Kids Cleaning Toys - Good Role Playing Or Feminist Mistake?

by Taylor

I recently saw an article on the Huffington Post, and it was called 14 Worst Toys For Girls. It listed as one of the 14 toys the My Cleaning Trolley Set, which is also pictured above.

The commentary on the HuffPo article for this toy states, "What girl doesn't want to grow up and clean toilets?"

This statement made me mad for several reasons.

I know people have lots of different beliefs about how to raise daughters, and the place of women in society and I am not trying to start a big firestorm here.

Instead, my point is -- who doesn't grow up and have to clean toilets?

The statement from the article seems to suggest that cleaning our homes is work that we should not aspire to, and instead that it is just for lowly people, those that can't do better, and not us.

However, unless you are very well off most people do clean their own houses, so why would you belittle a large proportion of the population? And why are those who could afford to have someone else clean their house somehow better?

The statement also seems to suggest there is no intrinsic value in cleaning our homes.

Granted we hire people to clean things in this society for low wages, but that does not mean it is not valuable (and it doesn't make it right!).

Article examining the question of, do kids cleaning toys allow kids to role play real life adult situations, or do they cause gender stereotypes {discussed on Household Management 101}
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Further, since cleaning your home is one way we care for our families, and ourselves, I think it is very worthwhile activity.

Finally, we are training our children to grow up to be productive adults, aren't we? And let me be clear here -- I am talking about boys and girls.

To the extent that the toy is designed only for girls I think that is wrong, because everyone in the home should participate in cleaning it, including both parents and children of both sexes.

(There are clearly some blatantly sexist versions of these cleaning toys produced, such as those which are all pink, like the one to the left, which suggest that the toy should only be played with by a girl. That's not cool, in my opinion.)

If most adults have to clean their own toilets, and children learn at an early age that cleaning is not valuable work they will resent doing it as an adult.

Instead, isn't it appropriate to allow children to model appropriate and normal adult behavior through toys. After all, that is what baby dolls are all about, or play tools, aren't they?

OK, enough of my rant.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter.

Perhaps you disagree with me, and agree with the HuffPo article.

I want to hear both sides of the debate! Just be respectful of other people's beliefs please!

Second photo courtesy of

Comments for Kids Cleaning Toys - Good Role Playing Or Feminist Mistake?

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Its in the lesson
by: Courtney

I like this thought provoking concept! I think we tend to be a bit sensitive when it comes to gender roles and play ..children are acting out what they see. If boys play with dolls, it is because they see their daddies taking good care of them.

I think that how they play with toys have a huge amount to do with the context we frame them in ...dolls/taking good care of our babies, cleaning/taking care of our homes, kitchen/caring for our family. These are things that both mommies and daddies are involved in.

As to the insinuation that cleanign your toilets is somehow a demeaning job ..well, it is but it is part of life. So, sometimes, is cleaning OTHER people's toilets! These are good lessons to learn, and demeaning kids when they act those things out makes it seem that those tasks are not "good enough" for them. Sure it is! will probably need to clean a bathroom someday! arent too good to do such a thing :)

As to this particular toy looks just like the cart the lady at our church uses to clean the church building. What a great game to play ..serving others with a happy heart! :) ..its all in the lesson.

by: Anonymous

I completely agree! I clean my house and my 14 month old daughter (I only have one child right now) watches me and wants to vacuum and "clean up" already. So I am going to get her this set so she can feel she is "helping." It has nothing to do with gender roles or places in society, you are right it's a lifetime chore we all have to do and if they want to be involved early even better. How is it any different than getting them to pick up their own toys?! And I say if they want to "help" now why not because everyone knows once they are teenagers they sure wont;) Very great points ppl thank you! I never thought of any of that, I was just shopping for my daughter for a Chrismas present which I know she'll use and love and it just means more bonding time for us as a family!

Good for boys And girls.
by: Amanda A.

I just want to say that these toys can go for boys or girls. They could market that to both genders. I have one daughter and 3 sons. One of my sons got a broom for his birthday. He loves to sweep. I have another son that loves to vacuum. My daughter has to fight her brothers to get a turn to vacuum. In our house they see daddy cleaning, doing laundry. They would never say that cleaning is a girls job.

by: Anonymous

Your are completely Correct! I have 3 boys and 4 girls. My goal is to raise functioning self sufficient children, boys and girls!!! They all have different strengths but they will all be able to take care of themselves and should they get married be helpful and caring mates. Honestly some of the boys were more comfortable in the kitchen then some of the girls.

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