emma_in_dream: (pic#)
The Greens: 'Children shouldn’t have to conform to gender stereotypes. Boys might be interested in toys that are marketed as for girls and vice versa. This isn’t about some toys being off limits. It’s about children being free to play with whatever toys interest them without fear of being judged or bullied.'

Tony Abbot: 'I certainly don’t believe in that kind of political correctness. Let boys be boys, let girls be girls – that’s always been my philosophy.'

So, letting children choose what kind of toys they want to play with = political correctness.

Enforcing a rigid gender division = apparently a natural, inherent, apolitical act. Not political at all.
emma_in_dream: (vintage)
Pearl and Ruby received some vintage Fisher Price Little People for Christmas. On my suggestion, my parents got out our old toys and the kids scored the campervan, the school bus and the farm.

These are of enormous sentimental value - aside from my stuffed hippo who still lives in my room, these were our favourite toys. We would get a set every Christmas and played enormously complicated imaginary games with them that went on for days. They are probably marketed as 3-5 year olds but we played with them til I was well into primary school.

My Dad told them that we had taken great care of them and not broken any and that they were not to do so either. I thought this was a bit strict but today when Pearl took a car into the sandpit I said sternly that they were for indoor play only. I hope they love them as much as we did.

Here is the original campervan, with stylish 70s look. It's a left hand drive.

Fisher Price Campervan

And here is one of the cars, with a petrol cap labelled gas. It reminds me of my parents' car, though their's was two tones of tan.

Note also that the girl in the rear is a hybrid - wooden body, plastic head, made between 1968 and 1972 as Fisher Price moved from wooden to plastic toys.

Fisher Price Little People
emma_in_dream: (mlp)
The My Little Pony teapot cafe is a rococo concoction. No curve is left unswirled; no swirl is unembellished; no embellishment untopped.

I can’t find a photo of it online - there’s a newer Hasbro product along the same lines which comes up instead, so I shall attempt a word picture. It is a teapot shaped cafe, which opens along a central hinge. The teapot is pink with a white cream roof topped with green sprinkles, and purple and pink faux spoons which rotate the central turnpike. The handle is rounded and curved, it has hearts down the side and ends in swirls.

One side of the teapot is decorated with two blue windows, topped with arches and featuring flowers in bas relief. Inside the windows are stickers of ponies looking out at the viewer. The centre of the teapot is taken up with a green, bowed door, decorated with white flowers, a pink teapot and a heart-topped cupcake in bas relief. It features a pink sign which reads OPEN and which is, naturally, decorated with a flower.

The base of the teapot shows flowers and butterflies set against the pink background. The whole thing sits on a purple, irregularly and gently indented base.

I’ll skip over the other side and go on the shop interior which features, from top to bottom, the following:

stickers of flowers;
bas relief of ionic columns;
bas relief of lattice work;
decorative indentations;
a curlicued spiral staircase in bas relief;
a sticker window within an embossed window frame,
shelves in pink with white trim;
more stickers of teapots and cups;
a pink, curved bench;
more pink and white shelves with bas reliefs of cupcakes, a birthday cake and tea cups;
a white teapot and pink teacup;
a poster of pictures of cakes and pies on a fake window;
a yellow, round bench with a barley twist column standing on a purple turntable decorated with spirals.

I may have missed some details.

My first response to the Teapot House was to despise it as a plastic, pink pile of commercial sexism, but I have reconsidered this position.

It is plastic. But it is surprisingly well designed and well made plastic. Pearl inherited virtually all her My Little Ponies from op-shops and yet the ponies and their playhouses are all in quite good condition. I think they moved to the new pony designs in 2009 (is that right?) so they’ve lasted quite well.

It is certainly pink. Very pink. And swirly. With hearts and cupcakes and sugar on the top.

But, actually, why should I dislike this? What I am really saying is that it is rococo, that it is exaggeratedly, stereotypically feminine in its design, and what is wrong with this?

I now offer two possible readings.

Read more... )

I am torn between these two interpretations.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
There is an excellent petition to the big toy stores calling for an alteration in the ridiculous way they divide their catalogues into girls' and boys' toys.


Hooray, I say! Is it not enough that they sell toy irons? Must they also make them in pink plastic? And then label them as girls' toys.


Jun. 24th, 2011 07:21 pm
emma_in_dream: (mlp)
Oh dear, yet another reason not to buy Barbie. Apparently her packaging is made from rain forests.


And in the reasons to buy Barbie, Pearl admires her 'booful shiny gown'. Certainly it is shiny, if you shredded it you could probably fuel your car with her couture.

Edited to say: She got a Barbie rip off for Christmas and her leg fell off in 48 hours so I had to replace her. I feel I was cornered into buying her a Barbie. And, yes, the doll was definitely overpackaged.

For Pearl

Jan. 7th, 2011 08:33 pm
emma_in_dream: (uhura)
I got Pearl a gorgeous crown from the Fairy Ring.


