“A Stanford Engineer Figured Out A Real Reason Fewer Women Code,” one headline read.
“This Awesome Ad, Set to the Beastie Boys, Is How to Get Girls to Become Engineers,” another promised.
I am so excited for the study that tracks the girls who: Use this toy exclusively, avoid all heteronormative outside influences, somehow survive high school as proud math-lovers, and then go on to pick a college major. That will surely prove its effectiveness.
This is a slick commercial, and it seems like a fun, educational toy. More power to GoldieBlox if it manages to make more kids interested in learning.
At the same time, educational construction toys aimed at girls have been around for decades. There are pink Tinker toys, pink Lincoln Logs, and pink Legos. I had cases full of gender-neutral K’NEX as a kid, and here I am in the humanities like a stereotypical female. I am not sure why. Perhaps at some point I reasoned, rightly or wrongly, that making a roller-coaster out of plastic widgets on a Saturday afternoon was not the same as spending your life solving complex engineering problems.
It’s true that parents are likelier to pick out “girly” toys for their daughters, but even at the age of two, before they can say “Python,” girls are also more likely to gravitate toward traditionally feminine toys.