This toy makes me “Fijit”, uncomfortably.
Posted on June 27th, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

So my daughter (6yrs) and I were working on her Santa list for Christmas.  It’s only June, I know, but my girl is all about the big events in life….birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, Christmas.  No sooner is one event finished, then she is thinking and planning for the next one.  I wonder where she gets that from? *shuffles feet and whistles innocently*

Anyway, she has been going on about these new robots called Fijits.  She’s seen the ad on TV and has seen them in all the toy catalogues.  They dance and sing and you can talk to them and have full conversations.  They’re marketed as a girls best friend.

Fijit

New to the world of Fijits, I decided to do some research.  I find that they have 4 different Fijits; Seraphina (pink), Willa (purple), Logan (blue) and Sage (yellow/green).  They each have different personalities and these are published on the website and the boxes of the toys.  My guess is that the designers tried to accommodate all kinds of girls when making these robots, something I applaud.  Seraphina is the resident ‘girly girl’ and sweety pie who likes romantic comedies, Willa is a fashionista and loves clothes and art, Logan is the sporty one and loves action and soccer and Sage is adventurous, likes hiking and science.

Sage  Screen Shot 2012 06 26 at 6 27 50 PM

Screen Shot 2012 06 26 at 6 28 48 PM Screen Shot 2012 06 26 at 6 28 32 PM

 

Ok, so despite my own loathing of the girly girl and the fashionista, I accept that there are many ways to be a girl.  I’m thrilled that they have reached out to all kinds of girls and catered for everybody.  I load up the Toys R Us website and look up Fijits.  They only have the pink and purple fijits on offer.  So my choices are girly girl or fashionista trend setter.  Hmph.  Ok, I’ll try BigW.  Same story there.  Only pink and purple.  So again my choices for my daughter are girly girl or fashionista. Next I called up Kmart and they don’t stock them at all.  My next call was to Toyworld and they only have the purple one in their catalogue, but they had none in my local store.

Toys R Us and BigW have them on sale for $68.67 and $67 respectively.

My next option is to search online for Sage or Logan.  I type in “buy fijit online”.  I changed my location to Australia only and I get a bunch of hits.  All of them for Willa (purple) or Seraphina (pink).  Next I tried searching for “buy fijit sage logan online”.  Again, I got a number of hits for toy stores who sell Fijits, and mention Sage or Logan in the description, but they only actually sell the pink or purple with the exception of Fishpond.com.au who actually have all 4 characters for sale. The catch?  I have to pay $89.95, but they do offer free shipping.   eBay has quite a few for sale, most of which are located in the USA, but will ship to Australia for a hefty fee.

So, not unlike the Merida dolls from the new “Brave” movie in my recent post, I must either import these toys or pay a premium for them online.  Once upon a time I would have just gone to BigW or Toys R Us and picked up whatever they had available, without much thought to what was on the box.  These days, I’m a lot more concerned with the messages these toys are sending to my daughter.  My daughter loved the pink and purple ones, but when I showed her you could also get an adventurous Sage or a sporty Logan too, I thought her little head was going to explode!  She could not decide whether she wanted sporty or adventurous.  She still keeps changing her mind and has no idea what to tell Santa!  She keeps changing between sporty and adventurous.  In her own words “Sporty or adventure, that’s waaaaaaaay more fun than just pretty or liking clothes Mum! I want to go on adventures!”  My girl is the kind of girl that will throw on a princess dress and gum boots, grab her scooter and go on adventures with her stuffed animals or kick a soccer ball or pink football (we’re not perfect, nor are we immune to the pressures of pink) around in the back yard, or pretend she’s in a rocket going to the moon to find aliens.  She is by no means what some uneducated people refer to as a ‘tomboy’.  I HATE the word “tomboy”.  But that’s a whole other blog post!!  My point is, she likes ALL things, not just pink things.

So I’m not sure why it’s so hard to get all 4 characters in Australia.  At first I thought maybe it was the stores only ordering what they feel will sell better.  They will only supply what sells.  They don’t want a bunch of yellow/green and blue Fijits left over on their shelves that they can’t sell.  Perhaps that is a huge part of it, but my daughter told me that the advertisement  on TV for them only features the pink and purple Fijits.  The advertisement  doesn’t tell you which store to buy from, it’s just an ad for the line of toys by Mattel.  Do the big companies have such a huge influence on what our kids see on TV that they are having the ads modified to suit what is for sale on their shelves?

It’s really very disappointing, no angering, because these companies are alienating half of their audience! Why are these companies so scared of girls that aren’t pink and frilly?

