Gender and Toys; Readers Respond



Girl with a Pearl Earing – Van der Meer (1665-1667)

Would we tolerate segregating toys by race, so white children are allowed to play with some toys and black children are allowed to play with others, as if it were genetically coded into them? 


On February 20 of this year, I wrote a piece entitled: "Boys' Toys, Girls' Toys and the TOTY Awards." That article featured these two statements by me that echoed through the social networks:

'Who assigned the toy industry the responsibility of telling boys and girls with which toys they are allowed to play?"

"Why does the toy industry willingly lose sales by designating its products as off limits to whole gender categories?"

The Pink Boy – Gainsborough (18th Century)

These quotes and the article received some outstanding responses from commenters.  I was so impressed that I am going to share some outtakes with you:

"Consider that stores don’t label the housewares department “women’s” nor the hardware department “men’s.” Libraries don’t categorize books as men’s, women’s, boys’, or girls’.

Crystal Smith – The Achilles Effect

"Toys are part of the entire package of messages about what a child could and should aspire to be" 


Ask me to define a building toy, I can do it. Ask me to define an educational toy, I can do it. Ask me to define an outdoor toy, I can do it. Ask anyone, including the TIA to define a Boy Toy or a Girl Toy and they can NOT do it. If we can't define it, let's stop marketing to it. 

Dan Nessel –


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