Lately, Simone has been moderately obsessed with two games: Candyland and Cootie. Ostensibly, there’s nothing wrong with this. I mean, those games are mind-numbing like all games targeted at three-year-olds, but Simone finds them delightful, so whatever.
Recently, we sat down for a good-old-fashioned game of Cootie. Simone pulled out to an early lead, and though I recovered, I was unable to come back, finishing one leg short of a full-cootie. I was crushed, let me tell you. But there was something even more disturbing that I noticed.
Cootie, you may know, is a game in which you roll a die and build a bug (aka a cootie) from plastic parts. There are a variety of choices regarding body color, eyes, mouth, hat/antennae, and legs. Simone chose the pink body. Fine. She’s been on a pink run for a long time now. She chose the hair-bow in the hat category. She chose the eyes with big, long eyelashes. She chose the big, pouty lips. She built the perfect girl cootie.
She didn’t chose the cowboy hat, though she spends a lot of her time wearing whatever hat she can get a hold of. She didn’t choose the goofy looking tongue, though she thinks sticking out your tongue is hilarious. She didn’t choose the funny eyes.
She is three and she built the perfect, demure, girl cootie. Dammit.
It’s not that I find anything wrong with things that are stereotypically girly. I don’t. It’s just that I want Simone to know those aren’t the only options. I know we’ve done a mostly good job because her interests are all over the map, as they should be. But I can’t stop being bothered that, when asked to build something, she didn’t build the thing most in-keeping with her personality, she built the thing most in-keeping with what girls are supposed to look like.
And speaking of that, let’s talk about Candyland, shall we?
The current edition of Candyland has three male characters and three female characters on the board. A nice bit of gender equality. However, the male characters are a dashing-prince-type, and wily-villian-type, and, of course, the king.
So what do the girls get? A sexy princess with serious curves. Some sort of nymphish faerie with her own set of barely-legal curves (and a lollipop, no less), and a grandmother.
So, if your a boy, you can be adventurous or clever or in-charge of everything. If you’re a girl, you can be sexy or a grandmother.
This is a game targeted at three-year-old children.
Now I’ve gone and depressed myself.