Thursday, May 26, 2011
The Upholstery Eater is about to be five and I wanted to send a special gift, which was not as easy as I thought. The books in the bookstore were all dreadful, so when a friend with grandchildren suggested games, I went to the local toy store, not realizing that I was venturing into a cultural minefield.
I was pleased with what I finally bought—a building set with geometric pieces that stick together with magnets—but was otherwise appalled at the aesthetics and messages of toys for children. (And this wasn’t even Toys ‘R Us!) For little girls, it's all about clothes, plastic bling, princesses, coloring within the lines, and making potholders (Potholders! While I’m all for knitting for both sexes, I struggle to find relevance in potholders for a five-year-old in 2011).
And for boys, of course, almost everything has to do with replicas of gas-driven vehicles. Even things to build, like Lego© sets, are designed to duplicate a prescribed object. Nothing is freeform or left to the imagination.
After being away from the culture for a good while, it all looked like societal conditioning and materialistic indoctrination.
Another reason to be grateful for Lady Gaga.