Made of felt, made in Australia, catering to her love of pretty bling without ceding ground to Disney.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
Pearl is very keen on Fisher Price Little People. I like them too - they are the right shape and size for her and they are very gender neutral as all the characters are basically the same shape (including the dog).

But then, alas, I saw that both Healthystuff.org and Zrecommends.com had given them low ratings for safety. Damnit. Apparently they are high in chlorine which is measured as a proxy for PVC.

So I wrote to Fisher Price in Australia and I got back the usual kind of answer. Ie. we meet the regulatory standards and PVC is in everything and it is safe, or at least there is no evidence that it isn’t.

Fisher Price letter

Read more... )

I do not know enough to make any kind of reasonable decision. My understanding is:

PVC is toxic to make and to dispose of (ie. bad for the manufacturers and those around them).
PVC is not recyclable.
PVC emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
PVC becomes most dangerous to us when phthalates are added to it to make it softer.  This softer version of PVC is the sort used in children’s toys. Phthalates can cause harm to the reproductive system of both males and females.

And it’s ubiquitous. I really don’t know what to do.
emma_in_dream: (Invented in Russia)
Last year I got Pearl a very expensive Debresk truck for her birthday. And then the axle broke.

After some effort, I got a replacement.

And the axle has just broken. No replacement this time, just a sorry from the company.

So, with regrets, I must write this anti-recommendation.

Avoid: http://rudolfsteiner.com.au/

And Debresk make beautiful toys that look like they will be heirlooms, and which then break in a quite dangerous way.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
From me – doll clothes, a Kinuko Y Craft book on Pegasus, a string of beads, hair clips.

From Nanna and Pop – a bag of second hand doll furniture, a second hand music box, an old style second hand My Little Pony

From Steph – Mog the Forgetful Cat, Mog and the Baby, The Tiger who Came to Tea, and a tea set

From Gina and Rosalie – a new My Little Pony

From Kylie and Finn – a pair of pink fluffy slippers

From Fe and Galen – pencils and a board
emma_in_dream: (bobby)
So, Austrade and the Department of Consumer Affairs don't know anything about who controls imports. I am beginning to suspect no one does.

Also, DOCEP do inspect show bags at Royal Show time but only 'to make sure the toys don't fall apart immediately'. They don't test them, so those bilious, neon-coloured toys - probably radioactive.
emma_in_dream: (Bronte)
Pearl loves her dollies, loves carrying them around and feeding them and kissing them.

The obvious interpretation of this is to say 'she is such a little girl'.

But while she does gravitate towards dolls and traditionally girly things, it's not like she does this in a vacuum. I try not to push her towards one set of toys or another - she owns the same number of toy cars as she does dollies - but I am sure I telegraph my approval of her when she plays with dolls. Frankly I find them a lot more interesting than the toy cars.

Me, observing her push a car: Broom! Vroom! Go car!

Me, observing her hug her bear: Oh, how sweet! Let's feed bear.

It's not that I approve of her doing traditionally feminine things - it's that I approve of the traditionally feminine things. I was reading to a friend's little boy and he brought out a string of phenomenally dull books about tractors and trains. Seriously, no people, just machines. So dull.

Whereas interacting with dolls and reading books about people - interesting! Something I value!

So I feel like I encourage her to do traditionally feminine things, and if she were a boy I'd be doing the same thing.
emma_in_dream: (Default)

Pros of Australian Girl dolls:

1, They are child-formed dolls. Not babies and not adults. That's a rare thing.
2, They are really well made. They have clear features and all look different.
3, It's an Australian company.


1, It's an Australian company, but, of course, the dolls were made in China.
2, Frankly the girls have less interesting back stories than the American ones. They all seem to be contemporary girls - the musical one, the sporty one, etc.

The American Girl series is much more interesting. The dolls come from different times and have cool back stories. There's the runaway slave from the 1850s, the Jewish girl from the 1910s, the hispanic girl in what was to become New Mexico.* It's really cool.

There's no reason why there couldn't have been a range of historical characters in the Australian girl series. Imagine an Indigenous girl from, say, the 1600s who lived on the west coast. She could have adventures with her brothers and sisters fishing in the coastal waters and maybe encounter shipwrecked western sailors. Or a Japanese girl in Broome in the 1920s when there was a really strong Japanese community.** Or a little first fleeter.

I'd have loved it if the Australian Girl dolls were given a historical depth. I find it dispiriting that we are assumed to have just arrived here, with the society we see around us fully formed.

* The American Girl series does a really good job of finding times and places to set the little girls where you can get some historical information but the nastier parts of life aren't overwhelming. So, for instance, the hispanic girl lives before colonisation. The native american girl lives before colonisation reaches the area she is in. There has been some criticism of this by very PC people, but honestly how could you have happy play with a doll if they didn't do this dodge around?

