The Power Of Toys
Torque Singapore|September - October 2019
When it comes to challenging gender stereotypes, there is more to toys than meets the eye.

A few months ago, I brought my daughter to a screening of Toy Story 4 during one of the movie nights organised by a car distributor.

It was an entertaining movie, but while I was amused by Forky’s repeated attempts at throwing himself away, creeped out by Gabby’s sinister plot to steal Woody’s voice box, and in awe of Bo Peep’s heroism, at the back of my mind, I was also thinking of a more sombre side to toys that is more than just fun and games.

We are familiar with the longstanding “nature or nurture” debate. While some gender traits are inborn, many can be attributed to conditioning.

The toys we were exposed to as children have an impact on the education and career choices we make later in life.

Dolls and tea sets tend to nurture communication and social skills, while toy cars and building sets help to hone visual and spatial abilities. This is how gender stereotypes are formed at an early age.

To derail this stereotype, Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) and Mattel collaborated on an initiative that aims to inspire the next generation of female trailblazers by showing children, girls in particular, that they can aspire to be and to do anything that they desire when there are no limits.

All too often, it is the walls, ceilings and barriers, invisible or otherwise, that hold us back.

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