Not so wordless Wednesday


[Via Mothers for Women’s Lib.]


Description: Two sets of fridge magnet words, one pink and labelled “Magnetic Girls Talk”, one blue and labelled “Magnetic Boys Talk”. The “Girls words include:

clothes, hairband, heart, love, sparkle, perfume, beads, necklace, furry, lipstick, ribbon, handbag, want, glitter, fairies, fluff, candy, flowers, wings, sherbet, bubbles, sweets, pink, make-up, skipping, magic, dancing, ballet, bunnies, rainbow, ladybird, lemonade, stars, sky, shoes, chocolate, doll, party, secret, diary, hair, jewels, princess, queen, tiara, ice-cream, teddy, music, sunshine, birds, butterfly, sugar, angel, diamond, cooking, friends

The “Boys” words include:

boots, glue, monster, scary, bones, racing, moon, helicopter, aeroplane, tractor, money, lorry, wizard, conkers, frogs, sticks, mud, dirt, spiders, snails, stones, bubbles, sweets, flags, magic, pond, string, grass, rugby, bug, dogs, caterpillar, cobweb, worms, dinosaur, dragon, bike, scooter, forest, treasure, climbing, swinging, skeleton, running, ghost, trees, swimming, lawnmower, treehouse, blue, football, chocolate, car

Categories: education, gender & feminism, language


39 replies

  1. But I’m sure that’s all down to innate biological differences. Hell, boys’ eyes can’t even see pink, it’s true!

  2. wtfpanda?

  3. Hell, boys’ eyes can’t even see pink, it’s true!

    Or sparkles! You need two copies of the X-linked glitter-perception gene for it to work.

  4. They really shouldn’t be encouraging girls to eat sweets, sherbert, candy and sugar you know, they might get fat.. /sarcasm

  5. *blinks*
    uh. wow…

  6. Dammit.
    I’m glad I’m not a kid anymore, I was the tot who would argue with McDonald’s employees to give me the boys kid’s meal because hot wheels were so much cooler than mini Barbies/Cabbage Patch kids.

  7. I have to admit though, I find it funny that the girl’s version has butterfly and the boy’s version has caterpillar.

  8. i’m all over the “words are not gendered” parade, but the text at the top of the packaging makes me wonder something. do you suppose they actually did some kind of survey of boys and girls and these were the ones that fell out as the Top 100 or whatever? i’m just curious if there was some tiny amount of scientitious “research” behind the choice.

  9. thanks goodness my kids set me straight – I once said something was ‘girly’ to which my boy replied :”mom – boys like glitter and pink too!”
    So I could safely buy this talk to them about it throw away the packages-ok recycle- and we could all use all the words!!!
    Just wanted to put an once of hope in the discussion…..

  10. ”mom – boys like glitter and pink too!”
    I heart your son mindy! (and your obviously good parenting)

  11. Must. resist. urge. to. throw. things.

  12. InfamousQBert, the National Literacy range they’re referring to is here and seems to be prescribed, as in, it’s words from a syllabus of words that children are supposed to become familiar with. So that’s particularly problematic: complement these core literacy words with these other words your child is supposed to become familiar with!
    In addition, as pervasive as gendered toys and media are for children at the moment, teachers and child-carers I know report that girls have not been successfully universally molded into 100% princess mode, I would be really surprised if a rogue dragon or five hadn’t snuck into a girl survery.

  13. @InfamousQBert
    It is a bit of a chicken and egg situation because marketing also inculcates some of the very preferences that scientitious (heh) or market research measures.
    So I think it could also be seen as a preemptive strike on behalf of marketers to children. Getting the kids to strongly identify with a gendered subset of terms from the get go makes it easier to market your faerie and monster tat to them. Then you don’t have to trouble yourself withthe expense and effort of new product development, you can just shove a skull or a princess on something old and hey presto-instant market.

  14. My comment crossed with Mary’s there Infamous Q – not pickin’ on ya. Must refresh browser more often and/or type faster.

  15. We have boys and girls WORDS now? Which ones did Shakespeare use?

  16. Shakespeare swung both ways, literarily 😉

  17. It’s interesting to look at how many ‘active’ words are included too.
    Girls get: skipping, dancing, cooking and ballet.
    Boys get: conkers, rugby, scooter, climbing, swinging, running, swimming and football.

    Sorry people, that was the one that really made the red mist rise. Oh wait, here it comes again, my apologies…
    excuse me wtf girls do not use money and boys do???? why don’t we just marry the girls off at the age of ten???

  19. Hendo: The girls trade in diamonds, tiaras, jewels, candy, shoes, cooking, and love, so they don’t need money!

  20. So that’s particularly problematic: complement these core literacy words with these other words your child is supposed to become familiar with!
    And for a nice dash of irony — they misspell “complement” (“goes well with”) as “compliment” (“a nice thing to say about someone”). Nor do they put an apostrophe at the end of “girls” and “boys” on the respective packages. Improved literacy, my big fat bum.

  21. I just noticed that apparently boys don’t need friends. Must be too busy doing all those active things with their team mates who obviously are only there because boys have to do active things and since girls don’t, they have to do them together.

  22. I want to buy some of each, jumble them all up and then give them back out to people.

  23. At least there`s two things we all agree on: Bubbles and chocolate!

  24. The only way I would not have a head-explody over this:
    If the words ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ were excised from the packages. Or if all of it were combined into a single set without gender ID included.

  25. Yep. And boys don’t need love. And surprisingly, girls don’t need bones.

  26. I’d very much like to have a packet of Magnetic Feminist Talk.

  27. Hello ladies (first time commenters) in moderation. I can’t work out how to get you out, not sure if I have the right access. Hopefully Tigtog or Lauredhel will be along soon and they can fish you out!

  28. Wow – those lists are kinda like sex stereotype poetry.
    I noticed how girls are not supposed to be interested in the natural world – about 9 girl words describe nature, versus 21 for boys.

  29. They sell feminist magnetic poetry at my local Feminist Bookstore/Sex Shop (I’m a bit of a prude, so I’m constantly in a state of blush when I go in there). I should check out what words they’ve got next time I’m in. 🙂

  30. Zoe – shouldn’t be too hard to produce Magnetic Feminist Talk as Feminists are naturally Magnetic.

  31. Splendid opportunity for found poetry there:

    Sherbert sparkle lipstick clothes!
    Fluffy princess heart!
    Sunshine! Music! Butterfly!
    Glitter sugar FART!

  32. The 1) indicates I was going to do another poem, but then didn’t….

  33. Or sparkles! You need two copies of the X-linked glitter-perception gene for it to work.
    That’s why they can’t see vampires.

  34. Oh Tim! That was beautiful! I particularly loved the emphatic FART, the only kind really.
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..Is smart the new sexy and other FASCINATING questions! Fuck the Sams, and why I’m gonna be light-on with the posting

  35. Tim, you always make me do the really whoopy laugh thing at the computer which makes the kids eyeroll.
    Tigtog, I love love love that TIGTOG SMASH!!

  36. That is so very depressing.


  1. The Tenth Down Under Feminists’ Carnival « Ideologically Impure
%d bloggers like this: