As a child of the 80s and 90s, all I wanted to do was build and engineer things with my Legos. People were nice enough to encourage this, but they insisted on only giving me pink Lego sets with dolphins and pink convertibles instead. As adults perhaps they thought they knew better than 8-year old me, who wanted the train or pirate sets they marketed to boys. Barbies held no interest for me, but I loved building the sets of houses where she lived. And I had to built it without instructions because that was more challenging. Once it was built, it sat there collecting dust. I was pro-princess however, but when I played princess she was the heroine and I was frequently rescuing others. I adapted to the gendered toys handed down to me, but I spent so much energy modifying them to fit something beyond their girlie-ness that I have to wonder if my creativity and personal development was limited by them.
That’s where GoldieBlox comes in. It’s a toy company that focuses on creating construction toys that develop an early interest in science, technology, engineering and math for girls. It was started because for over a hundred years, these types of toys have been limited to the boys club. One might argue that girls could easily just buy and use the same Erector Sets the boys use, but marketing has sent a clear message that those toys are more for boys than girls. And it’s had a profound effect on women in the sciences.
“Only one-fifth of physics Ph.D.’s in this country are awarded to women, and only about half of those women are American; of all the physics professors in the United States, only 14 percent are women.” (New York Times, October 2013, Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?) Fewer than 3 in 10 graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are women. And barely 1 in 10 actual engineers are women (Upworthy.com).
They are trying to get the message out on this discrepancy and get girls constructing! They’ve released an awesome ad, which they are vying to get into the Superbowl with. It will be a great break to see girls do something else than eat Doritos provacatively, wash cars in bikinis or drink cold bear in a push up bra. So if you want young viewers to see something with a positive message that’s not about sex and stereotypes, vote for GoldieBlox here!
It may be too late for me to reclaim my childhood filled with pink and princesses, but GoldieBlox and myself can at least make sure that the next generation of girls can be more than just damsels in distress!