This is where we come in as consumers.  How many of us would actually choose to buy blue or yellow/green if they were on the shelf right beside the pink and purple ones? It’s so easy to fall into the trap of my girl wants pink or purple, without stopping to think about the message behind those colours.  We need to give our girls options!  Think carefully about what you spend your money on because it sends a message about what we want to buy.  Think before you pick up that pink toy.  Read the box.  What does the message say?  Is that message something you’re comfortable for your child to absorb? As consumers we have the power to change the way these companies sell their products.

Please join me in contacting BigW, Toys R Us and Toyworld and ask them to supply the FULL range of Fijits and to stop alienating those girls who want something different.

 

====EDIT====

Just realised I forgot to include Target in my research.  I’ve just viewed their catalogue and called them up.  Same exact story.  Pink or purple only.  You can contact them HERE to ask them to please supply the full range of Fijits.

Cheers!


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It’s a “Brave” new world!
Posted on June 25th, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

I took my daughter, 6, along to see the new Disney Pixar movie “Brave” last weekend.  WOW!! We absolutely LOVED it! My daughter has been begging me for a bow and arrow set, just like Merida’s, ever since!  I walked away from the movie feeling overwhelmed and more connected to my own daughter, which I didn’t even think was possible.  The overriding message for me was one of love and the bond between mother and daughter, despite disagreements, the struggle to become your own person and the lengths which you will go, to protect one another.

I fell in love with the movie when I first saw the preview that had our heroine, Princess Merida, declaring “I’ll shoot for my own hand!” in her thick, scottish garble.  Brilliant! Finally a princess who has guts and isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo!

The movie didn’t disappoint! It was everything I thought it would be, and more.  I don’t want to give away the movie, so I won’t go into great detail about it, but there was one scene that stood out for me.  Merida was standing in a room full of men, trying to explain that she wasn’t a prize to be won, and that if she chooses to get married, it should be for love, not duty.  At this point, one of the ‘suitors’ lined up for Merida, backed her up and declared that he too thought they should be able to marry for love, when they feel the time is right.

You could have knocked me over with a feather!  Not only do we have a strong, feminine, heroine, but she is surrounded by men brave enough to stand with her and back her up, despite the traditions of the previous generation being heaped upon them! I would love to see more of this in movies, especially kids movies.  Teaching kids to back each other up, regardless of if you’re a boy or a girl, is in my book, completely awesome!

The movie isn’t just for girls either.  Boys alike will get a kick out of this movie.  The silliness, the bare bums, the sportsmanship, the adventure, the battles; it’s got it all, and it makes no difference that the main character is a princess. Do yourselves a favour and go see it.  There are a few scary scenes with a ferocious bear, so I would take caution with littlies under the age of 5, but as parents, you know your kids and are the best judge of what they can and can’t handle.

While the movie is great, the marketing is leaving a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.  Here in Australia, you’d hardly know the movie was showing. There are a couple of ads on TV and that’s it.  It’s a real shame because this is the kind of movie that really should have the hype surrounding it.  It is full of great messages for our kids, the most important messages being to be who you are and family love.

The other thorn in my side is the merchandise.  Disney Store packed up and left our Aussie shores a long time ago, so our only options for toys like this are from places like Toys R Us or Mr Toys Toyworld or the big department stores (BigW, Kmart, Target, etc). There is a huge difference between the Disney Store versions and the Mattel versions, available in Australian stores.

 

 

Merida Compare2

On the left, you have the official Disney Store doll and next to her is a still from the movie, with how Merida actually looks.  I think they did a pretty good job.  The dress and hair are right, the cape is right and so is the bow and arrow.  The eyes have a little bit of embellishment, but I can deal with that.

The two images on the right are by Mattel and are what is available in Australian stores.  The faces are heavily made up with makeup and given big flirty eyelashes.  The hair is styled into perfect ringlets.  The dress on the left is supposed to be green, but they’ve made it blue and decorated it with jewels and the cape has some kind of weird floral pattern on it.  The dress on the right is pretty spot on, but again, the face and hair are over done.  There was no reason to ‘sexy up’ these dolls.  For more about the sexy Merida dolls, see this post by Melissa, over at Pigtail Pals.

