By Sydney Shaw
Just in time for the holiday season, GoldieBlox has released an advertisement for an item the company believes will revolutionizes the toy industry — an action figure for girls.
Unlike Barbie dolls, which reinforce unattainable beauty standards to young girls, GoldieBlox aims to create toys to pique young girls’ interests in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
According to the company’s website, one of the factors behind women being so underrepresented in STEM fields is the lack of support for girls who are interested in the subjects.
The commercial for GoldieBlox’s newest toy is set to Metric’s “Help I’m Alive.” The scene is very Big Brother-esque, with cameras set on brainwashed girls waiting in line for Barbie dolls. The refrain repeats, “You are beauty, and beauty is perfection.” One girl, however, breaks away and sparks a revolution. “In 2014, GoldieBlox breaks the mold with an action figure for girls,” the commercial reads.
GoldieBlox hopes to bring up a new generation of female engineers, but many fear that so far, its biggest accomplishment appears to be inspiring parents to buy its toys.
Granted, the company does produce dolls with realistic bodies who tote around tools, but it still upholds the tradition of gender division in the toy industry. Why do the toys come in pastel colors — a detail that screams “little girl” — if the company is trying to take gender out of the equation altogether? Even the fact that GoldieBlox only markets to young girls is enough to make many customers believe the company is contributing to the gender dichotomy of toys. Is it not okay for a little boy to play with a female engineer doll, too?
Perhaps the biggest concern for parents is that, ironically, one of GoldieBlox’s toys follows the “pretty princess” narrative. Even though the toy goes against the traditional plotline, why would a company that labels itself as anti-pink and anti-princess have a princess toy on its shelves?
Some criticize GoldieBlox for claiming it is “breaking the mold” with a female action figure, since it is certainly not the first company to do so. But it is one of the first to put an action girl on the shelves that isn’t complete with huge breasts and a tight onesie. GoldieBlox’s ensemble is simply a white T-shirt and modest purple overalls.
The new GoldieBlox action figure might not solve every problem and eliminate every obstacle for girls, but it’s a good start. I appreciate the company’s mission, and even if this new doll doesn’t change gender roles by the time the new year rolls around, it’s still an important step in doing so.