If you only ever saw the shelves in toy stores, you’d be like, Girls only care about shopping and picking out dresses and baking fake food in fake ovens. Boys save the world and have awesome adventures and stuff.
Here’s a crazy concept: Some girls like superheroes (which is one reason we’re getting our first female superhero movie soon). Some girls like monsters and awesome adventures and stuff too. Oh, that’s nothing new? Then why do toy companies STILL think girls are only interested in princesses and ponies and everything pink?
It wasn’t always that way, as this egalitarian Lego letter addressed to parents — apparently found in a box of Legos from the 1970’s — let girls decide what they were interested in:
“A lot of boys like doll houses. They’re more human than spaceships,” the paper explains. “A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than dolls houses.”
How did we go from there to “Lego Friends Model Catwalk”?
Maybe we’re finally relearning from our past though. In August, Lego released a “Research Institute Kit” featuring a female paleontologist, astronomer, and chemist, after a 7-year-old, Charlotte, wrote a letter saying, “All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and they had no jobs but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs, even swam with sharks.”
Meanwhile, another 7-year-old is doing her part to break stereotypes. When Maggie saw this sign in at U.K. general store Tesco in Poole, Dorset, she was having none of it:
“She spotted the sign before I did and pointed it out to me by indignantly saying something like, ‘Well that’s wrong! Anybody can like superheroes, they’re being stupid aren’t they?’” Maggie’s mom, Karen Cole, told Buzzfeed News.
“It doesn’t seem to have put her off — as well as superheroes she loves Doctor Who, Minecraft, dragons, skeletons and zombies,” Karen continued. “But also likes Frozen, princesses, kittens etc. She just thinks shops labeling toys for boys or girls is silly: ‘I can like what I want.’”
Tesco has since apologized and removed the sign.
So this holiday season, maybe don’t just pick out the pinkest thing in the store for the girl in your life. Yes, maybe she does want a tiara and a ballet tutu. But just as likely, she wants a Spider-Man action figure and Nerf gun.
Meanwhile, here’s what Suri Cruise says she wants for Christmas: