Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Where it's due

I make fun of Melissa McEwan and her creepy creepy cult from time to time, so I feel like it's my duty to point out that she and the rest of them actually make really good points on rare occasions (though they are generally still surrounded by overly cutesy, trite, groupthink internet talk). Like this:
I know I'm a big poopypants and everything, but I hate gendered anthropomorphized toys, because they're almost always male. It's "Chuck the Truck" and "Thomas the Tank Engine" (yeah, I know it's a cartoon, but a cartoon obviously designed with marketing toys in mind) and blah blah, which reflects little boys' male personhood back to them, whereas the EZ-Bake Oven isn't "Shirley the Oven" -- "girls' toys" just underline girls' need to engage in service and don't reflect back any personhood at all, unless it's a babydoll, which is a person that the girl needs to care for.

So kids who play with "boys' toys" get the message that being male is being a person, and kids who play with "girls' toys" get the message that being female is being a servant to chores and other people.

Disturbing, right?
Yep, it is disturbing. It's amazing that no matter how many deep-rooted carriers of our culture's misogyny one becomes conscious of, there are always more waiting to jump out at you. I mean, the only major exception to this rule that I can think of is that Barbie is also a person, and really, if the best thing you've got going for you is Barbie, you're pretty much screwed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is this actually true? My intuition points me in exactly the opposite direction. Consider:

1. Conventionally, inanimate objects (ships, planes, buildings, cars) are female, presumably because they are faithful servants and helpers to their male users/masters. Feminists have spilled plenty of ink over this pernicious social convention... now the opposite convention (to the extent it actually exists and has not been spuriously invented) is also being criticized?

2. As a native of the culture in question, my stereotypical image of gender differentiation in toy forms is guns/trucks (boys) and dolls (girls). Dolls are anthropomorphic; guns and trucks are generally not, with of course some exceptions for trucks, as noted. Is my intuition so far off base?