And now for my third blog on GoldieBlox…
The more I think about this one line describing the building toy created to appeal to girls, the more it gets to me. The Atlantic reports:
“Sterling’s basic conceit — that by playing to girls’ inclination to help and imbuing their designs with practical purpose she can get them designing and building.”
So the stereotype here is that girls are kind and sweet and just want to help people, or lambs, whatever; there is something uniquely feminine about “helping.” By the way, I would have absolutely no problem with this view of girls if it were true. My issue here, and my obsession with feminism in general, isn’t driven by a need for justice or even compassion for women. It’s that these stereotypes are bullshit. They are not true. And, personally, I don’t think basing entire civilizations on bullshit is, ultimately, good for anyone.
An “inclination to help” is a rescue fantasy. Different words, same thing. There is no gender split.
Rescue fantasies have existed in stories since the beginning of time. When stories are mostly written by males, it is often the case that females become the subject (or one could say, no doubt, object) to be rescued. What is brilliant about GoldieBlox is that instead of creating the story so that the female identifies with the little lambs who need saving, she gets to be the rescuer.
Ever heard of a prince with “an inclination to help” a maiden in distress? It sounds ridiculous, right?
There is no need, except for a sexist one, to use tamer words for narratives starring girls. All humans want to be actors, people who act, the main actors in our own lives; all humans have fantasies about being heroes. The gender difference is that far more often, males get to express and act on those fantasies.