For over a year now the internet has been filled with articles and debates surrounding gender specific toys for children. Gender fluidity is an important issue that is discussed all over the world today, and in order to encourage young children to understand this, toy manufacturers must diminish any stereotypes there are for boys’ and girls' toys. Why cannot a girl dress up as a Star Wars Storm Trooper while her male friend dresses up as a fairy doused in pink glitter? Taking a more liberal approach to toy making will allow for the 'rules' on what toys children of certain genders can and cannot play with to be gradually bent, until they are broken forever.
Mattel Inc, the company responsible for manufacturing Barbie dolls, seem to be taking a step in the direction of diversity. They are set to begin production of dolls of all sizes, heights and ethnicities. This is a huge leap forwards; dolls with more realistic bodies will give the message to young children that not everyone looks the same, and a tiny figure is not the norm.
Dolls of all shapes and body types will also encourage young girls to be happy and confident with their body. Not only that, but the inclusion of more ethnicities amongst Barbie dolls will be a step towards a more racially accepting and less xenophobic world. In the 21st century nothing less would be expected, things are not as, 'black and white,' as they may have been in the past...
In fact, when it comes to trainers, it seems for women things definitely are not black and white, but more a just variety of shades of pink. It was shocking to find that in the local sportswear store an overwhelming majority of female trainers and running shoes had some shade of pink on them. This was in comparison to the male shoes which varied from reds to blues to greens to black. The difference in choice offered to males and females, as well as boys and girls, is quite appalling.
In the whole of the store, which stocked approximately 50 styles of women's shoes, there were only two pairs of trainers made for females from the age of one upwards that did not have the colour pink somewhere on them. Is it that these big sports brands such as Nike and Puma are not providing much variety for females? Are they stuck in the gender stereotype in which girls must live and breathe the colour pink? Or is it just the store itself that has a narrow minded view of what females wear?
It is definitely not to be stated that girls and women are not perhaps partial to a bit of pink, but maybe the female sportswear manufacturers should follow Mattel Inc's lead. In doing so, they should include a diverse variety of products, which appeal to a diverse variety of women, and understand that not every woman wants to wear positively pink trainers.
What do you think? Have your say in the comments below.