Okay, break over.

Aside from the fact that I can’t be quiet (like, ever), I found some interesting articles for your consideration while doing my hour of Sunday Internet time. Guess that thought about maybe abandoning the blog was foolish talk. My Internet limit, though, means you’re in for a wild ride this post…

Fascinating article on Trader Joe’s, the highly secretive and mum company that supplies 75% of my family’s food. The LA Magazine piece is quite interesting and revelatory, though the last two paragraphs are almost the lamest conclusion I’ve ever read. And given that I taught freshman level English at a community college, “lamest” is saying a lot.

The controversy swirling about LEGO’s horrific decision to create pink and purple LEGOs for girls in which the characters lounge poolside and drink frothy beverages has me so angry I can barely speak. I’ve already ranted about Melissa and Doug‘s disgusting choice to have career dress up dolls for boys and fashion dress up dolls for girls, the hatefulness and ignorance of which made me stop buying their toys (a decision on which I doubled down when I realized how much of their stuff has PVC in it.)

And, in the interest of public service, a good read on how to affect public policy</a. I found Information Diet searching for a list of which companies support PIPA and SOPA, the terrifying congressional attempts to regulate the Internet that will make American access to information a lot more like so-called access in countries with overt government-sponsored censorship like China and Iran.

So. Learn about Trader Joe’s, debate toy pinkification, and wrangle with your legislative representative about the Internet. These are my contributions to your first day of 2012. What do you think?

14 thoughts on “Okay, break over.

  1. Thank you! I’m nervous now about the PvC thing for Melissa and doug. Also confused. We have a lot of their wooden puzzles and love them. Surely this doesn’t apply to those? And they are on a site that lists companies dedication to creating safe and toxin free toys?

  2. Thank you for the links. I got caught in a spiraling blogquest and comment review re: the LEGOs sitch. Had to force myself to stop because !!!!!.

    Also, “And given that I taught freshman level English at a community college, “lamest” is saying a lot.” = LMAO.

  3. @Emily their wooden puzzles are free of PVC but sometimes test risky for lead. Check out http://healthytoys.org for info on which of their toys are safe. Their fake fruit and veggies, for instance, are PVC.

    @Ink Yeah, there’s a blackhole out there in “how dare you land” and LEGO is in the middle right now.
    And you know what I mean about lame conclusions…saying a professional hit close to that level is kind of shocking, right? The language is fine, but the streeeeeeeeeetch made to link and compare two things is based on a pathetic metaphor.

  4. uh oh… guess who got some pink hello kitty and horse stable LEGOs for xmas???? haha. yeah, that’s right. and you know what they told me as they were frantically assembling swingsets and a horse house/stable thingy? that they were siked that these LEGOs were in colors girls like, not the ones that boys like. however, they appear to enjoy the teenie tiny plastic pieces that get all over the place because of the buildings they are putting together rather than the gender leanings of color. they are REALLY into building buildings. And 18 wheelers for the freaky fairy army they have been collecting over this past year.

    my question is, where in tarnation did they learn to think that there was any kind of gender-specific color scheme to anything in the first place? i did not perpetuate this attitude of what girls do and don’t like. but the culture we all live in certainly has, as it has beaten in the weird santa myth and mortal thirst for presents. i can’t imagine how i could have prevented the half-genetic, half-advertising obsession with colors girls supposedly like. shit, i’ve even incorporated some glowy purple-durple clothing items into my mostly black, dark blue, occasionally red ensemble. what’s happening to us all?!

  5. J! Hey, if they build, that’s the point. LEGO, however, used to run campaigns showing girls using multicolored blocks, and I’m disappointed they said, “hey, you know what will sell? Pink and sparkly princess LEGOs.”
    If Barbie would come out as an architect with a companion LEGO set in regular colors, I would be stoked.


    That open letter to LEGO says it all: they’re cramming it down families’ throats, and we’re all doomed. DOOMED.

    Peanut’s cousin told him pink is just for girls. He asked me if that’s true. I asked him, do you like pink? Yes. Do you wear pink? Yes. Does your dad and your uncle wear pink? Yes. Well, then, I guess your cousin is wrong. But you know what? A lot of people in life are wrong. And they’re welcome to their opinions. Just don’t let them change your mind about what you like and who you are. Beenie and Mimi: do you like pink? Well then don’t let me change your mind, either.

