My friend, who was in engineering here, recently posted this ad on Facebook praising it because it offers girls toys that don’t have to do with baking or dolls but instead promote science. The ad shows three girls first staring at a TV screen in complete boredom before creating an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine to shut it off. The ad finishes with the tagline “Toys for Future Engineers,” as the three girls pose with a tool belt, hardhat and goggles.
The ad is great in several ways. It promotes a toy which is very dissimilar to the majority marketed to girls. Most toys “for girls” are dolls, easy bake ovens, play home sets and jewelry making kits. This is of course fine for the girls who are interested in these things, but often girls that are interested in building and inventing find themselves drawn towards the toys for boys because they cannot find anything in the items marketed for their gender. The toy also pushes for girls who will grow up to be scientists and engineers, which are male-dominated professions. Yet the ad falls short in one aspect as it continues to further the gender binary in marketing to girls alone, as if boys and girls must have separate toys because they are fundamentally different. So while the ad does a lot, it still has a little way to go. But I’ll take this as an accomplishment for girl’s toys, and hopefully in the future we can just call them toys.