Am I disappointed?
Princess Free Zone has already written up a well-thought out post explaining all the reasons these rattles are feeding into the problem of gender stereotypes (and nicely addresses the "So What?" argument I hear way too frequently).
Of course, I couldn't help but add my own two cents:
Let's break this down quickly. For anyone who has a kid (or anyone with a lick of sense), we know that a 3 month old isn't going to be swayed one way or another based upon a rattle. An infant girl isn't going to play with her faux diamond, pink, plastic rattle and cement her membership in the girly-girl club, nor will an infant boy demand a trip to Home Depot for some tools of his own after gnawing on his hammer rattle.
So why am I getting so riled up about this?
It's because of the fact that Fisher Price feels that babies this young are already categorized by gender and should be catered to as such. They compound the issue with the accompanying phrases on the packaging.
Sweet Baby Girl vs. Busy Baby Boy
These just play into the falsehood of how some of society views babies: Sweet, docile baby girls versus loud, active baby boys. Toys that reinforce this notion simply perpetuate the falsehood.
I'll let Fisher Price in on a little secret...a 3 month old baby girl has no real concept that she's playing with a faux diamond rattle. In fact, she has no idea of the weight that little rattle in her hand actually possesses. Yet, as she grows up, those ideals will continue to be reinforced, over and over again - through toys, clothes, TV shows, movies, and more, until she gets to the point where she starts to buy into it, whether she truly believes in it or not.
Our kid's will be inundated with stereotypical gender messages throughout their entire childhood. Being a new parent is exhausting enough, do we really need to tire ourselves further by dealing with gender stereotypes this early out of the gate?
There are plenty of other options out there...
|EZ chomping on a wooden rattle at 3 months old. No diamonds or hammers here!|
And really, the mama in me is also kind of against these types of toys in general because...why? Why do babies need all this stuff (another post for another time, to be sure).
|EZ playing with a favorite "toy" - a spoon.|
Our consumerist culture has pushed us to the point where diamond rattles for 3 month old baby girls is somehow acceptable. If trends like these catch on, I'm almost fearful of what comes next...
(Toy manufacturers...please don't see that last sentence as a challenge. Really.)