“More than pink, pink, pink/We want to think,” sings the GoldieBlox video ad, which depicts young girls ditching traditional “girl” toys. They attach their gender-stereotyped playthings—which include baby dolls and the like, mostly in shades of pink—to a rocket ship they've built and prepared to launch into space.
So what are Goldie Blox? These female-friendly construction kits teach fundamental engineering concepts and aim to get girls interested in STEM careers.
The toys’ look combines a bubble-gum aesthetic with Scholastic-style illustration. One could argue that due to their girly colors and “cuteness,” GoldieBlox reinforce the very stereotypes they’re trying to break down. Still, the toys’ appearance and themes seem like a necessary marketing evil in a toy world where construction sets are designed to appeal to boys.
Only 13 percent of current engineers are female, a ratio the company promises to change.
“In a world where men largely outnumber women in science, technology, engineering and math...and girls lose interest in these subjects as early as age 8, GoldieBlox is determined to change the equation. Construction toys develop an early interest in these subjects, but for over a hundred years, they've been considered ‘boys’ toys.’ By designing a construction toy from the female perspective, we aim to disrupt the ‘pink aisle’ and inspire the future generation of female engineers.”
In the GoldieBlox universe, Goldie, the title character, lives with all of her pals. Each kit tells a story and presents a challenge that girls must meet by building one or more items such as a belt drive or hinge and lever. By pairing a storybook with the process of engineering, GoldieBlox establish emotional involvement, inspire problem-solving and offer a real-world connection.
GoldieBlox’ second kit, “GoldieBlox and the Parade Float,” teaches girls about the functions and construction of a wheel and axle. The product description reads: “In this much-anticipated sequel, Goldie's friends Ruby and Katinka compete in a princess pageant with the hopes of riding in the town parade. When Katinka loses the crown, Ruby and Goldie build something great together, teaching their friends that creativity and friendship are more important than any pageant.”
Each of the three available kits retails for either $19.99 or $29.99 and is designed for girls ages 4-9.