What would happen if we were simply rid of the flashy, pink toy aisle at the department store? Would the world collapse?
On a trip down the typical toy aisle at any major department store, one inevitably encounters a blaring, pink section filled with Barbie Dolls, plastic jewelry, fluffy animals, and any number of stereotypically “girly” items we are told young women should enjoy. We buy them easy-bake ovens, plastic plates and teacups, and the cutest, pinkest aprons we can find, and with these items, our young girls learn to play the roles of housewife or mother they are taught they are destined to take in the future. With so many young women bombarded by an abundance of well-intentioned but ultimately stereotypically “feminine” gifts from their parents, is it any wonder that so few of them even entertain the possibility of entering into such traditionally male-dominated fields as engineering when they grow up? Society never gives them any impression that they should strive for such jobs.
Debbie Sterling, a former engineering student from Stanford University who was shocked and distressed by the near total lack of female students in her program, wants to change this sad trend and help usher in a new generation of female engineers. GoldieBlox is a toy company which offers girls a viable alternative to the standard, fluffy princess dolls and dresses which we normally provide as playthings for our young girls. Instead of dolls and trinkets, GoldieBlox offers construction toys and books in the hopes of inspiring dreams of engineering in the hearts of the younger generation.
At the beginning of the commercial for GoldieBlox toys, we are introduced to three young girls in front of a television, slumping over in disinterest at a doll commercial. To solve their boredom, they, clothed in small engineering outfits, create an elaborate system of gadgets and trinkets which twists and turns through the house and around the yard until it finally presses the channel button and switches the screen from the doll commercial and to a screen of a blonde girl with an engineering hat and overalls. This is Goldie Blox, an engineer, and – shockingly! – a girl as well.
The Goldie Blox we are shown in this commercial represents one version of an ideal girl which we rarely see amongst the lines of princess dolls and fairy cartoons which normally graces the pink toys aisle at the department store. She is pretty, but this is not her defining feature. She is smart, she is resourceful, and she has little or no interest in dresses or sparkly things. This is a new vision of the young woman, one which allows girls to feel as though an interest in building and creating things is just as desirable and just as fun than an interest in clothes and pink, frilly things. She represents an attempt to represent what the ideal girl might look like if the gender roles which define most of girls’ toys had simply disappeared.
What would happen if we were simply rid of the flashy, pink toy aisle at the department store? Would the world collapse? Or would girls finally feel free to explore those traditionally masculine pursuits, such as building and engineering? GoldieBlox seeks to establish this world of equality between the genders, beginning with the utter destruction of the gender stereotypes which prevent so many of our bright young women from exploring the world of engineering.