When I grew up all I wanted to be was Secretary General of the United Nations. I dabbled with the idea of being a lawyer for a bit, but really, my heart was set on negotiating the important stuff, like world peace. As it turns out, that wasn't the job for me, so I went back to the drawing board and however many years later, here I am, fighting a fight that needs to be had for girls everywhere, in whatever capacity I can. So please imagine my frustration when I came across the new Fisher Price range of 'Little People' (dolls) that have hit the shelves, which includes a 'mum' figure, who lives the life of luxury, driving around in her car, apparently with nothing more to do than make it to yoga in plenty of time so that she can fit a smoothie in. (The box legit says on it, 'time for yoga and a smoothie.' - shoot me now).
Fisher Price have decided that, despite the fact it's 2016 and women can basically be anything that we want to be, that really, our place is, as we long suspected, in the home. I can picture it now, streams of school girls desperate to tell their teachers that when they grow up they want to be 'flexible' and have a 'balanced diet.' Why waste time studying to be a doctor eh girls? Or a police officer? Seems silly when there are just so many, sufficiently equipped, young boys ready to take those jobs on.
This monumental fuck up on behalf of Fisher Price was bought to the world's attention by working mum Gina Zuc Gerber, from Baltimore who said on Facebook that while she was out shopping she came across the “girl versions of Little People. The only ones with all-girl figures were all smothered in pink and purple, they worked in interesting places like the ‘home’ and they all lacked the multiple educational elements the boys’ toys had.” Then she saw the SUV-driving mum and said “It’s 2016 people!” She finished the post saying "show women working in all types of fields and in leadership roles."
Anyway, American brand Fisher Price have now promised that they are going to bring gender equality to their next range. Which is great and all, but I have to ask, have they all just been sitting there with their fingers up their arses for the last 100 years whilst the rest of us strived away for gender equality?? Even Barbie can be a doctor these days!
They first apologised by saying "our intention with this product and its package was to represent a moment in time many of today's families could relate to - but we understand how some see it as gender stereotyping." and went on to say that "we're making an effort to break down those stereotypes" and that in 2017 it would offer "both female and male characters in professional and community service roles such as servicemen and women, doctors and dentists."
Fine, better late than never right?? The funny thing is is that Fisher Price claim to have made this doll after speaking to their mum focus group, who deemed yoga and drinking smoothies to be among their favourite activities. Which is either a barefaced lie, the most tragic thing I've ever heard, or taken totally out of context by Fisher Price, which is what I suspect to be true. I suspect most of these women are hard working mothers who, when asked what they enjoy doing, said that yoga and a smoothie is how they wind down. And they probably actually only said that to impress the other mums who wouldn't appreciate hearing about the share bar of chocolate and half a bottle of wine that they actually enjoy.
I'm always amazed when products like this get the go ahead, when I see bad adverts, shitty products or even just appalling sexism you do find yourself thinking: how many people OK'd that before it became a product? How many men, with hard working mothers and wives and young daughters, thought that this looked OK? How many women, sitting in positions of authority saw these dolls and thought YUP, that's about right, that's what women should be doing, fuck this boardroom, and my degree, and my suit, GET THIS GIRL A RICH HUBBY AND A SMOOTHIE, AM I RIGHT LADIES?
Here's hoping Fisher Price actually stick to their promise and this brings us another step closer to the end of these dated, infuriating and downright insulting 'toys'.