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Buying a Dollhouse for the Holidays? Find Out What Message You're Sending Your Kids

Nov 25, 2012 at 11:36 PM Chime in now

Playmobile Dollhouse: A Good Buy. IMAGE FROM LISA MORAN

The blue toy kitchen. Pink Lego. Any parent who has tried shake it up in the playroom on the gender front knows that it can be a mixed bag. And that toys -- whether plastic and Disney-fied or wooden and organic -- send a message to our kids. (We're still not over the one delivered with the new and improved Easy-Bake Oven.)

Which is why we loved "The Gender Politics of the Dollhouse" post that we saw on Jezebel by Lisa Wade, a professor of sociology at Occidental College. After seeing a tweet about "gender-neutral dollhouses," Wade gave her professional opinion about the messages that some of the current offerings send to kids (okay, girls), writing: "Among the 22 bestselling dollhouses at Toys R Us, four came without people, six came with a preponderance of females, ten came with a male, female, and children, and there were two I couldn't categorize."

Wade then divides the dollhouses into two types -- family-focused (like the Fisher-Price Loving Family Home for the Holidays) and friendship-focused with a whiff of girl power (like the Exclusive Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse). The latter "had only women or, more often, a group of women and one man. They gave the impression of female home-ownership and female-dominated social interaction," she writes, adding that they somehow manage to send girls the positive message "that they can have fulfilling lives and own homes without a husband." (Just like the bikini-clad astronomer Barbie pictured.) Of course, we have absolutely no idea where this leaves boys, but maybe that's beside the point. I gave my two boys the Playmobile "Summer House" above and when left to their own devices, it was turned into a "construction site." (Note demolition vehicles at left.)

Read More:
Sweden Takes Gender Neutrality Seriously
The Joy of Raising a Boy
The Benefits of Play

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