Dolls & Princesses Make Girls Dumb…Or So They Say

Christmas is around the corner and little girls are making their wish lists asking for the newest Barbie or Disney princess or kitchen playset. But, this year, a company called, GoldieBlox, is hoping that little girls will start to say, ‘No!’ to stereotypical dolls and princesses. The company recently released a video featuring three girls smashing stereotypes of the kind of toys and activities young girls really like, set to the Beastie Boys’ song, ‘Girls,’ but with a more feministic twist:

Girls. You think you know what we want, girls.
Pink and pretty it’s girls.
Just like the 50’s it’s girls.

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.

Girls to build the spaceship,
Girls to code the new app,
Girls to grow up knowing
they can engineer that.

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.

I have no problem with the toys themselves but rather with the message this company is sending: Stereotypical colors like, pink and purple, should be thrown out and dolls and princesses are for dumb girls who don’t want to use their brains. Ironically, all the Goldieblox engineering sets are pink and purple and feature a pretty, blonde girl with perfect hair and looks like a Disney princess.

What kind of message is Goldieblox sending to the little girl who loves Cinderella and pretends she’s a princess locked up in a castle all day? Is she not using her brain? Is she of less worth than the girl who would rather play with an engineer set?

Why is it so wrong for girls to play with dolls? I understand that girls used to be told that they couldn’t be engineers, play sports, or like sports cars and we’re breaking that barrier. I think the toys themselves are great for girls who want to learn how to build, design, and create. But now we’re telling girls that it’s dumb to like dolls, princesses and baking cookies; those are off limits now, unless you want to send women back to the 50s. I’m afraid that by telling girls that the only valuable roles in society are those that were traditionally held by men our future generations of women will grow up thinking they aren’t valuable or intelligent unless they fulfill the roles that feminists tell them are appropriate.

What if your little girl truly does have an interest in cooking? What if she wants to own a bakery someday? What if all she wants to do is play “pretend” and be a princess? Are little girls really going to pushed into the box of “smart” or “dumb” based upon what toys they play with or what colors they like? What message should we be sending girls? If your daughter likes to build, play with dolls, use her imagination and pretend to be a princess, or read history books all day long then that’s great! That’s how God designed her and we should support our daughters in whatever their interests might be, gender-stereotypical or not.

It’s ok for girls to like dolls and princesses, engineering, sports and science too; she can be strong, independent and intelligent, whether she likes to play with Barbie or a chemist set. But, what matters most is that we instill into our little girls that they are valuable and special, no matter what they have interests in or what talents God gave them. And, more importantly than what toys they play with, is we instill in them that God loves them, they are children of God and how they can honor Him with their lives and hearts.

 What are your thoughts? Are you sick and tired of everything pink and girly in the toy aisles? How do you think we can encourage girls to be who God made them to be?

5 thoughts on “Dolls & Princesses Make Girls Dumb…Or So They Say

  1. I think it is awesome that she is developing something new to expand learning for little girls. There is nothing wrong with pink or dolls, and the commercial may have pushed it a little too far, but I still think the idea behind it is awesome. Test results show that girls are behind boys in mathematics, spacial recognition, geometry, etc. So all these toys do is open up their brains to experience the same types of learning activities that boys receive through playing with their toys. More learning options are better, even if the commercial is edgy. This video helped me understand the makers frame of reference.

  2. As a mom of a girl who doesn’t like traditional girl toys most of the time, I like to see a company branching out. However, it’s not about a color or a style of toy, it’s about letting our kids, boys AND girls, decide for themselves what they like and how they want to play. Let them discover what they’re good at and what they love.
    That’s exactly what you said. Well done.
    Also, how would we feel if boys were encouraged to play with toys that are considered to be typically un-boyish? Do we want them to have dolls, kitchens and fairy wings? Are we just as ready to let them do that as we are to let our girls build with engineering kits? Or is it only for the girls to break down stereotypical gender walls? If it’s fine for our girls to do the boy jobs, can’t the boys then do the girl jobs?

    • Good questions, Sherilin! I think boys and girls should be encouraged to learn the same LIFE skills. For example most boys will grow up to one day become fathers, so it is important that they learn nurturing skills. My brother had a my little buddy doll and he loved it. It is also important that boys know how to cook and clean for themselves, so a kitchen set and cleaning toys are a good idea. Unless they want to live in pigpens and eat microwave food for life they need to now how to do these things. I don’t know how many guys I have heard say “my wife will do that”! The same goes for girls they should learn how to problem solve, use tools, and if they plan to own a car, know something about how to take care of it. In the off chance (heaven forbid) that a girl or boy doesn’t get married they will need to be knowledgeable on all life skills not just “boy” skills or “girl” skill. Instead, we often teach then to rely on others to do what they can do themselves if they are only taught how. However, that doesn’t mean we should encourage boys to act like girls or girls to act like boys. I would draw the lines at boys wearing fairy wings, makeup or painting nails. Those are not life skills little boys need to learn.

  3. When I was small I was indifferent to princesses of all kinds. I loved animals, and that’s why Winnie the Pooh and later Pokemon became my favorites. Actually, playing Pokemon on my Gameboy Color introduced my love of drawing and inspired me to peruse an artistic career. I think the toy kids fall in love with inform their future interests and careers. So it is very important for boys and girls to play with more of the same learning based toys. Heck, I still play video games! And if all you kids like princesses why not take the opportunity to teach them about historic royalty and not just leave it up to Disney.

  4. I think feminists are taking women’s roles to the extremes. You’re right — girls are being pushed into science, math, and other careers that have typically been solely occupied by men. And if a girl wants to do that, then that’s fantastic, but if they don’t, they should be allowed to bake, or be a teacher, or be a stay at home mom.
    I’ve been asked repeatedly if I want to go to grad school, and while the insinuation that I could go to grad school is flattering, it’s really not what I want. I want to be a stay at home mom, and I was actually told by a friend that my views on this subject were “very un-feminist” of me.
    Maybe that’s what we need. A little less feminism.
    Equality and mutual respect are one thing.
    Inferring that a little girl’s desire to be a princess is stupid and old-fashioned is another.

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