I Plan To Tell My Daughter She Can Be Anything She Wants To Be And GoldieBlox Will Provide The Soundtrack

shutterstock_85011547When I see a commercial like the new one for GoldieBlox, I am so inspired and feel so empowered even as a grown adult that I have a hard time containing my emotion.  If you haven’t seen the video, it’s three girls who build the coolest, wildest Rube Goldberg machine that rivals a booby trap in Goonies.  The soundtrack is a revamped version of the Beastie Boys’ song Girls:

Girls…to build a spaceship

Girls..to code a new app

Girls…to grow up knowing

they can engineer that

Girls, that’s all we really need is girls

To bring us up to speed is girls

Our opportunity is girls

Don’t underestimate girls, girls, girls, girls

If you don’t want to run out and buy GoldieBlox and support founder and engineer Debbie Sterling, you might want to check to see if you are dead inside. It makes me want to build some sort of crazy contraption right. this. minute.

I love that her message is so inclusive.  It doesn’t forbid you from letting your girl play in a princess dress.  The commercial asks you to give your daughters a range of options.  Let them use their brains in different ways.  So many parents buy into the majority of what is targeted to little girls.  In my two years as a mother to a daughter, I have found that so many of the “girl” toys look the same (dolls, purses, crafts) while that boys have a range of cars with their tracks, superheros and all their merch, Legos and other building toys.  I understand that girls, very generally, tend to prefer imaginative play.  But that doesn’t just have to be about baby dolls and princess wands.  I want to expose my daughter to as many activities as I can and let her pursue what she loves.  Just because we live in a princess culture in the U.S., let’s not underestimate the potential of our girls.

We get a lot of cardboard boxes in our house since we get the majority of our groceries delivered from Fresh Direct.  Our family’s favorite activity is to build and color our new “spaceships.”  This video has inspired all of us to take it to the next level.  After watching the commercial (which by the way really sells a message more than a product because neither one of them asked to buy something at the end) they already asked how they would do that. Now I’m thinking we need to cut some of those boxes into strips and combine them with my kids other favorite activity — racing cars.   They could build an uber-track and see what tricks and levers they can add.  Letting my boy and my girl play together with gender neutral toys is the best way to ensure I’m getting a good read on their actual interests and natural strengths, not just what they are expected to like or do.

Living within expectations can be limiting, especially to young children who haven’t been influenced by societal norms. Exploring the unexpected — like GoldieBlox — makes the possibilities endless.

(photo: Kenishirotie/Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Carinn Jade, on twitter.
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    • NicknamesAreDull

      I guess I’m dead inside. I’m okay with that.

      I don’t really “get” it. When I look at my daughter’s room, I see her Lego building that is being used as her baby’s crib, a Hot Wheels track that is set up in a pattern I didn’t know was possible,her bookshelf with books on everything from her American Girl doll to space travel and her dirty clothes because she can’t remember where the hamper is in her room. I looked at the boxes, and don’t really see how they’re going to inspire and empower my daughter any more than I try to. And especially no more than my mom, who is a chemist/math genius/saint/robot. I wouldn’t put my judgement face on if someone bought them for their kid, and if my daughter wanted it, I would get it for her. I can’t see a parent who is forcing gender norms on their child buying it/letting their kid play with the boxes. I would rather spend the money on Lincoln Logs, erector sets, barbies and crap for that damn American Girl.

      • pixie

        But that’s the thing, you aren’t limiting your daughter. You’re letting her play with what she wants to play with instead of limiting her to “girl” toys. That’s an excellent thing. Unfortunately there are parents out there who do try to force their daughters into traditional girl gender norms and if the commercial changes the mind of just one, that’s still something. It could also get into the minds of the little girls and help them begin to empower themselves.

    • Leslie Dybas

      Great ad, kind of a crappy product though. My daughter got Goldieblox and the Parade Float, and it was flimsy and fell apart whenever you tried to move the float. She got frustrated with it, and now it sits in a box on a shelf in her room.

