Thursday, April 24, 2014

Toy Story

One Saturday when Juliette was recovering from a little illness, I thought I'd take her out to the toy store to browse and buy her a little toy to cheer her up. It's not something we do often though she will regularly request that we look at the toy aisle in the grocery store.  And she'll tell me all the toys she wants for her birthday or Christmas or that she really needs!

When we arrived at the toy store she urged me not to go too slow down the aisles.  But pretty soon it was me who was slowing her down because I found myself entranced by the modern child's toys and I had started snapping pictures on my phone.  I was sometimes amused and sometimes horrified by what is out there for today's girl especially.  So here's a visual rundown of the funniest and the scariest!

It makes sense that a French child's play kitchen would have a good variety of breads, and of course, a croissant!

Not to mention the French products they are used to like Knoor lasagne and the usual brands of detergent and Danone (the French version of Dannon) yogurt  Whiskas is international!

What French fake kitchen would be complete without a pressure cooker?  And even the real brand that dominates the market has gotten in on the action, Tefal.

But to really be like mommy and daddy, you need your own espresso machine. 

Moving out of the kitchen I was pleasantly surprised to see that Cinderella has had a makeover and is looking less doe eyed but rather sharp.  Don't think this Cinderella would take too much crap from her stepsisters.

Playmobil is a real classic in Europe but not quite sure what the German toy designers were thinking with this set?  That devil looks likes he's glowing red hot.  Theological debate not included.

Speaking of Playmobil, we saw an exhibit a few weeks ago in our town that featured some amazing scenes. Like the Civil War.  Cotton plants to boot!

And this German street scene.

A playmate for Juju!

I'm hoping Juliette will stay in the kind and gentle Playmobil world for a long time because frankly the next toy scared me to death.  If this is pre-teendom, I'm afraid, very afraid.

Bared midriffed dancers, fashion obsessed platinum blondes.  Childlike and womanly at the same time.  Yikes!  I don't want my little one to grow up too fast.

Reminds me a bit of a recent article talking about how boy and girl toys are more and more separate these days and how ads like this one from my childhood might not fly today.

The article points out, and rightly so, that nowadays Lego has its own girly line.  My sister and I never found Lego to be particularly limited to boys and that was before purple and pink Lego existed.

It all gives me pause about this next girl generation.  They've got way more to deal with in terms of sexualized images of girls, even from a young age.  Even if the girls on this box aren't sexy, they are definitely girly. 

So yet another reason to value every moment with my little one while she's still little and try to tell her that girls can be and do whatever they want.  Including thinking monster trucks are cool while prancing around as Tinkerbell.


Nicole said...

My girls, 5 and 9, love the Lego friends because they get a girl character to build for ( wheas the regular sets only have boy characters). They definitely don't mind playing with regular legos, but when we were at the store buying a bucket of loose pieces, they did reach for the light color (with the pink box) but they said it is because they dont like the gray and brown in the boys stuff, which, you know, fair enough. We recently went to the Centre de Urbanisme de Paris to sign up for 'architecture' ateliers after noticing that the models look like Lego buildings. I feeli like the girls feel like architects building with their legos, not 'silly girls playing with pink blocks' like some people have suggested when they see our collection of Lego Friends stuff. I find that insulting. Pink does not make you stupid and if that makes the girls like their legos more, I am happy.

Mil said...

Thanks for your point of view, Nicole, and I hadn't really thought of it that way. It's true that girls crave more character play and maybe these new sets satisfy that more while letting girls be creative and constructive too.

I Say Oui said...

That bread set is priceless.

Lindle said...

Choices, choices, choices. A miniature expression machine, or a pressure cooker, or PlayMobil sets, or Lego! All adorable. I prefer things where kids can build from their imagination. But role-playing with plastic French bread is good too.
Y'all recently played with our tub of Lego over Christmas and made highways and bridges and zoos. Hours of fun.
I saw a special on BBC a couple of weeks ago about how Lego came into existence and how they attribute it to new generations of designers and architects. So, the colors perhaps will not matter at all--it's the creativity. Keep playing--at any age.