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.