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An Open Letter to Tonka

Posted Jun 16 2009 7:06pm

I have two boys. When my now-15-month-old turned one, a close friend bought him a Tonka dump truck. It’s big enough for us to push either of those critters around in it. The little guys love it so much that my 3-year-old politely demanded that he get his own Tonka when he turns 4.

But as a kid, I loved machinery and vehicles, too. Many a righteous little girl knows how to rock out a dump truck. So when I saw this from a Facebook friend and mother of a girl, I completely understood. Any parent of boys and girls alike know that some girls like to play in the mud as much as some boys like to play with dolls. Kids don’t really get the gender thing when they’re very young until we teach them what they “should” be playing with.

My friend, Heather, was rather annoyed to see that Tonka Web site was directed to boys. Here is her open letter to the Hasbro/Tonka company:

Hello,
I have a Tonka Rumblin’ Rollin’ Crane that my child greatly enjoys. I came to your website today looking for another piece to add on, since trucks are a big hit around here lately. My complaint is that your language is so gendered!

Here are some examples:
“Little boys will love the scooping action”
All children pictured in photos are male
“loads of fun to boys of all ages!”
“really get your little guy going”

My child is a 20 month old GIRL and like most of her similarly aged female friends, loves trucks, cars, trains, and playing outside with rocks and dirt. Not only do today’s girls get dirty and play in the dirt, so did their mothers thirty years ago! Hasbro, please, get yourselves out of the 70s!

Sincerely,
Heather B.
Westmont, Illinois

Image: bionicteaching on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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