Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gender and Sleds

I was looking at sleds for a possible christmas gift for my children, and was annoyed with the gendering of these sleds. There were a total of 12 sleds at the department store I went to; one was wooden, one was a pink and purple Dora the Explorer sled (meant for young girls) and the other 10 were various "boys" sleds... Bakugon (if you don't know what this is, consider yourself lucky) Spiderman, Ironman, and other such comic-type characters that I did not recognize in battle ready positions. Apparently girls don't go sliding as much as boys.

Even the helmets for when they are sliding/snowboarding, had only one option meant for girls, being disney princess (which my 9 year old has outgrown) and tons of "boys" options. Luckily, one of those was a rather plain black and white one that I felt was relatively non-gender specific.

Also, I am wondering what the implications are regarding the infantalization of girls, as Dora is geared towards preschoolers whereas comic books are typically meant for older kids.

Now, I have nothing against getting my daughter a spiderman sled, but my son would think it was for him and I'm not sure my daughter would like it... she's all about the pink and frilly. She rides her brother's Marvel comic book sled all the time, but I'm not sure how she would feel about owning one. It seems as though it doesn't matter how much I tell them that these products are needlessly gendered, I am only one voice, and their peers and the media tells them otherwise.

I am not advocating for making a bunch of pink sleds for girls to ride... All I wanted was a sled in pretty much any colour that didn't appear as though it were being marketed only to children of one specific gender. I'm sure I can research it online and get the kind of sled I am looking for, so I'm not posting this looking for sled advice, just commenting on the annoying gendered sleds.


  1. What happened to wooden sleds?!

  2. They had small wooden sleds at the store, meant to carry really young kids. I have seen the old school wooden sleds around (and my partner has one), but they don't fit in my trunk and the sliding hill is not within walking distance, so I can either take the sled to the hill or the kids, but not both!

  3. I remember putting plastic wrap (like the kind you use to wrap up food) on cardboard when I was younger and it worked rather well... can you imagine a kids face if I were to give them a broken box and some plastic wrap!