Friday, June 5, 2009

Barbie backpacks for girls

Standing at the kitchen window waiting for the water to boil, I took in the school children waiting for the bus. White shirts, blue pinafores, white headbands, pink Barbie backpacks. There were some older girls too- white t-shirts, blue skirts, white socks, pink Barbie backpacks.
Some of the backpacks the girls were carrying were large, others small. Some were fancy, others more basic. But every single backpack carried by a girl, regardless of her age, was the same shade of pink, and every one of them had either a portrait of Barbie, or a full length picture, or both.

Are the girls all forced to carry Barbie backpacks because no other are available? Or are the backpacks made for girls forced to carry pictures of Barbie because girls refuse to carry anything else. Isn’t it a bit of a chicken and egg situation?

But, why should there be separate backpacks for girls and boys. Why can’t both girls and boys carry backpacks in gender neutral colours, featuring universal cartoon characters? What is wrong with a Tom and Jerry backpack in navy blue or a Dora the Explorer one in Red? If someone makes them, I am sure at least a few mothers will buy.

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