Alright, so yesterday afternoon, my Teen TV class decided that class will take place at a Toys R Us in Rego Park instead of the classroom because last week, we discussed an essay called "Toys R Us" by Ellen Seiter. In that reading, Seiter tells us her findings of what she sees when she goes to Toys R Us. She claims that there's a "wall of pink" or a "strictly girls section" of the store right near the entrance! Seiter even goes people watching too; she observes how mothers are with their children while shopping or browsing for various toys. Since Seiter got to write a long essay about her findings and observations at Toys R Us, I think it would be appropriate to write a blog about my night at Toys R Us!
First and foremost, this Toys R Us was completely different from other Toys R Us stores I've ever been to. This store was in an outdoor mall! All of the other Toys R Us stores I've been to out in Long Island were in gigantic buildings that were far away from other stores. This one was literally to the right of the up escalator.
As soon as I walked in, I was greeted with CANDY. Not your typical "sweets," but "kets!" You know, giant lollipops, Pez dispensers, Double Bubble gum balls, Skittles, all different kinds of confection candy! Also known as, "candy that's marketed towards kids" and not for adults like Ghiradelli brand chocolate, Altoids and Ferrero Rocher. Kids certainly love their candy, so what's a better way to draw their attention to the entrance of Toys R Us? CANDY!
Well, it looks like both seasonal and non-seasonal candy "greets" the shoppers and the consumers. Honestly, that's a pretty smart idea. That kind of set up attracts not only the shoppers, but their kids as well!
Aside of the candy greeting the shoppers, a "wall of pink" also shot at me as well. Right above the girls' section is a giant pink and white banner that's like a halo. So many doll houses, kitchen play sets, baby dolls, and at least fifty different kinds of Barbies! Holy crap, the variety of Barbie dolls was absolutely unbelievable. Back when I was a little girl, there were only the typical blonde princess Barbies or a Barbie dressed as a nurse. Now we have Twilight Barbies, Disney Princess Barbies, Hannah Montana Barbies, etc. But I noticed a couple of interesting things while looking at the labels and packaging of these pink boxes. When you get a doll for a little girl, there are images of young girls playing with the doll that is contained inside the package.
Well would you look at that?! A boy is shown on a toy-kitchen box that normally girls would play with! And surprisingly here, a girl is shown on an Exploderz box, right next to one that has a boy on it. And a girl is portrayed on Nerf gun box; wow. What I really liked about this store is that the girls section and the boys section were right next to each other, if not in the same aisle as each other. Other stores I've been to had the girls section on one side of the store, and the boys section would be on the complete opposite side of the store. No wonder there were so many temper tantrums in the other store! (Maybe one or two were crying last night.) They wanted to go to the other side of the store because they felt trapped being in a section that they don't belong to. But with this store, boy toys and girl toys were right next to each other!
It looks like toys aren't gender segregated anymore! Hallelujah, girls aren't only portrayed on packages of easy-bake ovens and baby dolls! And boys are shown playing with girls that are having fun using their play kitchen sets! I mean, really,look at that girl shooting hoops with the little boy. I remember when I was little, only boys were playing outside playing basketball or shooting at each other with Nerf guns while the girls were inside playing with their Barbies and playing house with their easy-bake ovens and play-kitchen set! I sure am glad that there are changes being made in the toy marketing industry. I really don't think there should be any gender segregation in the toy market. If candy displayed at the front of the store isn't gender segregated, neither should toys.
Call me weird or crazy, but I think there is nothing wrong with a girl playing with toys that are marketed for boys and I certainly don't think there is anything wrong with a boy that plays with toys that are marketed for girls.
When I was a little girl, I had no interest playing with Barbies, easy-bake ovens and kitchen sets. If I wasn't outside playing Manhunt, Capture The Flag and street hockey with the boys on the block, I was inside with my older brother playing Sonic The Hedgehog on Sega Genesis or playing with super hero action figures like Batman, Spiderman and the X-Men.
I will end this blog with one last thing...as long as kids are happy, getting along, and not fighting with each other, gender shouldn't be placed on toys.