My first “real” job was in an adorable little toy store in the heart of the pretty adorable town where I grew up. I learned to gift wrap anything (including, once, a hula hoop), but mostly we just played with the display versions of the latest board games.
To this day, I love a good toy store, and so I found myself browsing one recently for no other reason than to see what had changed since my heyday. This is what I found:
I didn’t realize that “popstars” had edged in on the venerable paper doll tradition, nor that bridesmaids was even part of the vernacular of little girls. And since when are bridesmaid dresses ever something anyone celebrates for their style?
I did a little digging after I got home, just to see whether this was all Usborne had to offer, or whether this particular toy store was just short-stocked on the non-Princess sticker books.
The subbrand is called Sticker Dolly Dressing, and there are 21 versions available. I was super pleased to see a “Dream Jobs” title featuring a doctor and an explorer of some sort, as well as a “Sports Girls.” The rest of the list was “Ballerinas,” “Ballerinas and Dolls,” “Dancers,” “Movie Stars,” “Popstars and Movie Stars,” “Weddings,” “Weddings and Bridesmaids,” “Princesses,” “Fairies,” “Princesses and Fairies,” and something called “Fancy Dress.”
Individually, none of these is particularly problematic. It’s not as if they have “Hot Mess,” “Reality TV Star,” or “Playboy Model.” But, collectively, the bottom line speaks with one voice, and it is saying “Be Pretty!” On the other hand, the boy stickers have “Pirates,” “Knights” and “Soldiers,” so maybe their message is “Be Violent!” Is that any better?
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