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Boys Versus Girls Toys - Is There a Difference?

TOPICS | Parenting | Education Posted Friday, February 28, 2014 (1,192 views)

Toys for girls. Toys for boys. Who says they aren't one and the same?

On occasion, we hear concerns about our categorization of Girl Toys versus Boy Toys...

If equality is something any progressively-minded company would uphold as valuable, why wouldn't Fat Brain Toys – of all companies – want to be on the forefront of progress in equality for tomorrow's women and men... today's boys and girls!

Historically, Fat Brain Toys never separated toys by gender, until the overwhelming requests by customers led us to provide this option. So the simple answer is why – A huge segment of our customer base wants it. Our customers asked for it. But this only tells a portion of the story because at Fat Brain Toys we think differently.

The toy gender columns are split 100% by our customers (Not the company!). The toys that fall in each respective column – Girls versus Boys... these are separated into the different camps by the BUYERS of the toys. Not by the toy company!

The question of why Fat Brain Toys separates toys by gender, not always but often, comes accompanied by an attitude of, “That's just so wrong!”

You're invited to take a closer look.... Our customers are not as old-school as you think.

Take the time to search through the different Girl and Boy age ranked categories.

You'll find quite a mix of products! Our customers DO BUY science kits for girls, risk-associated sports toys for girls, stuffed animals for boys, and art projects for boys. They even buy things for children that have the other gender pictured on the boxes. Further - topping the lists for both genders are often the same exact toys.

Fat Brain Toys customers are independent thinkers. Sure, they may still want to think of children as Girls and Boys... but the stereotypes are not as predominate as you might think. Our customers WANT their girls to experience science and their boys to experience sewing something.

As a toy manufacturer, we are well aware of an over-the-top sensitivity to stereotypes, especially when it comes to toys. We shake our heads and wonder why people perceive things the way they do.

We manufactured Tobbles as an unconventional stacking toy with bold primary colors and smooth edges. People purchased it for both boys and girls. When we created Tobbles Neo as a variation with curved edges and a sorbet-like color palette -suddenly people were saying Tobbles Neo was designed for girls. On the other hand – suddenly original Tobbles were labeled “boyish.” It's funny how we simply experimented to create a different sensory experience with Tobbles Neo – and folks came up with their own ideas in translation.

As a manufacturer, if we put a boy on a box playing with a construction toy – that is criticized. We put a girl on the box or in the marketing – and it's applauded.

Why does it matter? I'd go so far as to say perhaps the people caring so much about making everything gender-neutral are the ones who are the most stereotypical. To me, any child truly engaged in play is good enough. If it's a boy or girl – the level of engagement in the activity is what matters.

Walk down the aisles of any toy store and you'll see lots of pink. Presumably aimed at girls. What an abomination.

Wait a minute. I'm a girl and I like pink. I like pink enough to buy pink things for my daughter occasionally. So what? Is this really a problem? Some folks just have a thing against pink... or for pink. It's just a color for crying out loud.

I'm a girl, and I like the toy broom we sell. My daughter played with it frequently when she was small. Some people might say I contributed to a stereotype.

My son played with it too. More than my daughter. My daughter took it down the backyard slide with her and has a scar near her eye from the experience. It's my son who is the neat-nick. My daughter is as rough and tumble as they come. (And so is my son - maybe contrary to what you'd expect from a neat-nick.)

If I told you I bought engineering toys for my daughter, some of you might nod your head in affirmation. Yes, I did that, and I encouraged her too. You know what? It just wasn't her thing.

My point is – if I were to tell some of you out there, that I bought house cleaning toys for my daughter - you would make assumptions. If I were to tell you I refused to buy pink – you'd make assumptions. If I told you, I bought her engineering-type toys – you'd make assumptions.

Why does this matter? As parents, we want to provide our kids with toys that nurture, inspire and teach. Fat Brain Toys do that. It doesn't matter what color they are, what subject they connect with, or what stereotypes you assign them.

And that category thing...

Fat Brain Toys provides Gender related categorization options only because our customers value it as a way to find the toys they want. Consistently, customers praise the easy ability to search for toys categorized by the “most often purchased for GENDER” - as being one of the things they like BEST about the Fat Brain Toys website.

And the people who decided which toys go where, they are just people like you - buying toys for the kids they care about. For whatever reason, they just find it most simple to go to 6 Year Old Girls, for example, to find a gift for niece Sophie.

Fat Brain Toys offers toy categorization in so many helpful ways... by Age, by Interest, by Toy Category, by Best Sellers, by Most Popular, by Birthday Gifts, by Developmental Goal.

So if that “Toys & Games for Boys” and “Toys & Games for Girls” recommendation still bugs you, take a deep breath and sort through toys another way.

And, if that pink doll ends up on your page, don't click away too soon. That doll may offer something different in terms of play value than the one wearing red.

For us, there is no tug of war - Boys versus Girls. And no one ends up in the mud.

Fat Brain Toys are made for all children. That child in particular... the one completely immersed in the play.

Contributed by
Kathy Lorkovic
Fat Brain Toys


Read more from
Kathy Lorkovic...

The PLAY blog is a platform dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent and open conversation about parenting. However, the opinions expressed on this site are those of individual parents/writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fat Brain Toys. In addition, content provided on this site is for entertainment or informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or safety advice.

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