Bored of Princesses

Only one in seven engineers is female. (Huhman) GoldieBlox, a toy company that seeks to alleviate this gender imbalance, recently debuted a commercial for engineering toys targeted towards girls. In the advertisement, three girls are bored watching pink princesses on TV, a traditionally feminine image. They grab tool kits, hard hats, and goggles, building a complex machine that eventually turns off the television. In the background, a different version of the song “Girls” by The Beastie Boys plays. “Girls, that’s all we really need is girls/To bring us up to speed it’s girls/Our opportunity is girls/Don’t underestimate girls.” While encouraging girls to take part in traditionally masculine activities, the advertisement also avoids demonizing femininity. Some of the machine and toys advertised are bright colored and pink, but still seen as fun.

Part of the reason there is a large gender gap in “masculine” fields is because girls are not encouraged to pursue them. “[Parents’] treatment of girls and boys is often different and produces gender differences.” (Martin 475) Since “it is widely accepted… that parents, schools, and the media shape gendered behavior to some degree,” (Martin 467) advertisements like this are important in encouraging women to enter technical fields, rather than discouraging them from a field they may love.

Huhman, Heather R. “STEM Fields And The Gender Gap: Where Are The Women?” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 20 June 2012. Web. 28 Nov. 2013.

Martin, Karin A. “William Wants A Doll. Can He Have One? Feminists, Child Care Advisors, and Gender-Neutral Child Rearing.” Gender & Society 19.4 (2005): 456-79. Print.

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