Posted at 5:00 AM Nov 10, 2009
By Kathleen Willcox
I often ask myself, which situation is worse: a work environment that's openly hostile to women or one that is covertly so? In the end, generation X and Y have been blessed with the fruits of many generations' efforts who fought, polished tooth and nail, to get to a place where it's against the law - not to mention polite society - to openly discriminate against women.
But we all know it still exists: bosses who question our long-term commitment and ask subtle, but leading questions about our plans to "start a family", male coworkers who talk about female bosses who are "total ball busters", etc. etc.
And our miniature cohorts are facing the same thorny issues as they dig through the sandboxes and playing with Barbies and Tonka Trucks across our fair land in their brown cords and their pink princess dresses. Toy companies--while generally passing the initial feminist sniff test--still stink when it comes to marketing to girls. Below, a round-up of their current worst offenses.
The question is: what are we going to do for the generations coming up behind us?
10. Rose Petal Cottage
9. Bebe Gloton
AKA Baby Glutton (translated from Spanish where the ghoulish little number was produced), this dolly possesses the ability to breastfeed. That's right, folks! In addition to peeing dolls, crying dolls, wiggling dolls, crawling dolls, walking dolls, we now have a breastfeeding doll to add to the roster of direful semi-animated bots. The breastfeeding doll takes it to a new level though - the doll comes with a halter top with flowers in the place of nips, a sensor in the doll and the flower that helps the doll "feed" and make suckling noises. I'm all about breastfeeding, but then again, I'm all about sex and all kinds of other completely healthy, natural activities that 5 year olds should probably not be exposed to. I'm on the fence about this one. I'd love to hear your thoughts in comments below.
Yes, unfortunately, this product does exist and is not an imaginary chimera from Rush Limbaugh's most lurid and fetid midnight visions of the future of womankind. This awesome piece of (pink, natch!) toy manufacturing from Playskool has 11--count em!--11 fancy dancy accessories for your li'l gal's cleanin' pleasure. Bonus: it's labeled "Girls Only" on the box, just so no one screws up and accidentally buys their strapping boy a damn toy vacuum.
7. Baby Wiimot
This wide-eyed dolly looks like your standard corn-fed peaches and cream infant for the masses--until a child sticks their Wiimote to it and baby comes ALIVE in the typically Margaret Atwood-esque post-apocalyptic fashion of mechanized babies everywhere. But this Baby and Me has a special added twist of post-mod menace--li'l mommies can rock their li'l robot babies to sleep--all with the help of motion sensitive rocking movements courtesy of the Wii. Baby also gurgles and burps! Ah, a whole new generation of toys that teach little girls the nurturing skillz they'll need between vacuuming, ironing and decorating their Rose Petal Cottages.
The most loved and hated doll in America for the past 50 years, the Barbster has been blamed for all manners of social sins, from sexism to racism to blondism to boobism to weightism (if she were a "real girl" she'd be 5'9" with a 36-inch chest, an 18-inch waist and 33-inch hips and lack the body fat necessary to menstruate - in 1997 her waist was widened marginally). Most recently, everyone has gotten frothy and jazzed over Totally Tattoos Barbie (pretty self-explanatory) and a new line of dolls for whom Lycra and Spandex was apparently not revealing enough - their clothes are actually painted on. Zowey, don't get any ideas, girls.