Want to see gender stereotypes at work? Look no further than a toy aisle. Toy stores tend to be rigidly divided between male and female toys. Action figures for the boys, and princess castles for the girls. Where are all the empowering gifts for girls? A little girl named Riley summed it up best earlier this year, “Why do all the girls have to buy pink stuff?”
If you’ve got a little one in your life and you’re not keen on sending a sexist gift their way, you are in luck. The market for feminist toys is growing. Everything from children's books to video games and action figures are focused less on clichés and more on girl power. We’ve assembled 15 of our favorites.
What’s that? Girls don’t like science? Shut down the haters with these super cool building sets. Roominate sets allow for problem solving and creative thinking because there isn’t a singular way to assemble each set. Build anything from a studio to a chateau to a helicopter. Give Bob the Builder a run for his money, ladies.
Everyone’s favorite tribute strikes a familiar pose on this cool poster-style T-shirt. The “Girl on Fire” is hailed as an empowering female character by fans of Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games series. It’s not just her prowess with a bow and arrow that makes Katniss a kick butt role model — it’s also her incredible strength. If that doesn’t make you want to wear her on a shirt, I don’t know what will.
Go! Go! Sports Girl
Sure, there are Barbies that are sporty — if sporty means sparkly soccer ensembles. May I direct your attention to a realistic sport girl: Taye. She’s one of 13 dolls inspired by girls’ favorite sports. Whether your little feminist is a dancer, runner, or gymnast, there’s a Sports Girl perfect for her.
New Moon Magazine
There are a lot of things that make this bi-monthly magazine an awesome gift. It is 100 percent ad-free, and is made by girls for girls. The magazine focuses on subjects such as body changes, female activism, and women in the workplace. A subscription includes six issues and access to the magazine’s social network.
Lego Creative Bucket
Once upon a time, Lego encouraged girls and boys to explore and create together. The company has changed a bit since then. Lego sets made for boys are a stark contrast to the frilly sets for girls. Get your little one a bucket of plain ol’ bricks. She’ll have fun exploring and building without the dated clichés.
GoldieBlox Action Figures
GoldieBlox burst onto the scene with its Super Bowl commercial where young girls rally together to send their boring, pink toys far, far away. GoldieBlox figures are made with articulated joints, meaning they’re ready for action. Each comes with a storybook and play set. Goldie Blox has crafted the perfect gift for any girl who’s an adventurer at heart.
'Paper Bag Princess'
From the author who brought us Stephanie’s Ponytail, this storybook turns the princess trope on its head. When a dragon burns down her kingdom and kidnaps her prince, Princess Elizabeth sets out to rescue him. A brave protagonist who believes in herself is a great read for any age.
Toys should inspire children to be themselves. Lottie dolls are specifically designed to resemble a young girl’s proportions. Lottie’s clothing reflects those worn by children, the dolls come in a range of ethnicities and genders, and are made to stand on their own two feet. Look out, Barbie.
Finally, a video game that doesn’t cater to one gender! Disney Infinity is a multi-platform game that boasts open world adventures and story-driven gameplay. Starter packs range from Disney franchises such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Monsters University, and The Avengers. With so many character packs to choose from, this gift is sure to delight your gamer girl.
Periodic Table Building Blocks
Encourage your lil’ feminist to unleash her inner Honey Lemon with these fun building blocks. Educational toys don’t have to be boring! The non-toxic ink makes these wooden blocks safe for kiddos of any age. It’s never too early to start grooming your whiz kid
'I Am Malala'
If Barbie were a human, she’d be a freakazoid. That’s where Lammily comes in. She’s modeled after the typical 19-year-old girl. It’s vitally important to introduce girls to realistic body standards at a young age. Seriously, you can kiss your Barbie collection goodbye.
4 Kids Like Me Doll
Dolls that celebrate diversity? Count me in. Toys that expose young ones to different ethnicities is proven to have positive effects on how they interact with others. The 4 Kids Like Me site creates dolls that are ethnically diverse: Asian, Hispanic, Native American, biracial, and more. Delight your young feminist with a doll that looks just like them.
Plan Toys Terrace Dollhouse
Young girls (and boys) shouldn’t shy away from playing with dolls. Learning to care and nurture others is an important life skill that both genders can benefit from. The trick is to find gender-neutral options. Enter Plan Toys, a company that creates sustainable, preservative-free wooden toys. These modern play sets are the perfect alternative to the bubblegum pink or uber macho play sets that seem to dominate the toy market.
Girls are bombarded by the idea that boys are physically stronger than they are. This has been proven to be false. Help your young one get active with outdoor toys that aren’t gender specific. They’ll raise their self-esteem and strengthen their coordination. These Toysmith monster feet are so rad, you might snag a pair for yourself.