An open letter to the toy manufacturers

Dear ( insert big name toy brand)

Firstly thank you for being such a huge part of my children’s childhoods, imaginations, and stories over the last 30 years.
We’ve loved all the baby dolls and fancy cars. And as each year has passed so I’ve seen your brand grow, and your toys change just like my own children have grown and changed over the years.
I’ve watched you follow trends and make toys that highlight disabilities, confront diversity, that teaches kindness and I’ve watched as you’ve adjusted your toys to become more interactive, to now add coding.
30 years, 7 kids, and many hours of play later I still openly admire your growth and commitment to children’s play.
However, until I, myself, entered the influencer scene and started raising the cutest little boy all over again and I encountered a different generation of parenting to that in which my older children were raised, I did not question your marketing or the way in which you promote the toys…after all, when I was growing up Lego was for boys and Fashion dolls for girls. We were prepped for weddings and child-rearing as little girls and our brothers for work.
But as I shared and read more online, I saw the narrative change and heard the talk about breaking down gender stereotypes and I saw adults embrace their children’s likes and listen to the types of toys they wanted instead of randomly pushing a trolley down an aisle marked Boys or Girls.
So, I reached out as a blogger with a platform to help challenge and bring attention to the narratives….I asked to represent the boy dolls in 2 very popular brand names. Dolls my son saw, loved, and represented him. Dolls that highlight diversity, inclusion, and a strong sense of empowerment. No one answered but the pink girly dolls were still shipped to the little girls. I sat back disillusioned….
I still bought the dolls. My son enjoyed playing with them. He was 3 and he really wanted to role-play being a good dad, having a Career, or understanding the world around him.
I never bothered to represent these dolls online. My son was not the demographic …. the brand silence told me so.
I tried another brand sometime later, and I understand my demographic was way off here but I hoped the brand would see my vision….that I truly wanted to teach my son to be inclusive. To accept the people around him of different races, different cultures, different ages, and different abilities …. I wanted to be able to represent these in his play as I feel representation is important. I wanted to teach my son from little that everyone mattered. I wanted to highlight all of this and open the narrative for more moms.  Again we heard nothing and again I bought the dolls because I am raising a well-adjusted, emotionally intelligent young boy in 2022 and I as his mother want him to learn to accept diversity. What better way to teach a young child than through play?
Now, this blog post is not a rant on brands who did not answer me …it is a simple request after I just saw the cutest toy dog only available in ballerina pink and pastel purple in the best advert that only had girls ……
A request that toy manufacturers move their thinking into 2022.
A request to stop the gender stereotypes when making and marketing a toy.
We are no longer raising young girls training for marriage and homes nor are we raising emotionally unintelligent boys expecting women to stay home and only raise those children in those homes.
We are a generation of moms who know that a boy wearing a tutu is because he loves the tutu. A girl playing with cars and asking for a tool set is because she is genuinely interested in those and by giving a child a doll we teach them to be loving and empathic. We allow them the opportunity to express themselves and understand the world around them.
Now I hear you asking …. so what is wrong with buying your son a pink dog.
Nothing. I can buy him a pink dog if he wants a pink dog, but my son is surrounded by marketing all day long that still shows girls with pink babies and clothing. He doesn’t see boys represented in pink ….he has however seen girls represented in blue.
He doesn’t walk into a clothing department and find more feminine “movie” characters like Frozen or Peppa Pig represented for boys.
He doesn’t go into the toy shops and see pink cars, pink guns, or lady plastic figures in the jeeps with the dinosaurs he loves.
So, as you can see …. he and every other little boy out there isn’t represented in toys deemed less ” masculine” so how do I buy him a pink dog and expect him to like it?
For two minutes see through my eyes that …..He is expected to join the new narrative, be emotionally intelligent enough to accept that he isn’t represented, and feel shamed for liking a toy that may be represented through the media as feminine because it is pink, or because no one thought that a unisex toy would sell.
It’s time, dear toy manufacturers,  to  hear the narrative of us mothers and sit down with the experts ( the kids) before you batch produce another 500 000 “pink” dogs

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