** And, yes, in the 1940s the thriving Japanese community in Broome was decimated, but, again, I'd go for a work around. I'd choose a period that the children could learn something about, but not one of the grimmer ones.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
I can see that I won't be able to keep the tsunami of pink tat out of the house for long. Pearl saw a row of Barbies in the supermarket the other day and was so excited that she tried to hug several at the same time even though they were in boxes.
emma_in_dream: (Invented in Russia)
If you are interested in a hand made, locally made, felt toys, I've got a coupon code for a $10 voucher. The coupon code is EMMAINOZ. This coupon expires Jan 31.

Alternately, there is a15% off offer right now, with 20% on offer for anybody joining the store mailing list.

Thanks to The Fairy Ring for the discount voucher.

emma_in_dream: (Monroe)
She has six, which is a ridiculous amount. I’m embarrassed but I can’t see which one to cull as they all have good points.

Jemimah, her Community Aid Abroad dolly** - This rag doll is about as politically correct as you could possibly get. They are made in Zimbabwe by mothers of handicapped children. When you buy one in Australia, a child in a HIV affected family in Zimbabwe gets one as well.


Pearl is pretty fond of hers, though this doll is currently eclipsed by her Christmas dolls.

** It was named Jemimah by Community Aid Abroad.

Her Creative Native dolly - She was given a beautiful plastic doll from Creative Native when she was born. It is a little Aboriginal girl, really well sculpted, with a pretty face. Not one of those nasty caricatures.

Pearl loves her a lot and gives her kisses (as is modelled for her). Also picks her up by her curly hair and makes her dance (behaviour she has never seen modelled).

Not so green, as she is made of plastic, but a very positive role model that not all dollies are Anglo.

Which leads me to her insanely politically incorrect doll. Well, actually golliwog. It was knitted by my grandmother, her great-grandmother when I was a kid, so I am reluctant to get rid of it because of its sentimental associations. Plus it is the greenest toy ever. The sum total of its environmental impact was that I ran it through the washing machine to get rid of the dust when I found it at my folks’ place.

Still, a golliwog.

In fact, to make it worse, it’s a golliwog with no face. The glued on eyes and mouth have come off some time in the past thirty years so it is a strange, faceless creature. Pearl does not like it at all, possibly because of the scary blank face. I might try gluing on fresh felt eyes and a mouth and see if that makes a difference. Otherwise this might be the one to go to the charity bin.

Christmas doll #1 - She was given a lovely plastic baby doll by her aunt. She was a second hand doll, beautifully dressed in a complete, pink, knitted layette.

Pearl really adores her. She has already removed and lost her bonnet and booties but the doll is still clad in her knickers and singlet and dress. The doll is recycled, which is green. Due to her age she has a tremula in one eye, with her eyelid going up and down frantically, but Pearl does not seem to notice. Plus, she is Pearl’s differently abled doll, so that’s a good role model too.

Christmas doll #2 - Pearl also scored a nice soft doll with plastic face from her Grandparents. This was also second hand, so that’s pretty green (as green as having multiple dolls can be).

It has a laugh mechanism inside it, which Pearl adores. I am not so keen on it, as Pearl cannot trigger the laugh on her own. This means that roughly every fifteen seconds she waves the doll at me and requests that I make it go again. Finding that a bit wearing, but it is probably her second favourite doll at the moment so I can’t find it in myself to put it in the back of the cupboard.

Christmas doll #3 - This is the one I bought her, and, alas, it is her least favourite. In fact she keeps calling it a ball and refusing to recognise it as a doll.

It is hand made by http://www.meemoh.net/ so points for supporting small business in Australia. Plus, I like it so I am not giving it away to charity.


Dec. 27th, 2009 07:49 pm
emma_in_dream: (Elizabeth Peters)
I want to revise my review of the Spiral Garden - http://spiralgarden.com.au/

A very hippy site, with Steiner toys. They stock dolls, craft, Debresk Swedish wooden vehicles, and some dolls hand made in Australia. Pricey.

Edit out the word 'pricey'.


Dec. 27th, 2009 07:48 pm
emma_in_dream: (Dark Angel friendship)
Another toy store - http://www.fairyring.com.au/fairyring

With home-made felt toys. I love felt, it’s the nicest material of all (I plan to do more sewing with felt this year), and these are super cute.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
No one other than Pearl is getting much in the way of presents this year (ah, money). But what fun buying gifts for her.

From me - a wooden jig saw made in Queensland, a book of art pictures of dogs (since the similar volume on horses is such a hit with her), and a wooden truck, also made in Queensland.

From Father Christmas - a hair clip made in WA, a jig saw made in WA and a set of bees wax crayons made in New Zealand.

The book was probably printed in China (can't check as it is wrapped) but otherwise I managed to buy from small companies and get things made by people being paid proper wages. Hoorah!

Toy Truck

Oct. 22nd, 2009 10:46 am
emma_in_dream: (Alexander)
I've finally got a replacement for Pearl's expensive Debresk wooden truck. I am sure it was a series of unfortunate delays, but I would have to not recommend Rhttp://rudolfsteiner.com.au/ because it took forever to get it.


emma_in_dream: (Default)

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