Nerf is coming out with a line for girls. The Rebelle – and the first item in their line? The Heartbreaker Bow. It’s… well… Pink.
And it’s for girls.
And for those reasons, I want to hate it.
But the converse of that is this: The function of the bow is absolutely not any weaker than the other products made for Nerf, in fact it’ll pack the same strength behind it as the Nerf Elite darts. The company is making a bow and arrow set targeted at the female child market, and I never thought I’d see that happen in my lifetime.
But I also think children are smarter than that. And in an age where we have children who are recognizing that there is more than just gender binary – where we do have children who realize their gender may be in flux, we need to stop marketing to children with “Boy” this and “girl” that. We need to just start making toys for children.
So that the 6 year old girl who wants to hunt dragons (or rescue them, as the case was with me) can shoot a bow and arrow and wield a sword.
So that her brother can play with dolls or a tea set if he wants to.
So that the trans child who doesn’t have an easily identified gender market can play without fearing gender identification by picking up a doll or a Tonka Truck.
Children are smarter than we give them credit for, and really – what’s the difference between the Heartbreaker Bow and the Z Curve Bow except color?
I know that Nerf did market research, that they didn’t just slap pink packaging on one of their other models and call it For Girls, and for that I do commend them to an extent. But why do we need to slap pink on it at all? Why can’t girls play with bows and arrows? Why weren’t girls already part of that market?
In a world where a young woman can choose to enter the military, serve her country – and now go to the front line – we should be changing our perceptions, and maybe it’s a small thing, but the changes start with the toys we play with as children.