Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Working Title: Tech for Boys, Magic for Girls: From YKTTW

Lale: Here's the second law for girls' toys — as a girl's age and/or number of brothers increases, the joy from playing with Barbie dolls is transformed into joy from burning them.

Ruthie A: I don't know, I've always liked my Barbie dolls...of course, I tended to have my Barbie dolls be super heroes and secret agents and such (or at the very least Nerds), so perhaps mine is a different situation.

Lale: Speaking as a girl, that last sentence sounds whiny.

Chaz: Right now the last sentence, which I'm removing, is,
A particularly embarrassing development, given the ramifications of the apparent difficulty of recruiting girls and young women into pursuing technical fields of study.
I can't really make sense of this sentence (fragment). What ramifications are they referring to, and how are they connected? Are they saying that girls playing with fairy dust toys instead of high tech toys deters them from technical fields? Then that recruiting difficulty would be a ramification of this toy phenomenon. Also, who is this embarrassing for?

AnoSa: Speaking as a female who is in the hard science/technical fields of study, I'm not very sure myself. People who have actually looked into the reasons why have discovered that young women are not very interested in fields which cannot be easily picked up again if they want to have children without having a househusband. (Others would consider a househusband a definite turn-on.)
Burai: Speaking as an overgrown boy, I never really noticed that toys made a big deal about technology qua actual toy-making technology. When an action figure has a Kung Fu Chop function, they generally don't sell it on the grounds of watchmaker-like craftsmanship — it's just "wow! It can punch just like on TV!"

But then, the line does get blurred a bit by action figures generally having a "high tech" flavor in character which I guess is part of the trope here (tech/SF for boys, magic/fantasy for girls). This sometimes results in "technology" like transparent red plastic and built-in magnets being presented as Applied Phlebotinum ...

Scrounge: The craftsmanship and detail points are generally reserved for lines aimed at the older collector... But, with the exception of some limited-edition Barbie dolls, I'm under the impression that those lines are also generally targeted at males. See, for example, Marvel Legends and Hasbro's "Titanium" lines.

Nornagest: Yeah, as far as I remember this mostly applies in the toys' fictional universe. I recall several instances where cheap plastic was supposed to represent cutting-edge or fictional technology in boys' toys, and even a few where magic was implied (although it had a heroic-fantasy feel, not the fairytale feel that commercials for girls' toys use), but none where the actual engineering was played up.

Max Chaplin: I think the difference is in the appealing method: Girl toys are "something you'd like to cuddle/take care of", so they try to seem organic and emotional; boy toys are "something you'd like to have under your control", which has a different set of appealing factors. Think of the things toys are modeled after: A little girl which turns out to be robotic is creepy; a bionic marine is just as (and actually much more) badass. It might be related to the different ways boys and girls are taught to handle emotions.

Phartman: The rationale behind this isn't very hard to spot; you guys already nailed it. Since toys based on living things do get marketed to boys as "alive," this trope really seems like a License To Whine.

Diddgery: Added a page image. If anyone thinks it doesn't work too well, go ahead and remove it.

Quills: That picture to me has implications of 'OH NO THE DOLL IS POSSESSED' and that makes it hilarious. Just sayin'.

Vulpix: I think some examples should be added.