All He Wants for Christmas is Barbie

Consider this.

You have a daughter, and she’s about 6 or 7 years old. You take her to the toy store, and she’s got her eye on a football. She really wants that ball, contrary to your anticipating that she’d go for the Easybake.

You definitely have the intention to buy her SOMETHING.

Do you

A) buy her the football

B) buy her the Easybake


Hopefully that seemed like a no-brainer to most of you. However, there might be some parents out there who will not let their small children deviate from the social norms surrounding their genders. Not with toys, and probably not with much else.

Recently, Barbie came out with a commercial for “Moschino Barbie,” which is a doll that debuted as a collaboration with the luxury Italian fashion house Moschino.

And the star of the commercial, along with two sweet little girls, who was so happy to have such a “fierce” doll, was a boy.

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This is an extremely bold move, and perfectly timed–right at the start of the holiday season, when parents are scrambling around looking for ‘gender appropriate’ things to buy for their children.

The commercial is so daring because of the underlying message, of course. It chimes in to a much larger conversation about whether boys and girls truly prefer the toys that they have historically been known to prefer, or if they are simply conditioned to do so.

Anyone who regularly visits tumblr has heard the argument that “gender is a social construct.” Those who stand by that argument are now giving retailers a piece of their mind.

Remember back in August when Target announced that its toy section would be redesigned so that all toys will be grouped together, and aisles will no longer have colored backdrops indicating gender? They did this because some suburban Ohio mom tweeted this photo in comtempt:

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I think it is a good change, and that other corporations should follow the example. “Girls’ building sets” ought to just be “building sets.” Good for Target for turning that around.

And good for Mattel for including all children in their advertising, demonstrating that they want all children to be able to use their product.

But

You can’t pull something like this without folks throwing fits.

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Good lord.

The apocalypse? Literally the end of the world?

Because of a doll?

Seriously?

PEOPLE. IT’S A DOLL.

Child abuse???

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And where do “the democrats” come in to this equation? This does not strike me as something with politics involved. This very much a social issue. But sure, the democrats are “eroding the moral values” of children by allowing them to put a tiny jacket on a tiny piece of plastic.

According to Misty here,

“Coaching a child that age to act gay is wrong on all levels.”

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I mean, at least she doesn’t beat around the bigotry bush, am I right? The only reason a parent would want to keep his or her son from playing with dolls is because they actually believe that it will cause the child to grow up to be…

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But come on, Misty.

There are some things parents need to understand.

The first thing is that children are children. They’ll find a way to play with pretty much anything. The types of toys that a five-year-old plays with probably does not tell us much about his or her sexual orientation. Because they’re children.

The next thing is that if your son is gay, your son is gay. You cannot “condition” your child to be gay or straight.

Oh and, Misty?…

“Coaching” ANY child, at ANY age, to identify with ANY sort of sexual orientation, is “wrong on all levels.” So it’s a good thing that that’s not even close to the purpose here. The purpose is to show that if a child wishes to play with the Moschino Barbie, that child should be able to do so. And have fun. Regardless of gender.

I sincerely hope that some parent out their raises a son on “man stuff,” or  a daughter on “girl stuff,” and then around age 14 or 15, the kid comes out to them. I hope this so hard. And I don’t even have to, because it happens all the time.

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I wish I could meet this brilliant preschooler named Riley, who in a 2011 YouTube video expressed her indignation over an overwhelmingly pink store aisle.

“The companies make these and try and trick the girls into buying the pink stuff instead of the stuff that boys want to buy, right?…Why do all the girls have to buy princesses?…Some boys like superheroes, some boys like princesses!”

Thank you, Riley.

I mean, should we pull our young boys out of the theatre troops?

Should we take them off the cheerleading squads?

Should we take away our daughters’ softball bats?

Should we force them to wear make-up before they reach adolescence so they just get used to it?

Or…should we just buy her the football she wanted?

Oh, and here’s the commercial:


Now, I am not a scientist of any kind. So I cannot just passionately claim that little boys play with “boy stuff” and girls play with “girl stuff” solely because they are socially pressured to do so. Maybe there is some sort of hormone or biological factor.

In 2013, Texas A&M did a little research to try and figure out where young children’s ‘gendered’ toy preferences may come from. The studies suggested that hormone levels play a role in whether boys are drawn to trucks over dolls.

In 2011, psychologist Qazi Rahman told The Guardian that while there are no “robust sex differences in either adults or children,” there are “play preferences for objects with moving parts versus those that indicate some kind of individual (eg. crudely — trucks vs. dolls).”

So where does it come from?

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Hm.

Maybe it’s a combination of biology and social pressure.

But one thing you will have a very difficult time doing is “turning” your son or daughter into something they’re not.

If you have a straight kid, you have a straight kid. If you have a gay kid, you have a gay kid. Bisexual, pansexual, asexual, transexual, whatever. The toys don’t matter, the kid matters.

So, before we protest Mattel for forcing our children to become sodomites and drag the rest of this country straight to the fiery pits of hell with them, please consider two things:

  1. It’s a freaking doll.
  2. we’re all human.

 

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