Alex Blaze

My Cleaning Trolley, just in case real cleaning wasn't fun enough

Filed By Alex Blaze | October 18, 2009 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: kids, race, sexism, toys, toys r us, women

Miriam at Feministing highlighted this toy earlier (and its "Girls only" sticker) this week, and since we discussed the Swedish school that filed a complaint against Toys R Us, I thought I'd look up Toys R Us's ad for it. Well, waddayano:

cleaningtrolley.jpg

I can only imagine the discussion in the marketing department about the race of the child. But something tells me they didn't even talk about whether she could be a he.


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WTF??? I would have never gotten this for my daughter. She always was very fem and girly but the idea of house cleaning being the focus of play.
No I taught her to play lawyer and she founded the GSA at her school and went on to law school.

I don't know which is worse --- encouraging kids to think that scrubbing the kitchen floor is fun, or subliminally suggesting that only females can scrub the floor (even though thousands of college bachelor pads give evidence that this can be true).

In the meantime, the real, compulsively germ-o-phobic Mom had to buy and use a $400 steam machine to disinfect the floor before she could let the little girl play on it without guilt.

The world is insane, and the advertising people are encouraging it ...

P.S. The totally-age-inappropriate French Maid outfit for the little girl is sold separately.

The kids I know, both boys and girls, are often pestering the Mommy, and often to help Mommy clean or whatever, where they cause more interference than assistance. So this actually seems like a clever toy to keep the kids out of Mommy's hair. Of course the extremists at feminist sites, as well as Sociology101 professors, will take the position that the acts of cleaning and that of becoming an attorney are somehow mutually exclusive.

Dumb ass toy.
I can't get worked up about it being targeted for girls... because no one has to purchase it. Infact this would be the best opportunity to discuss the nonsense about it w/our children.

Point. Laugh. Mock the stupidity of it all.
Girls only are use to it.

It's not so much that those acts are mutually exclusive but that the representation in the ad of who's doing the cleaning, a female, reinforce stereotypes and typical gender roles that women should be the ones cleaning. The fact that one would teach this to their little girl subliminally reinforces the idea of, "Here, now you can become a productive member of a society that puts you on a lower rung!"

It also reinforces dominant/submissive roles in the male/female dynamic, assuming that the little girl would grow up straight (or not even, just taught to not ever be assertive in a male-dominated world).

If the girl grows up thinking cleaning is what women do, why would she strive to be a lawyer when her world has been programmed to accept her as just a cleaner?

unfortunately, many read into these advertisements things that are not necessarily so. i agree, by the way, that this is a stupid "toy" and i also agree that men and women all ought to have equal opportunities to achieve whatever it is they desire to achieve.

that being said, i don't believe that the parent who purchases such a silly (yes i said that) toy for a child - male or female - is therefore condemning that child to a lifetime of subservience.

it is the affirmative words, the encouraging words and the positive examples that we give to our children that will allow them to dream of bigger and better. if we give them these crappy toys and don't say anything else, then we've failed. if, however, such dreck can be seen as merely a plaything and not a career path, the opportunities for our children can be endless and inhibited only by their imaginations.

let's not make too much of what passes for toys these days. after all, i wanted to be Roy Rogers when i was a kid, and i'm sure there were plenty of Annie Oakleys out there, too.