I’m sure in between reruns of Dora the Explorer and Blues Clues you might have noticed Tonka’s new “Built For Boyhood” commercials. They pretty much highlight the rough-and-tumbleness of preschool boys, and how their trucks are able to hold up to that kind of abuse. I loved the commercials, and thought they nailed this one in terms of relating to moms of boys.
Seems others have not felt so warm and fuzzy about these commercials as I have. Elizabeth over at Table4Five seemed quite annoyed when she wrote in a post on Friday, “But here’s a newsflash, Tonka-Girls like playing with Tonka Trucks! It’s true! And playing with them does not cause them to grow a penis, or anything!“. (I seriously snorted tea out of my nose when I read that, btw.) This followed another, similar post over at Feminist Philosophers last month, and several I have read around the net lambasting this campaign.
I think this is one of those reasons that I just do not relate to modern feminism. Since when did it become a bad thing to market things to a specific sex? Last I checked, toy companies were not regularly featuring little boys in their commercials for toys like baby dolls, My Little Ponies, Disney Princesses, Polly Pockets, Littlest Petshop, or any other toys typically found in the ‘girls’ toy section of any given store. So why is this commercial worth such scorn? Because they actually said the word “boys” out loud, instead of just implying it by only showing little boys playing with it? Give me a break.
Maybe I’m missing something, but it’s starting to feel like anything deemed ‘male’ is coming under attack anymore. Boy Scouts are being sued to allow girls, men cannot have social clubs that women are not allowed in, and just for fun, try Googling ‘men’s gym’. Want to know what comes up most often? Men’s gym shoes. Now try ‘women’s gym’. Pages upon pages of women’s fitness centers. Why is that I wonder? Men are just not allowed to be men anymore, and I think that’s a damn shame if there ever was one.
One of these days the feminists are going to realize that there is a certain amount of androgyny that occurs in the human species, but overall, boys and girls really are VERY different creatures. As the mom to both boys and a girl, the differences between them are remarkable. My daughter is the oldest, and we have never discouraged her brothers from playing with her toys or dissuaded them from having the same interests as she. (My 4 year old was the only boy in his 4K class who listed his favorite color as pink.) Yet to watch them, they will take those same toys and find ways to fight with them, or beat each other over the head with them, no matter how I try to stop them.
So in the end, if some toy company decides to quit the game of being sly and starts actually saying the word ‘boys’ instead of just seriously, heavily implying it by VERY rarely showing girls in their commercials..Who does that hurt? Why can’t boys just be boys every once in awhile?