round).

Presumably this is a purely marketing construct? I don’t understand it, unless it’s purely to sell more, and to sell the same toy twice, to families with boys and girls.

Seven or 8 years ago I wrote to ELC about a globe they were selling. There was a traditional colour one with standard mapping colours - blue water, yellow desserts etc - and one in shades of pink . They replied that they continue to sell it because people buy it; I’ve noticed they don’t sell it anymore.

StinkPickle Sun 19-Nov-17 08:03:26


BikeRunSki Sun 19-Nov-17 08:05:28

I am a member of a forum about Kids’cycling, where there is currently a discussion about whether a Teal bike is “too girly” for a boy. Teal????

MistyMinge Sun 19-Nov-17 08:06:40

It's depressing. I have small boys and they love playing with all of those pretend household, shop, and baby type items. My friend's small boys also love playing with them too. Even if I had girls I wouldn't want all those garish pink items in my house. They're ugly and look nothing like the real thing. Trying to find DS2 a neutral coloured and reasonably priced toy pushchair for his birthday last year was quite a task. I often see people on fb selling sites requesting 'baby walker suitable for a girl' etc. So, unless it's covered on pink it's not for a girl?

moggle Sun 19-Nov-17 08:08:28

I do definitely agree with the campaign BUT that picture is totally staged in that I've seen non pink versions of all of those items while browsing for Christmas presents in the past few weeks. It's not like you can only buy a pink dolls buggy or a pink kitchen. And I bet there were some pink toys back in the 70s!!

Obviously it has got "worse" but it's not like there's no choice at all.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Sun 19-Nov-17 08:08:52

I was wondering about that too, @BikeRunSki. Toys that most people would see as equally suitable for boys and girls coming in pink and blue versions, yes, that would presumably be a desperate attempt to get people to buy them twice.

But not many people who unthinkingly accept blue-is-for-boys-pink-is-for-girls-and-never-the-two-shall-meet would buy a blue doll's house for a boy, would they? Are there even any blue doll's houses? So what's the point in making a doll's house that awful bubblegum pink unless you want to ram home the point that pink is a girl's colour?

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Sun 19-Nov-17 08:16:44

It's a long time ago, but I really don't remember there being anything like this amount of pink stuff when I was a child in the 1960s. My daughter was born in 1992 and I was very taken aback by how much things had changed in toys and clothing. I don't really understand how and why it all changed.

I also have the impression that it is very unusual now for a little girl to have short hair. That was very definitely not the case 40/50 years ago. Short hair is so much easier to look after on a little child. I wonder why that changed?

moggle Sun 19-Nov-17 08:27:02

Im just being devils advocate here as I do agree with what you're saying in general... but isn't girls hair usually a reflection of whatever is fashionable for women? Most women I know with little girls (mostly toddler age) tend to have their girls' hair cut the same way as they do.
Plus looking at my school photos there were a lot of little girls in the 80s with long hair, me included. I've never been one to believe that short hair is always easier, I prefer being able to tie DDs hair up in a ponytail. I can believe hair was shorter in the 70s but wasn't it for everyone? Must admit my SIL has given my 2yo niece basically a bowl cut and it looks adorable on her but pretty dated!

BikeRunSki Sun 19-Nov-17 08:28:06

I also have the impression that it is very unusual now for a little girl to have short hair. That was very definitely not the case 40/50 years ago. Short hair is so much easier to look after on a little child. I wonder why that changed?^
Very much this!!!

I was watching a period film set in a 1950s school with DM (herself born 1940s) . I think it was “Danny Champion of the World”. The attention to period detail was superb, but all the girls had long hair!! DM was adamant that none of her peers was allowed long hair until they were 16.

DD(6)’s only concession to being one of the crowd is to have long hair. But she is an astronaut in a sea of princesses, so i’ll go with that. It’s poker straight and largely plaited. .

MiddlingMum Sun 19-Nov-17 08:30:24

Gasp I know a little girl with a pixie cut. She's about three years old and it looks really lovely. I also know boys with long hair smile

Last year we were at a wildlife park. The shop had lots of cuddly zoo-type animals in natural colours on one shelf, then next to them a similar range but all in bright pink. Pink elephants, pink lions, stripey pink tigers.

I grew up in the 60s when Lego was black, white, red, yellow and blue. I can't get used to all the different colours now. Pink Lego is just
WRONG <gavel>.

In those pictures, part of the huge difference is because of the background colours though.

BikeRunSki Sun 19-Nov-17 08:31:53

I never looked for a blue doll’s house, but dd’s Dolls house is from a range of house-coloured houses. Hers is half brick, half mock Tudor upstairs.

Yes, I do know families who have replicated essentially the sane toy on different colours for sons and daughters, particularly where the daughter came first.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Sun 19-Nov-17 08:48:46

Long hair/short hair - hmm. Yes, my memory is that in the 60s most adult women had short hair, and I think that would also have been true in the 50s, and probably for girls as well as women. In the early 60s for women and teenage girls (not little girls) it would have been permed where funds permitted. Alternatively, and this could be done at home and was often inflicted on little girls, hair could be made curly/wavy with curlers/shampoo-and-sets. Then in the mid 60s along came Vidal Sassoon and beautiful, precise cutting. Straight short hair was the height of fashion.

