Re: Toys and gender: Some other thoughts

Fri, 25 Oct 1996 15:17:55 GMT+5

I have not been a long-time subscriber to the edequity list so this
may have been discussed before. Has there ever been research to
determine if girls like pastel colors more than primary colors. I
think as a child, black and brown and gray had no appeal for me but I
don't remember choosing pastel colors over primary. Since I don't
particularly care for pastel colors now, it gives me an unpleasant
feeling to go in WalMart's, for instance, and see the girl's aisle in
pale lavenders and pinks, not even much yellow.
A couple of years ago I was visiting Indianapolis and was very much
surprised to see a Lionel train that had been made in pastel colors
shortly after WWII. Yes, I'm old enough to remember (vaguely, of
course!) that iron metal toys were not made during the war years because
the metal was needed for weapons---just thought about that
contradiction. I remember my older brother getting one of the
first ones made for Christmas, and he could have cared less for it
and I loved everything about it---from the smell and the hum of the
transformer to the fact that you could keep it on the curved part of the
track if you slowed it a bit. I was a little sad, and it never dawned
on me to challenge that it was a boy toy, not a girl toy, which meant I
couldn't own one. (In defense of my parents, they had no clue I felt
this way and would have gotten me one if I had asked---it just never
dawned on me to ask.)
All of this to say: If I had known there was a pastel Lionel train,
that would have given me permission to "like them" and maybe own
one--not that I would have liked the color, but I would have learned
a lot about designing track lay-outs and could have made villages,
bridges, tunnels, etc. that suited me.
So I, in one sense, feel upset about the pastel Legos and in another
sense, glad that maybe some girlchild somewhere will feel like a
company, whether rightly or wrongly, decided to include her in their
company of users and players. Incidentally, the pastel Lionel train
was made in a small quantity and were not put into regular
One final question, is anyone aware of a woman's college that had an
engineering school? My experience with this has been that all the
state engineering schools started all male and the female
state-supported schools were mainly teaching schools. I am, also,
not aware of any woman's college that has an engineering degree on
its campus, neither the state-supported institutions nor private
From: S. Jane C. Beattie
Department of Mathematical Sciences
University of South Carolina, Aiken
171 University Pkwy
Aiken, South Carolina 29801

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