I remember a time about 25 years ago when it was possible to find unisex toys quite easily and more people were motivated to do so. The assumption I made was that things would gradually get less oppressive for women, minorities and children and that society would progress. After all, the Cold War was coming to a close, and the Berlin wall was taken down in this era. We had not had a recent major war and the worst shadow was Reagan, but that didn’t seem insurmountable. I had highest hopes for feminism and environmentalism and wasn’t ashamed to be linked with either movement, despite the demonism of “Liberals” by the right. I guess I was aware of the nascent danger posed by the “Silent Majority” bullshit and the “Christian Coalition” concept.
However, I did not anticipate that things would get worse, much worse, in the arena of children’s toys. I work with children, which is an excuse to play with children’s toys, and I have helped develop them when I was in research.
The toy aisles are segregated once again, from the dollar stores to that big toystore downtown with life-sized elephants. Boy colors are black, blue and maybe red and girls live in a pink, purple and turquoise universe. If a boy wants a “doll” it had damn well be an action figure, particularly a military one, with “accessories” such as tanks and guns.
& now we keep hearing about poison toys – lead, mercury, magnets to swallow. & the contagion has spread all over the world as unscrupulous manufacturers have the toys made where labor is cheaper. It’s kind of revealing when the manufacturer has English-as-a-Second language, as this doll found in Paris at Oberkampf Market reveals. (see also Silenced Majority Portal