Sexist Toys for Babies and Toddlers

Yes, why wait until they can walk and speak to give them sexist toys when you can do it when they’re still babies?

So, the other day, at the toy store, I found this:



Sure, it’s in Japanese, but do I really need to explain?

I guess I will do it a bit in case you’re color blind or don’t have kids and don’t understand what the big deal is. If you have kids and don’t understand what the big deal is, then we have a problem, well…  You do. You have a problem.

So, this toy is basically a toy to help babies and toddler learn how to stand, and then walk, as well as a bunch of other things (you can turn things, pull things, press things, I’m sure it makes noises too, you get it). It’s for kids who are 9 months old and older. On the left you have the version for girls, and on the right, the version for boys.

First of all, why exactly do we need gendered toys for children that are less than one year old in the first place? I just don’t get it.

Anyhow, let’s say it’s relevant and let’s compare them a bit. Do you see the problem?

The toy for girls is mostly pink and purple, and every other color that is not pink or purple (or white) is a pastel color. On the other side, the toy for boys is very colorful, with all kinds of colors.

So, nothing new here, right?

Well, yes, apparently girls are allowed only one or two colors and boys are allowed as many as they want, we all know that. And I mean, it’s bad enough when we’re dealing with young kids, but here, we’re talking about babies about to become toddlers. They’re at a crucial age in their life, they’re starting to be mobile, soon to be walking, and as soon as they can, they start discovering the world and understanding what’s around them, including colors. For example, one of my 16 months old son’s favorite activities now, is pointing at his color book so that I tell him the names of the colors. This age – once they’ve learned how to walk – really is the age, when the brain starts focusing on learning… well… about pretty much everything that surrounds them. It’s the first time in their life when they focus on the world, and not themselves.

Limiting the colors a kid can interact with at that age is not just wrong, it’s criminal. I’m sure it stunts the kid’s imagination in many ways.

You see those kinds of things over and over with girl toys, but this example may be one of the worst.



About David Billa

David was born and raised in the French South West. After a few years in the US and a few more in Paris, he finally settled down in Japan. He blogs here about his various experiences and travels, with an emphasis on his home country, France.

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6 thoughts on “Sexist Toys for Babies and Toddlers

  • ton pote du dpt d'espagnol de UF

    Here promoting machismo (i.e.: “gendered toys”) goes hand in hand with capitalism: if you have a daughter and a son, then your son will not be able to use his sister’s toy when she grows up (“because it is for a girl!”). The toy company makes double profit.

  • academoiselle

    The funny thing is that pink used to be considered a boy’s color until the mid 1900s because it was closer to red which was seen as more aggressive. Girls dressed in blue because blue was more “delicate” …

    It’s all arbitrary!

    • David Billa Post author

      Indeed, but here I think we’re way beyond the blue/pink thing.
      I’m even tempted to say that “pink for girls and blue for boys” wasn’t that bad in a sense, it left every other colors for everyone.
      Now, we’re at a stage where it’s “pink for girls and every other colors for boys” and that’s a big big problem.

  • Shiba Chika

    Hi I’m a Japanese woman living in the US. I see those kinds of sexist stuff here too, but it’s way, way worse in Japan, and what bothers me is that people don’t even think about it. It’s largely a Japanese cultural thing, but not in really traditional sense, because in old days, women and girls have more color choices than men and boys, who were supposed wear more muted colors.
    I think the bigger problem is the stupid sexist marketing practice that’s standard in Japan. It’s stupid because much of it doesn’t even make sense. Sexist kids’ toys might be detrimental for their mental development, but it’s only a part of the society and culture that I call sex separationalist.
    They make and name stuff like “Men’s Pocky (men should like it because it uses dark chocolate unlike original milk chocolate version)”, “Men’s Chili Oil (because, eh, I guess, it contains a lot of garlic??)”, and “the Wet Towellets for Men (with menthol because men need more refreshment than women?)”. I’m woman and I bought those things, though I hated the naming. That’s how stupid it is. I get so amped up just thinking about it. In my opinion, the men behind those stupid ideas are responsible for tanking Japanese economy. Actually, men or women, Japanese in general never even think about sexism. That’s why those toys sell.

    • David Billa Post author

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, you’re totally on point.
      Sexism is so pernicious in Japan because nobody seems to be aware of it.