This evening, my husband and I went to the mall to pick up a couple of things, and we stumbled across a new toy store, ToyZam! We still have presents to buy for his niece and nephew, so we thought we’d pop in to check in. Like too many toy and department stores, we found the place segregated like this:
Boys get action figures, cars, radio controlled stuff, sport equipment, and Nerf guns. Girls get Barbie, baby dolls, dress up clothes, and arts and crafts. That sound you hear is my eyes rolling so hard. This problem is not confined to children, either. My husband seriously needs a new pair of slippers, so I thought I might pick him up a pair. He currently wears an old pair of mine that are fluffy and delightful, but also pretty worn through. After a search of Amazon, Overstock, and a half dozen other brick and mortar stores, I discovered that the only fluffy, fuzzy men’s shoes have sports logos on them. (More often than not, they’re in the men’s section.) Forget the fact that my husband wouldn’t be able to identify our hometown football team’s logo if I brought a pair home, or that I’m the sports fan in our house.
Now, I’m clearly far from the first person to notice or complain about this phenomenon. We all have stories of or are ourselves the tomboy, the sensitive guy, blah blah blah. When stories like Katie’s get international attention and support, it’s pretty clear that the boy toys-girl toys dichotomy is stupid. But if it’s so common to prove the trope wrong, why, why, why do stores continue to push the same, tired, old thing?