the magazine of the columbia daily spectator
May 1 2013
Mmm, baby: The very best in food porn
April 27 2013
Alternatives to Butler
April 19 2013
Red Bull and relaxation
April 17 2013
Back to the kitchen: A short journey through sexist pop culture
April 12 2013
Bikinis and big booties, y’all
April 8 2013
Azealia Banks Did What?
April 5 2013
More stories from Columbia’s military veterans
April 3 2013
Sing, O Muse, of some sappy story
April 1 2013
Missed the Cliterary Open Mic? Check out the highlights here
March 29 2013
Sex & Low Beach
Growing up I was a tomboy. I was the girl who loved outer space; the Rose Center’s planetarium was the highlight of my family’s trips to New York, and I was known to wear the same astronaut T-shirt for days in a row. Reading Tamora Pierce’s Alanna: The First Adventure, I dreamed of running away to become a knight. I even played Macbeth in our school’s production of the Shakespearean tragedy and was ecstatic to learn that when they divided up the role—the communist appeal of fifth-grade theater—I got to be in the part where Macduff lops off Macbeth’s head. Even though I somehow found myself in ballet a few years later, as you can probably guess, I wasn’t a fan of the color pink.
So when I learned that Hasbro would be coming out with a line of toy weapons just for girls, the former tomboy inside of me was thrilled! But after the first glance, my dreams of shooting unsuspecting neighbors were quickly thrown into a gutter of rainbows and ponies. The line, Nerf Rebelle, will feature the same type of projectiles already being sold in the company’s Elite line, except they will be covered in pink and purple designs and come in “prettier” packaging. Their first product to hit the shelves, the Heartbreaker bow—no, I’m not making that up—also comes with an app for collaborative play. Really? Can’t girls be introverted too? Sure, the director of Hasbro said that these designs were based on thorough research about what girls want, but don’t you think a toy company should be able to recognize a gender-stereotyped pigeonhole when it sees one?
Last year Lego also released a girlified version of its product: Lego Friends, whose problematic features include different settings in Heartlake City such as a beauty parlor, café, and dog show, a range of Easter colored bricks, and a set of surprisingly curvaceous mini-doll figures complete with accessories. And yet, these contrived female images helped to raise Lego’s profits by 36 percent in the 12 months since their release—a significant incentive for Nerf to go girly too.
Of course, girls who don’t dig the whole pink thing can always buy the guy version. I definitely want the black and blue sports watch over the plastic pink jelly one. But young girls shouldn’t be made to feel like they are missing out on some essential quality of their identity by not living in a pastel-hued world, or that being a girl is less exciting because their grandparents won’t buy them model dinosaurs and space ships. Instead of more BIC for Her pens (I’m still trying to figure out how that makes sense since my hands are just as big as my 18-year-old brother’s), what the world really needs is more courageous and complex female characters like Princess Merida of Brave and Katniss of The Hunger Games. Maybe then I wouldn’t have felt the need to cling to my astronaut shirt to have exciting adventures.
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