GoldieBlox, a start-up toy company, recently posted this advertisement on Youtube to promote their engineering toys to young girls. The advertisement suggests that girls don’t want dolls and pink fluffy hearts to play with, toys that have been traditionally reserved for them. Rather, they want to play with the same toys that boys do: toys that allow them to construct, engineer and invent.
I struggle with this ad on a personal level. On one hand, the ad’s message would have appealed to me as a young girl. I despised the pink nail polish and costume jewelry that I was given as kid, and would have much preferred engineering toys. I would have seen this ad as an affirmation of my preferences, even as a suggestion that my preferences were superior to others. Yet there’s a problem there. I doubt that every girl (or every boy!) prefers construction sets to dolls and nail polish. This video may marginalize those children by implying that a preference for traditionally masculine toys is better than for traditionally feminine toys.
Bordo claims, though with regard to body fat, that “taking on the accoutrements of the white, male world may be experienced as empowerment by women” (209). Do you think that this ad reflects a desire of women to claim power by acting like men? Do you think that this ad undermines the notion that sex causes gender, or promotes it? Do you think that this advertisement is subversive to gender norms, or reinforces them? What are the merits and faults of this video?
Bordo, Susan. “Reading the Slender Body.” Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. Berkeley: University of California, 1993. Print.