I remember hearing about Goldie Blox last fall when its Kickstarter was running, and now I really wish I’d paid more attention. I came across the brand again this week, this time via Facebook, and took the time to watch its Kickstarter video.
Suffice it to say, I’m pretty impressed.
Goldie Blox is a new toy brand dedicated to introducing girls to engineering, something that most toys geared for females these days don’t attempt. Its creator, Debbie Sterling, grew up playing with dolls and Barbies and didn’t even understand what engineering was until she was almost out of high school. She’s now dedicating her life to teaching young girls what engineering is and that it can be fun to boot!
The first Goldie Blox story, “Goldie Blox & the Spinning Machine” stars Goldie herself, a young girl who creates a belt-drive to help her dog Nacho (oh em gee her dog’s name is Nacho and that is adorable) chase his tail. The whole set comes with a peg board, various spinny-pieces, a piece of ribbon (the belt), and a storybook that teaches about the belt drive at the same time it tells a story about Goldie and Nacho. This sounds exactly like the type of thing I would have loved as a little girl.
You can check out Debbie’s Kickstarter pitch here; she sells her idea really well. Also Tim Schafer is in it, if that’s the sort of thing you care about (no judgement, I thought it was neat too).
I find myself contrasting this a lot with the somewhat-recent advent of the “LEGO Friends” franchise, LEGO’s much-ridiculed attempt to appeal more seriously to the female demographic. You can read my full discussion here, but the bottom line is that while LEGO spent a good deal of money on research, they ultimately ended up committing the same sin that many other girls’ toys do: safely pigeon-holing them into traditional roles.
LEGO clearly grasped the same concept that Goldie Blox did, that girls want a story attached to their gameplay, but despite their attempts to expand what girls are “allowed” to be – veterinarians and inventors, for example – their reliance on tried-and-true beauty shops, bakeries, and pretty houses were a bit disappointing. Where were the pirates, astronauts, and explorers the male-versions of the toys contained?
But I digress; this isn’t supposed to be a critique of LEGO. My point is that I think Goldie Blox is providing what many women want for their daughters, nieces, and granddaughters in the first place – the opportunity to be anything they want and be a girl. This is something that I’ve struggled with growing up as a woman liking “boy” things, the idea that you have only 2 choices as a girl: either become a member of the boy’s club and laugh along with the dick-jokes or sit in a frilly pink dress and paint your nails. What Goldie Blox accomplishes (in addition to teaching engineering skills) is showing girls that it is absolutely possible to sit in that frilly pink dress and still be a master of your own destiny – even if your chosen destiny happens to be accompanied by a lot of dudes.
Me…I’ll never be a fan of the frills and the pink, but I will be – and am – completely comfortable with the fact that I have lady-parts and am still excellent at my male-dominated job and interests. This confidence is what I want for my future daughter as soon as sentience sets in, and that’s why I’ll be supporting Goldie Blox.
Parents…what do you think?
PS – Okay girlfriends, somebody start popping out babies so I can buy them engineering toys.