Melissa and Doug alternative

So I just blogged last week (okay, it felt like last week, but it could’ve been three months ago—my life is a black hole and days get lost, sucked into the vortex of trying my best and driving myself insane in the process) about my disappointing discovery that the dressable, mix and match outfit dolls from Melissa and Doug are horrifyingly, nineteen-thirties-ingly, cringe-inducingly gender stereotyped, with one career boy doll and three pink, frilly, princess-y dolls. (I’ll repeat here that I love the boy doll, and I’m only very, very upset with the toymaker about the difference between boy doll and girl dolls.)

Well, I found the antidote. (note: I found this on my own, in a locally owned and operated toy store. I don’t get stuff free, I don’t advertise on my blog. I vent. If you don’t believe me, try to find another product endorsement in these posts. There aren’t any that I remember. Second note: my memory sucks, so don’t hold me to the sales-pitch-free site promise I just made, ‘cuz I can’t be held responsible for what I blog at midnight. Third note: of course I can. I just don’t remember all of it. In an “I don’t remember what your fourteenth word was, honey” kind of way, not an “I don’t remember that we had sex, but I believe you if you say we did” kind of way.)

Schylling makes a wooden boy bear and girl bear set, where you mix and match their expressions, clothes, and shoes. And they’re as close as I’ve found to gender non-assumptive. Yes, the girl has some pink outfits (including a ballet getup) and the boy doesn’t. But there are several almost-gender-neutral outfits for both, and, surprisingly, the expressions are almost exactly matched. (Boy has a crying face, so does girl; girl has same number of smiling faces as boy; neither has angry face. The only difference is that the girl has a sleeping face to a befuddled face for the boy. I’m willing to let that go. Even Spouse was shocked. He expected only crying and smiling from girl bear, and only angry and sleeping from boy bear. But whether that’s more a statement on our marriage or on his feminism, I don’t know.) The girl has a pair of overalls, the boy does, too. Yes, hers have a couple of sunflower buttons and his have plain buttons. But it’s about three hundreds years more advanced than M&D’s nonsense.

I plan to buy both and mix all the clothes into the boy doll’s box. If I had a girl, I’d buy both, surreptitiously toss the frilly outfit, and mix all the other outfits into the girl doll’s box.

Ernest Moody and Emma Moody. Relatively inexpensive. Sold separately. Smaller and more portable than the Melissa and Doug discrimination-fest. Tell your local toystore to carry them (and why!)

If you know of something even more equal, let me know. But for now, I’m pretty happy to find an alternative to Melissa and Doug’s discouraging message that boys can be anything they want and girls can be pretty.

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I’m really peeved at Melissa and Doug

I usually like the toy makers over at Melissa and Doug. They’re all wooden and edutainment-y, and I like that.

But today I’m heart-poundingly, strongly-worded-letter-y pissed.

Grandma brought Peanut a cool magnetic dress-up Joey doll. Peanut loves the doll. I love the doll. So I figured I’d get him the female version, too.

Uh-oh. Not just gender-assigned, not just gender-stereotyped, but gender-disgusting.

The Joey doll gets to be a firefighter, police officer, knight, superhero, construction worker, and a pirate. Stereotyped, sure, but not totally offensive, provided there is a female doll with the same choices, too.

Well, the Maggie doll lets you choose between “cute” outfit and “attractive” outfit. Period. Revolutionary choice of skirts or pants. No career garb. No uniforms. Nothing she could wear to a world where they value her for her mind. But she sure is purdy.

The Nina doll is all different ballerina costumes. The Princess doll is too disgusting to discuss here. Use your imagination. Now add more ruffles and glitter.

I’m genuinely pissed. My son happened to catch a glimpse of baseball on tv a few months ago, and asked where the ladies were. I told him I wasn’t sure, but we’d turn the channel until we saw some. So we watched billiards for a while. Then poker. ‘Cuz in those worlds, women and men seem a little more equal.

Are you freaking kidding me with dolls like this? Why can’t the Joey doll come in a female version? There are firefighter and police officer and construction worker women. Why not add a garbage truck driver and an executive, because women do that, too. Sure she can be a princess. Can’t each set have real career choices, including princess? (Oh, what? Like pirate is a viable career choice outside Somalia? And knight is a monster.com pull-down option? Each set could have some realistic and some unrealistic jobs. I want a set with a professor, a lawyer, a doctor, and a comedia delle arte harlequino. I guess we’ll have to learn to carve our own.)

I’m going to go write to Melissa and Doug. If you care what your daughters and sons know about life, I urge you to do the same. Tell me when you find a girl doll who dresses up as something other than a princess or a beauty object. ‘Cuz I’ll buy her doll. And more for gifts. I mean, hell, even Barbie got a job every once in a token while.

Melissa and Doug, shame on you. This is not 1909. The only choices are not mom or princess; policeman or fireman. I’m not teaching my son that, because it’s not reality. And I’m not teaching girls that, because it’s not reality. There was a motherf–king woman running for President this year, y’all, and all we get is princess and dresses? F— you. I’m buying Plan Toys this year.

Btw, where is the black Joey doll? And the Latino/a and the Asian? I know that shouldn’t be a “by the way” question, but I’m too pissed to rank my equality priorities right now. I want it all.