 

Merida Costume Formal

 

Next we move onto the costumes for girls.  The one of the left is available from Toys R Us.  This time I think they did a better job.  The dress is simple.  It’s missing the waist band and the gold trim, but it’s not frilly and shiny and it doesn’t come with the ridiculous tiara like the one from the Disney Store and she’s wearing simple shoes.  Although the shoes are not part of the costume, I’m glad the stylist in this particular shoot chose sensible shoes.  As you can see from the movie stills, Merida is wearing what is called a ‘wimple’ (the cloth covering her entire head and neck) and a head ring.  There is no tiara involved.  She also isn’t wearing gold gladiator sandals or blue high heels.  In the movie, she is wearing what looks to be almost ballet style flats in the same fabric as the dress.  Let’s not forget, in the movie, Merida HATED this dress.  She hates everything it represents and there is a very significant scene with her trying to shoot her arrow, but the dress is too restricting.  She manages to tear it at the seams so she can do what she really loves, shooting arrows!

 

Merida Costume Green

 

Merida’s most famous dress – and the biggest disappointment in the merchandising yet.  Give our girls some credit, Disney, for crying out loud!!!  They don’t need everything to be prettied up and made princess-y and shiny to want to want to wear it!

These images could not be further apart for more than one reason.  Firstly, and most obviously, the dress is nothing like the one Merida wears.  It’s all lacy and frou frou’d up and she’s wearing a tiara instead of carrying her trusty bow and arrow, which, Merida is rarely without!  Secondly, look at the poses.  Merida is standing strong, with her bow and arrow.  The little girl is posing in a princess pose, almost curtseying like she’s about to dance around a ballroom in Beauty and the Beast.  Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong!  It’s a complete contradiction!  Oh and I just found out you can get a Princess Merida wand.  A wand!? WTF?

Some Mums and Dads probably think I’m a bit neurotic at this point.  It does seem, on the surface, to be picking at trivial matters.  Who cares if the dresses aren’t identical to the movie, right? My child just wants to dress up and play.

The problem is that Merida is not your typical princess.  She is nothing like all the other flirty, helpless, pretty, twirly, romancey, I need to be rescued princesses.  The movie is very specific about this.  My question is, at what point, did the  creators of Brave approve these merchandising choices?  The movie celebrates Merida’s independence and her differences.  As a consumer, I want to do everything I can to support this movie and the message it is sending to our kids.  I cannot, in good conscience, buy any of the the dolls made by Mattel or the costumes offered by Disney Store.  Given there are no Disney Stores in Australia, my only option is to import the correct dolls, from the Disney Store in the US (and this is exactly what I did!).  This means they will cost a lot more than the tarted up dolls at toy and department stores here (due to massive shipping costs from the US mainly).   I don’t know that many families can afford to do this or are even aware of the differences.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is be aware when you’re purchasing toys for your children.  They will keep making what sells.  If we make the right choices as consumers, then they will follow the $$. We need to stop swallowing what they are force feeding us when it comes to media and marketing.  You’re not a bad parent if you’ve fallen into the trap.  I think we all have at some point.  It took somebody to point it out to me.  I never thought twice about this kind of thing when my son was growing up.  My eyes were opened a few years ago, and now I can’t help but see it, everywhere.  We all only want to give our kids the best.  I think we just have to stop listening to what the big companies tell us our kids want and start listening to our kids and to our own intuition. Our kids are capable of a many things.  Let’s not let the big companies limit them by dictating just what that may or may not be.

New 11 disney princess with MERIDA of brave disney princess 29049692 1466 800

I stumbled upon this image during my search for images of Merida (I don’t know if it’s copyrighted and I make no claims to it at all. I didn’t create it).  I think it speaks volumes and certainly sums up what I’ve been talking about here! As far as I’m concerned, Merida should be standing front and centre.

 

 

Cheers!

 

 


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Welcome
Posted on June 20th, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

Women, girls and children are our most precious assets.

My aim is to empower girls and support children by providing them with alternatives to the hyper-sexualised, gender stereotyped ideals of modern society.

Girls are powerful, beautiful, smart, athletic, funny and amazing.  Girls are capable of much more than being pretty.  Girls are not decorations.  Girls can be more than just one thing.

Children are incredibly intuitive and it’s important to nurture their development in all areas.  They need not be limited by gender stereotypes.  Girls enjoy more than just Barbies and princesses.  Boys will happily play with dolls as well as cars if they are allowed to feel safe in doing so.  Who said girls have to be pink and boys have to be blue? Why do we have to accept these messages as a given? It’s time to challenge the status quo.

This website aims to chronicle these preshus developments and provide alternatives for those of us who want to expand the minds of our children and support young girls, so they may grow into amazing women.

My name is Nicole, also known as Preshus.  Welcome to my world.


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Prosti-tots!
Posted on June 20th, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

I had to laugh and applaud a comment I saw on Facebook the other day!

Screen Shot 2012 06 20 at 1 52

Sadly, it’s not really a funny topic.

