Thursday, November 21, 2013

Is Your Girl Man Enough?

I've seen a lot of content online lately that is trying to give more credit to young girls by not limiting them to be a little beauty queen in the making. Yay, this sounds good! Here's the deal though I HATE to be THAT mom that takes a good thing and finds something negative to say about it, but here goes nothing. I've kind of touched on this before in my response to anti-dove campaign when I said "I am not about to relinquish femininity just because it's been distorted". 

On a similar note I saw a kickstarter campaign last year that talked about a construction toy for girls that would promote building and engineering skills the same way Legos and Erector sets do for boys.

 I loved how creator, Debbie Sterling, did her research to find that making a building toy pink isn't good enough. She found that girls are prone to enjoy reading so she incorporated a book so the toy would be both spacial and verbal and that's how Goldie Blox began. I also love what Sterling has to say about her invention because she acknowledges that girls like to be princesses and play dress up and she embraces that, along with broadening the scope of what girls can do and be! The kickstarter talks about how only 10% of the engineering field is made up of women and Goldie Blox is determined to change that.
Fast forward a year and Goldie Blox is now funded and on the market! I just saw the commercial for it yesterday and I don't want to pick it apart because it's really cute. I even voted for it to be shown during Super Bowl and you can too if you want. 
The commercial shows a group of little girls creating a genius contraption, set to the tune of a Beastie Boys song except the lyrics are changed to 
"Girls! You think you know what we want. Pink and pretty it’s just like the 50’s. You like to buy us pink toys, and everything else is for boys, and you can always get us dolls, and we’ll grow up like them- false. It’s time to change. We deserve to see a range, cause all our toys look just the same, and we would like to use our brains. We are all more than princess maids..." 

The only thing I would urge parents to consider when trying to inspire and cultivate "spatial skills" in their daughters is that there are a lot of girls that may use these skills and have no interest in engineering. Believe me when I say that I am all about girls using their brains! I am just saying that the fact that the majority of girls are into horses, reading and writing more than rockets and forts isn't necessarily a problem to be fixed. 

My sister-in-law is an engineer of sorts. She has a computer science degree and works in a male dominated field as a programmer analyst. I am extremely proud of all that she has accomplished in defying the odds and I would be thrilled if SJ followed in her footsteps. I also have 7 other sister-in-laws and several adult nieces  Most of them are nurses and teachers. The statistics for these jobs are the same as the engineering fields, but in reverse (way more women than men). Is it because we are stuck in the 1950's like the commercial boasts, or is it that something inside of men are more inclined toward building and something inside of women wants to nurture? Sure there may be more men inventing, but behind every great man is… a mother that got him out of bed every morning and read to him every night. Or perhaps a female teacher that challenged him and kept him on track, or a wife that makes more money then he does as the CEO of a company (I am not totally old school here)

I may not be an engineer, but I am certainly not a brain dead trophy wife. After having 3 children I know enough about breast feeding to be a lactation consultant and I've blogged so much about SJ's diagnosis I could write a book about genetic sensorineural hearing loss or first language acquisition. It's street smarts YO. Don't be hatin'. Okay, that last part was a joke, but I am serious about the part that says we do not need to demean or discredit girls for following a more traditional roll as a woman. I know that even mentioning the "tradition roll of a woman" doesn't fall in line with the more popular politically correct, abstract gender rolls of the 21st century, but I'm okay with that

Just to make sure I have been clear I think the Goldi Blox toys look amazing and I would definitely get something like that for SJ if she were a little older. We love the educational toys, always have. I like what Debbie Sterling is doing because there is so much garbage out there marketed towards our girls. But when I read on Forbes that “Ideally every occupation would be 50/50, with both genders bringing different perspectives to the table.” I beg to differ. We don't have to make girls into builders to build and empower girls. 


Sarah said...

I love the GoldieBlox commercial because of the message it sends about girls having a variety of toys, not just the pink princess stuff. I have a big problem with all that junk being forced on Celia. But totally agree with you about the occupation stuff. There are natural differences between men and women that sometimes make us better suited for different types of work, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Natalie Busch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Natalie Busch said...

Well said Sarah. What you just said pretty much sums up all of my thoughts!

{amy} said...

I agree with you 100%!