Purchasing Gender-Specific Items – is This too Sexist?

girl with baby doll

Ever notice most toy stores have toys sectioned into 2 categories? You see the “boys” and the “girls” sections, clearly divided. I wonder why that is? I mean, today everyone (well MOST everyone) seems to be all about fairness and equality, so why the great divide? Toys R Us is the store I took notice to. This particular store actually had toys divided into a blue and navy “boys” section, and a pink and white “girls” section. If the store is already painting a sexist picture, then what about purchasing gender-specific items? Is that sexist as well? A baby doll for a little girl and a truck for a little boy.

I see this everywhere though, not just in toy stores. I see this in everyday essentials. Gone are basic toiletries, for example. Now there are separate shampoos for men and women, separate conditioners, shower gels, soaps and deodorants – even sunscreen. Heck – even his and hers razors.
In the words of Appliance Design writer Richard Babyak, genderising what was initially a neutral personal appliance was, “a brilliant idea, since it provided the opportunity to sell two shavers to a household instead of one.”

It goes even deeper though. Have you seen the pink tools for women? Ahh yes, there is such a thing. Do women really need “quality pink tools” as sold by Tomboy Tools? Of course not but someone’s buying them. So a woman can’t use a hammer unless it’s pink? I guess some women feel that way? I think some women feel catered to and that is the big selling point. But, is all of this just making that gender specific line clearer?

Oh and what about the new TaTa Top – a bikini top with two pink nipples emblazoned onto the cups. This oddly realistic garment has been created in order to tackle the lack of gender equality when it comes to bearing all.

This is where I get confused…so, gender specific items can promote sexism yet at the same time scream equality? Eh, I let my boys play with baby dolls and my daughter play with dump trucks and vice versa. Personally I think too much thought goes into all of this creating bigger debates than need be – but yet it is a ht topic.