Thursday, 21 November 2013

Goldieblox and the Three Bleurghs ...

This is just a quick post so may not be very eloquent but ...

There's been a lot of talk on Facebook and Twitter about Goldieblox, a brand selling engineering toys for girls. You can see the advert that has got everyone talking here.

I watched the advert and this was my inner monologue; "Aww great, an advert telling people that girls don't have to like pink and princesses ... wow, look at those girls reinventing and subverting their traditionally girly toys ... this is awesome, I bet the product is going to be ... oh."

Why the oh? Well, take a look at the products they offer: pinky-peachy-purply packaging covered with their signature character Goldieblox, with her preposterously voluminous golden tresses and massive eyes, looking like she's wandered out of a Disney movie. And the products themselves? A parade float and a spinning machine? Ooh look girls, you can make these typically girly items but it involves some special magic called engineering!!

I should state, I'm not an engineer. In fact, I'm not sciencey or practical AT ALL - because I'm not of that bent, not because I'm female. I would love it if Toddler grew up to be more practical than me, but I wouldn't want to encourage this by giving her a product which says, "hey, you can do engineering, as long as it's ultimately related to something feminine!" I'd much prefer her to play with Lego or Meccano or something similarly gender neutral. Because those things should be gender neutral, no matter what people think.

I really doubt that the way to get girls into science is to give it a pastel princess rebranding. The way to get girls into science is to give them the opportunity to play with toys encouraging these interests as early as possible, before the world of marketing has convinced that they need to be a pastel princess.

And that's me off my soapbox. I need to tidy up Toddler's Duplo. She built a house this morning. Yeah.


  1. Totally agree - you've put it perfectly. The (non-pastel) primary colours of old-fashioned Lego - the kind you can build anything with, not the "here's the one thing you have to assemble in preparation for a life of shopping at IKEA" kind - seem perfectly fine as a non-gendered toy to engage the engineering part of any child's brain.

    (That said, the advert did annoy my "why can't she just be a girly girl" mother. So there's that.)

    1. Thanks! Yes, I don't understand the need for gendered engineering toys (including the horrible 'girly' version of Lego) - surely, if anything, they tell girls that the wider world of gender-neutral Lego and other construction toys are NOT for them to play with?!

      I actually have no issue with girls being girly if they so wish. And I know that you can be girly AND a scientist. But I don't like the way girls seem to be told they HAVE to be girly by this kind of product, or that everything they do should be feminised in some way.

      *climbs back off soapbox*

  2. Oh dear. You're right. I had a vague sense of unease when I saw the cartoon character too but brushed it aside because I so want to champion the spirit of the advert.

    1. Yes, the advert is AMAZING, it's just such a shame that the products let it down. But good to see an advert that points out just how stereotyped most girls' toys are!