The most interesting version of toys for baby girls do not seem to be the ones in feminine colors. We have the Jellycat pink bunny, but that’s because it’s the one with a chime. Mostly I buy the gender neutral version of a toy over the pink one geared towards baby girls. There is no political motivation here.
This preference comes to mind as I think about my to do list, where number one is to clean out my closet full of fancy high heels, brightly colored skirts, flower- or geometric-print scarves and tops.
Women generally like things to be more interesting and sparkly than men do. This holds pretty true at age 30, 20, 10.
So why, I wonder, are the girl versions of baby toys the monochromatic pink ones? The gender-neutral versions are red, blue, green, yellow, and orange. They are so much more engaging than the ones comprised of just shades of pink. At least to me, and I really like girly things. (For reference I have multiple pairs of sequin shoes in my closet to put away).
I worked at large companies long enough to know its only about the bottom line.
So what is the business reason that boring baby toys are the ones geared for girls? And when does it switch? At what age do toy makers design toys for girls more sparkly and special than those in traditional gender-neutral colors or themes?
Three or four? It seems like the pink shelf for that age group in the store is more attention grabbing with fairies, castles, etc. Puppets geared for little girls have ribbons and bows and definitely more that one color each.
I think the reason baby girl toys are so boringly monotone is because companies market to the people excited to announce and support that it’s a girl on the way. Marketers are trying to get the new grandparent’s attention, not the baby’s. And at a quick glance the pink toy (priced at a mark up) seems more special and fun to give.
I’m typing this with Julia sleeping in my lap. And as I quietly look around her grey nursery, I notice that it’s filled with lovely pastel-colored stuffed animals. The lavender hippo, blush-colored bunny and white PBK swan, lamb and polar bear look and are neglected.
Perhaps I’ll get her a red Jellycat fox, or a dark green Jellycat crocodile. (Her indifference to stuffed animals perhaps can be corrected by my surrounding her with more colorful ones.)
Or I’ll just keep choosing toys that were highly rated by other consumers like me who can’t yet ask their toddlers what toys they want for holidays. This is not for lack of trying. At Janie and Jack we gave Julia a choice of any toy in the store and she brought us a hanger.
But she’s 14-months at the time of this post and now into shoes, cutting boards, animal books, and blocks. None of these are pink. I write that proudly, as if it’s an accomplishment to avoid girly products for my daughter. I will happily get whichever version she chooses when she is old enough to select for herself.
Except of course for the frozen basketball she insisted on the other day in target. Surely she just made a mistake that day. Twice.