    • TngldBlue

      I actually just discussed GoldieBlox with my engineer cousin and she said it’s crap. Great intentions but lost in execution-they’re cheaply made and very limited. She returned the set she bought for her daughter after daughter declared it was boring. Her advice to me was to encourage experimentation with household stuff (like your box idea!) because any toy or gadget is going to limit their imagination in some way but if I absolutely want to buy my daughter something, Legos and Snap Circuits are the way to go.

    • kay

      I was just on amazon and the “recommended for you based on recent browsing” list thing has a pink tool box and dump truck. I’m not sure how I feel about it.

      I had pink legos and they were awesome. Because my brothers wouldn’t steal them.

    • Natasha

      Hmmmn, I’ve heard these aren’t very well made. I don’t get too hyped up about ‘gender stereotypical’ toys, because I believe it comes down to what you limit/don’t limit your child too. Our oldest daughter (9) has always been more into animals than any type of Barbie-so we encourage that. She has a crap ton of those Schleich animals, mixed with the ‘girly’ LPS. Her and our 4yo boy love to take his train track, spread it all over the playroom, and make an entire zoo with a ‘monorail’ like our zoo. Including dinosaurs and pink kittens. She got inundated with Lego Friends sets for Christmas last year-and we LOVE LOVE LOVE them. She has the Vet clinic, the RV (so awesome!), the treehouse, and the house. Her and her friends (and her little brother) tear the sets apart, and rebuild them anywhere their imaginations take them-from combining them with her brother’s monster truck/firehouse Lego sets and creating ‘monster rallies’ to creating pet shops and cities. It’s amazing. And yes, we have tutus and princess crown and swords-and our son will don a tutu while toting a sword and they will slay dragons together. Or fight over who gets the sparkle tutu. And then we will invite friends over and the house will become a war zone with Nerf guns. Your kids can be whatever they want-with or without gender neutral toys.
      Our daughter has the dolphin cruiser on her list this year, and she’s getting it. Because I want to play with it! Have you seen that thing???? And the 4 yo want the Coast Guard rescue set-complete with sharks. I’m sure in no time those sets will be combined, even if some of the blocks are SHOCKINGLY HIDEOUSLY PINK AND PURPLE.

    • AP

      Teach her how to hold her own against men who may not respect her just because she’s a female. That’s the #1 way to ensure a girl feels comfortable taking on a male-dominated industry, at least until the gender balance tips.

    • Rachel Sea

      They’re like cheap Duplos in “girl” colors. I don’t see what’s so admirable, other than their marketing.

    • brebay

      They already have building toys for girls…they’re called…building toys. Girls are also much freer to try out a range of toy types without being called “sissy” and “fag” like boys who attempt to play with dolls, kitchen sets, etc. Girls have the advantage here. If a girl likes legos, she’ll play with leogs, regardless of what color they are. Not everything needs to be pink and purple to get girls to like it. Pink and purple are common favorite colors for many grown women, but none of us (save maybe Mary Kay topsters) drive around in pink or purple cars, because they’re cars, and they come in car colors. That’s not excluding women any more than primary-colored legos are excluding girls.

    • pineapplegrasss

      I don’t think parents gender-type their children as much as the toy stores color code their isles. I don’t care how many times I’ve heard it, I really don’t myself personally know any parents that won’t let their little guy play with his sisters Barbie if he wants. Girls can play with legos and hotwheels too. But, honestly, the reason that these gender-type toys sell, is because that’s what kids want to play with, mostly. My daughters chose to play with traditional girl toys far more often then they wanted a hotwheel or superman action figure. Same as my boys are just naturally more interested in hotwheels over barbies. Boys and girls are different, stereotypes do come from somewhere, you know. My son has a play kitchen and he loves loves it almost more than the baby and stroller that he pushes around. Why are those typecasted as girls toys anyway? Don’t boys grow up into men and have to cook and become fathers and take care of babies.

    • chickadee

      I too am dead inside. Making building toys girly so that girls will want to play with them is shortchanging these girls and their parents.

    • Eden

      Its funny. I work as a structural designer and this ad just pisses me off. Science toys are unisex. Why oh why do you have to make things pink to stimulate a girls interest? We will encourage girls to be come engineers by example and encouraging the love of math and science. NOT by buying more stuff.

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