Gina Zuk Gerber -a Baltimore mother of a little girl- recently saw something so frightening she immediately took to Facebook to warn other unsuspecting women and girls about her terrifying discovery.
No, it wasn’t a pressure-cooker bomb planted by some guy named Mohammed who is definitely, 100% not a terrorist, just a pissed off naturalized citizen.
No, it wasn’t a man in the woman’s bathroom while her daughter was trying to relieve herself.
No, it wasn’t leftover baby parts from a Planned Parenthood garage sale.
The horrific discovery was a Fisher-Price Little People toy. While those things are a little creepy, that wasn’t what offended Gerber. The toy was – brace yourselves – a mom and an SUV.
And it was pink!
Gerber complained that all the Little People toys for girls were pink and purple and worked at places like “home”, but the worst part was that the packaging read “Time for a yoga and a smoothie.” The Maryland mom was outraged and her post immediately caught the attention of other moms and Fisher-Price.
Fisher-Price responded to Gerber, saying they would make a change in the packaging and reminding her that there are also many other female Little People with more a diverse slate of occupations, including firefighters and doctors.
Gerber finds the toy’s take on motherhood offenisve, but I find her offense offensive.
I’ve been a stay-at-home mother for 14 years. “Home” might not be the glamorous workplace this woman seems to think constitutes a “real job” but it’s not some useless profession that women take on when they don’t know how to do anything else. “Home” is an absolute legitimate workplace. In fact, there is probably no greater job on earth a woman could have than to raise good people in the home she prepares for them every day.
That the job typically falls to the people who actually birth the children is a historical and biological imperative, not a conspiracy to teach girls failure.
My daughter is nine. We do own an SUV and she’s definitely seen me in yoga pants. I absolutely drink smoothies while I’m on the run as a busy mom. She doesn’t see me or my job as pathetic or worthless. She doesn’t tell people she never wants to be like me. She tells people she wants to be a mom someday…and also someone who “works on a computer, like my mom.”
That’s because that is how she sees me and she sees my job at home is important to her. It matters in her life and because of that its what she wants to model in her own life. I suppose if I were an astronaut she’d want to be one too. But I’m not an astronaut. I’m a mom who is home for her at the end of every school day and that’s worth something.
In fact, it must be worth quite a bit if Fisher-Price is actually packaging a toy to reflect that reality. You see, Fisher-Price isn’t exactly a lemonade stand. It is a billion-dollar conglomerate that creates thousands of products and employs thousands of people. Their products aren’t haphazardly thrown out onto store shelves for unsuspecting pearl-clutchers like Gerber. They do testing and polling and market research and limited roll-outs. This is their business. They make what sells. If there is a mom doll in yoga pants, drinking smoothies in her SUV that’s because people are buying it…a lot.
Perhaps Gerber should direct her outrage towards people who are buying what Fisher-Price is selling. It is terrible we can’t all be as sophisticated and “accomplished” as she must be. I laughed out loud when I read that this woman was put off by the yoga pants but brings a private yoga instructor into her offices.
You moms who stay in your yoga pants all day are pathetic. Important women only wear them on lunch breaks with their PRIVATE INSTRUCTORS.
Also, Gerber’s outrage is so gender normative. What is a “girl” toy, anyway? Who’s to say pink is a “girl” color anymore? What is a girl, even? I can’t keep up with the changing social trends these days, but I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to be using terms like “girl” or “boy” anymore anyway.
Or she could just think of it as a toy for boys. Suddenly it becomes empowering! Who says it wasn’t for boys in the first place?
I have a real problem with parents who get so bent out of shape of the “kind of example” being set by toys or celebrities or presidential candidates. If your child’s identity and self-esteem is based on what Donald Trump thinks about women or what color pants their doll is wearing, you’re doing it wrong.
If you don’t want your daughter to see positive, realistic, harmless representations of motherhood in toys then don’t buy her those toys. Eezy-peezy! If your daughter’s temperament is so fragile that just the mere passing sight of the is enough to crush her dreams and intellectual development you should probably be spending less time at work and more time at home modeling positive behaviors.
I know home isn’t that “interesting” but it is the most influential place your children will ever visit or occupy in their entire lives…even if there’s an SUV in the driveway.
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