Today in my dorm suite, we had a "Non-Denominational Candy-Filled Egg Hunt." We hid in our rooms while our R.A. "hid" plastic eggs around the suite common area. We then went to find them.
These were two of the eggs that I picked up.
The egg on the left has a purse on it. The egg on the right has lipstick.
Who are these eggs being marketed to? Which children are parents going to purchase these eggs for?
Gender-specific marketing bothers me. It encourages the idea that gender is binary (simply male or female), and recent posts on this blog illustrate that gender is NOT that simple. You never see products marketed toward transsexuals, for example. As these eggs also show, gendered products and marketing have a way of reinforcing gender norms (i.e. girls carry purses and wear lipstick) that are a) antiquated and b) just not right the majority of the time.
Think about what it must be like to be a little girl who is given products that are constantly telling her that she should wear lipstick, carry a purse, be pretty, etc.. If she does not feel that she lives up to the standards set up by the products in her life, she could easy grow up with identity and/or other issues.
Seriously, why is that necessary? No child cares if their plastic candy-filled egg has little lipsticks on it. They want the candy. This display of a gendered product is, in addition to unhealthy, also unnecessary.
Just a note (thanks to Geoff for spotting this): Kids don't have to actively participate in their indoctrination into a society that tries to fix gender as binary and things along those lines. They still internalize messages that are sent to them through products, the media, their peers, their family, and the likes, even if they don't realize that they are doing so. This will happen as long as the messages are repeated enough. With things like insignificant plastic eggs giving this message, I think it is happening much too often.