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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Turtle Power

Today at McDonald's I chanced to look at the Happy Meal toys, but totally not because I've been known to occasionally need to get me a Happy Meal.
It bugs me how we now have gender segregated Happy Meal toys. When I was your age, Happy Meals came in a flying saucer, and the toy was the flying saucer. 
And it was epic
But I digress as usual. What I was starting to say was that I noticed that the girl toys were little plush conversation hearts (also known as the lamest thing that has ever happened), while the boys got Ninja Turtles (also known as another thing from my childhood Michael Bay has ruined). 
It was a really strong visual reminder of the messages we send boys and girls about their gender. Girls get soft and cuddly and love and nurturing, and boys get violence and weapons and anthropomorphic reptiles. And while most people would be cool with a girl getting a murder toy, woe to the boy who'd choose the love toy. Even if his folks were okay with his getting one, think of the poor kid's friends. You can't be a man and not love murder, man. That's just unnatural. 

Do you suppose this is part of why men are so much more likely to commit violent crimes? I'm not asking facetiously; that sort of question sounds a bit too much like "the devil made me do it." But still... if we're constantly drilling into our boys' heads that love is feminine, and that there is nothing worse than a feminine man, well, we can't really expect them to be great at being loving. If boys believe you have to love hate to prove their worth, how can we expect them to love love without feeling worthless?
From Crystal Smith at the Achilles Effect blog. 
Most commonly used terms in commercials for toys geared toward girls.

Most commonly used terms in commercials for toys geared toward boys.

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