Dolls like Bratz and Monster High reinforce this ‘dress code’ in young children.  I find myself often wondering why any parent would buy these dolls for young children.  Putting aside that they are dressed like prostitutes or strippers, they are much older than the age bracket they are being marketed to.  These dolls are aimed at 5 – 12 years olds, yet the situations they find themselves in on their respective television shows are more suited to high schoolers.

I take issue with children as young as 5 wanting to look like and being allowed  to dress up like, say, this:

 

Lagoona blue dollBratz dolls

 

Because this is what it looks like when it becomes real! Worryingly, more and more fashion for girls is designed to look like this AND it’s available in all your big department stores, in sizes as small as 4 – 6.  And yes, these costumes, modelled by teen girls, are available online in size small, which the size guide says fits ages 4 – 6 years. The little girl in yellow is not even wearing a costume.  This is everyday wear!

 

 

R884788884748 Girls Bratz Cloe Rocks Costume large

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This image caught my attention for all the wrong reasons!

 

Bratz face paint

Bratz Face Paint.  Need I say more?! O_O

 

I vow, I will not dress my daughter like a prosti-tot!

Maybe we can start a movement… will you vow not to dress your daughter like a prosti-tot? Take the vow and pass it on!

 

Cheers!

 


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It’s OK to play!
Posted on June 20th, 2012 @ 7:35 am

It’s that time of year again when the big department stores announce their toy sales and send out catalogues, jam packed with every toy you can imagine.

Flipping through most of them, for me, is a cringe inducing event.  Page after page of girls surrounded by pink frou frou, Barbies, Bratz, Monster High and the like.  Boys  shooting guns, racing cars and riding skate boards.  The one thing that is usually clear? Girls do pretty and pink and boys do violent and adventure.  *gag*

So imagine my surprise, when flipping through the latest Kmart catalogue, I stumble upon not one, but THREE (count them!) pages containing images of girls playing in ‘non traditional’ roles.  A little girl racing cars around a track, right along side a little boy doing the same thing.  Do my eyes deceive me?  What is this trickery?! On the same page, another little girl wearing a yellow hardhat (hallelujah – it’s not pink!!) playing with a motorised crane complete with remote control.  Hell yeah!

I turn the page and see yet another little girl, again playing with cars, but this time it’s a 3 level garage play set and she’s happily zooming cars by hand around the track.

If girls can flip through a catalogue and see other girls playing with toys they might otherwise see as ‘boys toys’, it allows them the freedom to have a go and feel safe in doing so.  Conversely, if boys can flip through a catalogue and see images of girls and boys playing side by side, whether it be with dolls, or a supermarket, or racing cars, they too get the message that it’s safe and perfectly normal to play with whatever they feel like.

Any kindergarten teacher will tell you that play is probably THE most important thing for littlies to engage in.  They learn more from playing at such young ages than anywhere else.

At this point, I’m beyond excited!  I dare not push my luck for anymore.  A few more pages flipped and what do I see? Another little girl playing with a medieval castle, complete with knights and jousting and a drawbridge.  Right next to that is a page with a boy and a girl riding bikes.  Granted, the girl is wearing a pink helmet, but I can almost overlook that as she is wearing a purple jumper with ‘sport’ written on it and her bike is not pink or purple or sparkly.  It doesn’t have streamers or spokey dokies in glittery pink all over it.  It doesn’t say “Princess”.  It looks exactly like the boys bike!  Huzzah!!

Screen Shot 2012 06 19 at 11 06 59 PM Screen Shot 2012 06 19 at 11 06 36 PMScreen Shot 2012 06 19 at 11 07 40 PM

I was so impressed I shot off an email to Kmart to let them know just how awesome I thought that was! It’s rare to see this kind of thing in a catalogue.  I was sure to encourage them to bring more of it in the future! It’s a small step, but nevertheless a step in the right direction. It’s SO important that children get the message “It’s OK to play!”.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate pink.  In fact I really love the colour! What I hate is that it’s plastered on everything and assumed to be a girls colour.  As my friend Melissa over at Pigtail Pals says: “Colours are for everybody!”

This is why it is of dear import that marketing companies start to reassess what they are doing.  They start drawing the pink and blue lines at such a young age.  I see baby toys that were once all bright primary colours, designed to get their attention, now available in ‘pink for girls’.  Why does a baby girl need a pink version? What is wrong with her having lots of bright reds and yellows and blues and greens?

If you’d like to send a big cheery Thank You! to Kmart, you can email them at Kmart.WebsiteCustomerFeedback@kmart.com.au (case sensitive). Please do!

Cheers!


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