By the late 60s long, long hair was much more fashionable (on both sexes) and that persisted into the early 70s. When I was first at secondary school I remember noticing that for the older girls skirts were short and hair was long. But that changed over the next few years. Most of my teenage schoolmates had short hair, and so did our mothers.

Was it in the 90s that long hair started to become common on women again? I dimly remember hearing talk of straighteners by the early noughties. Unknown when I was a child, I'd say.

TheBitterBoy Sun 19-Nov-17 09:05:07

My mum used to teach Y1/Y2. I remember her saying that she noticed the change in the early 00's, as she said she used to do a maths exercise where they would make a list of everyone in the class's favourite colour and then they would make a bar graph. She had to stop doing it around 2005 when pink would be the number one colour every time because all the girls would say it was their favourite. Still a wide spread of choices from the boys though. Up until then she said the chart would be much less predictable, with pink quite low down, because the girls would be picking a range of colours. She was quite sad about it.

poooooooop Sun 19-Nov-17 09:23:58

Lol bikerun is that the real islabikes?.... my friends son has the purple one and most people on that thread would say it’s girly!

I hate the ‘non girly’ saying. It’s never said about non boyish!

poooooooop Sun 19-Nov-17 09:25:03


Kpo58 Sun 19-Nov-17 09:36:33

I find the adverts depressing. Every doll advert and most selling toy pets only feature girls, effectively telling boys that these toys aren't for them.

BikeRunSki Sun 19-Nov-17 09:44:24

poooooooop it’s the FB “Preowned Islabikes For Sale and Wanted” group. I’ve been involved in Kids cycling (Bus clubs, coaching etc) for about 5 years, my dc have ridden Islabikes for longer. My understanding is that Isla deliberately use gender neutral colours (hate that term and the idea that there even are gender specific colours), and only brought in pink due to customer demand. My dc (a DS and a dd) bikes have been red, blue, pewter grey and yellow (Wiggins Tour de France win celebratory edition). They’ve been very happy riding them in any colour, largely because they don’t ride them with their genitals!

fantasmasgoria1 Sun 19-Nov-17 10:00:45

I don’t remember any pink toys back in the day! My parents tried to give me “girls” toys but I rejected them in favour of cars, Lego etc I didn’t give my daughter any pink or supposedly girl oriented stuff and she chose art stuff, Lego , skates etc interestingly my brother had a my little pony for a while! I had long hair until my gran cut it without my mums knowledge lol but I was born mid 70s

LittleHearts Sun 19-Nov-17 10:21:40

Really interesting thread.

formerbabe Sun 19-Nov-17 10:26:17

It's about money, that is all.

The more toys people buy, the more money they make. If people feel that boys and girls need seperate toys, the more they will buy.

silkpyjamasallday Sun 19-Nov-17 10:53:26

It's so sobering seeing it set out in a picture like that. I didn't have any pink and girly toys as a young child, I had plastic animals/dinosaurs/wooden train set, lego and duplo, a toy kitchen that was white, red and yellow, the tidal wave of pink wasn't so much a thing and this was only in the early 90s. I remember not liking the my little ponies that I had that weren't 'proper' pony coloured, so the pink and purple sparkley ones I got as gifts weren't played with. DD is having a Ikea kitchen for Christmas, I have painted it dark green with gold and a fake marble countertop (my dream kitchen grin), it was a struggle to find a non pink toy kitchen. I actively avoided all the pink pink pink when I found out I was having a girl, and I'm glad as it means almost everything can be passed on to my friend who is having a boy (and isn't the sort who would let a boy have a pink bouncer). DD is still only little so can't express colour preferences yet, I do hope she doesn't get brainwashed by the girls must have pink everything marketing, but its effects are so strong and widespread, I know it affected me when I was a bit older and my DM was quite resistant to the idea of me having barbies when I requested them because all my friends had them. To be honest I was happier playing with my animals and wasn't really into playing mummies and daddies or whatever, but it's a subtle form of peer pressure, other girls didn't want to play with dinosaurs or farm animals, even though it was totally possible to play out the same scenarios with animals that they did with dolls. I don't want to look down on pinkness and femininity but I do think we need to consider the negative effects that such rigid gender constructs surrounding children's products cause. And not just on girls but boys too.

DP showed me a clip of Russel Howard the other day who was discussing this issue. He showed a boys babygrow with the slogan 'I can do anything' or some such, and a baby's girls one saying 'I hate my thighs' angry and more shit like 'future footballers wife'

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Sun 19-Nov-17 11:00:04

I do think we need to consider the negative effects that such rigid gender constructs surrounding children's products cause. And not just on girls but boys too.

Yes, if you read through that Twitter thread I linked to in the OP, it makes the point about the effect on boys very well. You don't have to be a registered Twitter user to read threads, as far as I know. I see LetToysBeToys have a website too. Don't use Facebook so I don't know what they do there.

poooooooop Sun 19-Nov-17 15:57:00

Yes that’s the page I was thinking runbike I have never (except the pink) seen any of their bikes aimed at any gender.

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