So since we're already in a thoughtful mood, let's reflect a bit on what's to be found on the toy shelves for our girls.
Ever since my daughter was very small, I've been on an endless hunt to supply her with toys that will stimulate her mind and exercise her body. It was easy when she was a baby. Simple blocks and balls, and more sophisticated toys with lights, texture and sound were perfect for helping her little mind grasp concepts of cause and effect, increasing her motor skills, and encouraging her to explore and understand the world.
But as she got older, the smart toys started getting harder to find. Just step into the girl's toy section of any department store. First, take a moment to regain your equilibrium, since you're sure to be knocked off balance by the glittery tidal wave of pink packaging.
Once your eyes have adjusted to the frou-frou, take a look around. You'll find a common theme among the product on the shelves:
• Let's get dressed up for a party, performance or night on the town!
• Let's have our makeup done for a party, performance or night on the town!
• Let's have our hair done for a party, performance or night on the town!
• Let's perform (dance, sing or model) and be super stars!
• Let's be brides or princesses or cheerleaders!
• Let's decorate our rooms!
• Let's go shopping!
I could go on and on. These themes are nothing new. Even with the introduction of more educational/less gender specific brands like Leap Frog and Little People, the standard girl-themes still prevail. I thought we may have had a "real-girl" mascot in Dora the Explorer.
After all, this little munchkin was using her brain, a boot-clad monkey, a talking map, and her adorable mastery of two languages to solve problems and save the day. But alas, now even daring Dora has gone all mermaid/princess on us.
Seriously, I'm a versatile Mama. I think I've given my girl a good start with a nice mix of challenging games and educational toys. So a few of the popular toys with their sad little "life-is-all-about- looking good and having fun" messages can't hurt too much. After all, it's all about what I teach her, not what she learns from her toys, right?
That being said, this should be the end of my post. But then again…
…there's always THIS!Well DAMN! You can't even be a regular old horse in this vapid, image-obsessed world of ours? You have to put on pumps and a wedding dress and vamp it up in front of a mirror? Come on, toy makers. Let the ponies be free….