  6. so, although we are in the middle of the desert, on our seemingly eternal move across the country via mini van, I am obsessing over all of this info….the toy safety in general. It looks as so the Melissa and Doug puzzles we have are fine, based on reports on that site, but now I am inventorying every last toy my children play with. Should we not own ANY toy that is plastic of any kind? You seem to be in the know and I have gotten lost in the internet black hole as I search. With a baby nursing every hour and a half all night in unfamiliar hotel rooms, and 6 hour drives per day, it is probably not the best time to be doing this, but I am concerned. Any info would be great!!!!!

  7. i LOVE the idea of the Barbie architect. She’d be all in black and gray, not really slutty as much as stressed-out, wildly underpaid and overworked, and in a constant state of suffering. A five or six year architecture degree carried around in her briefcase could double as a place mat.

    I’m with you on LEGO. that company definitely needs to be reminded how cool they used to be. i wonder if parents and families buying boys LEGOs and girls other kinds of toys influenced the decision to market directly to females. i must say that as the ladies age, i see no LEGOs in their female peers toy boxes, but boys have tons of ’em. it is very sad.

  8. I never saw the point in gender-specific toys. I was lucky enough to have both an older brother and an older sister, which meant I got to play with both Barbies (not such a fan, though I did love pressing the button to make bubbles in Barbie’s jacuzzi) and G.I. Joes. Plus gender-neutral toys like Etch-a-Sketch and that thing where you could put in lots of different little colored light bulbs in a light board to make lit-up pictures. I loved that thing, whatever it was.

    My son is already immersed in a totally masculine world of construction toys and tools. Rural life tends to be sort of predominantly masculine anyway. Whatever. He’ll be who he’s meant to be, no matter what toys he’s given for Christmas.

  9. @Emily we avoid plastic whenever we can, especially for food, but plenty of our toys are plastic. We prefer recycled polypropylene like the stuff by Green Toys. When we buy plastic we make sure it’s #2, #4, or #5. Almost everything available as a plastic is available either silicone (for the kitchen) or natural rubber (teethers) or wood. When you’re buying, the box will say what kind of plastic it is. Or if you buy online, it will be listed. If they don’t specify, don’t buy it.

    Here’s a link with pretty simple rules http://www.ewg.org/parentsgreenguide on the biggest toxins to avoid. Boo and hiss to Congress for not regulating these better, and for taking industry word without independent research on safety.

  10. @J of *course* it’s parents driving the market to pink vs. blue. Science kit vs. doll. Trucks vs. glitter. And it’s maddening. We got my cousins’ daughter a front loader for Christmas. But we got another a babydoll ergo baby carrier because that young lady loves her dolls, and watches awesome parenting wherein her mom and dad carry her little brother all the time. So she got that because of her interest in modeled behavior. The families who model pedicures for one and truck pulls for the other buy accordingly. I have no problem with any of those activities or interests. I have a problem with the circumscription of each with gendered lines. Enjoy your pedicure, my husband and son. Enjoy your tractor pull, nieces.

    @Kristin LITE BRITE! I wanted one so badly. Still do. I just pinned an awesome image on pinterest where someone took a white canvas and poked white fairy lights through in a random but star-like pattern. Lite Brite for grownups.
    Construction tools are super cool. As long as you’d let a daughter access to them (as most farms and ranches today would), why then there’s nothing wrong. Heck, I was into princess and Barbie, and hated construction tools but was raised by feminists who never bought into or hyped those stereotypes in our family. I’m not saying girls are hurt by the color pink. I’m just furious that so much of this country insists that a color is for one type of person, even though before the Baby Boom, pink was forbidden for girls because it was too strong a color and girls were too weak.

    @Jane WORD. Except the chicks seem to dig them.

  11. Also read the comments… One argument was girls lag behind in spacial relations and cognition (arguably some biological truth behind this?) and anyway that could encourage them to play with blocks is a good thing. One question I have: Will change the colors to purple and pink make that difference?

    Anyway, I will continue to buy little girls the original Lego Blocks for birthdays.

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