An Open Letter to the CEO of GoldieBlox

To Debbie Sterling,

Thank you. I know many female engineering PhD students that hated math and numbers since preschool but chose to major in engineering, not because they had some natural aptitude but because they found problems interesting and fascinating and loved the idea of being a problem solver.

I think part of the reason girls don’t get into math/science is because they feel like somehow they need to give up or repress their girly sides to take part in math-science-engineering activities. Why can’t one be a pretty pink magical princess who is also an amazing mathematician? We need more of these intellectually stimulating products that really appeal to girls in their own domain and I thank you for starting this venture.

I recently went shopping for a toy for a boy and was appalled that everything available was violent. Even the legos are now tied to branded violent movies, the superhero figures carry weapons and there were no gender neutral toys for children over the age of two.

The real problem here seems to be marketing tie ins. Virtually all of the toys are tied to a TV or movie theme, and since those reflect extreme gender caricatures so do the toys. I am even more upset that boys are encouraged to be violent than that girls are encouraged to be passive. Toys & media encouraging peace & culture are nearly non-existent. Our children’s minds are overwhelmed with these messages, its on TV, on their toys, its printed on their clothing and bed sheets. They cannot escape. I left the toy aisle and bought crayons and paper (no coloring books, they were all branded). The overwhelming negative effects of the media culture are far beyond what they were 20 years ago.

Our young children’s minds and futures are for sale to the highest bidder.

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