Once there was a woman with good intentions. She was a female engineer and Stanford grad who wanted little girls to love engineering us much as she did. So she created a construction toy called Goldie Blox. She set up a cute website to inspire the next generation of prospective engineers to put down their Barbies, wands and Cinderella costumes and buy Goldie Blox.
Then she had a video made to promote her product and message. The video showed happy, energetic, creative – powerful! – girls bored with the princess tea party scene constructing a fantastical Rube Goldberg “Princess Machine.” The two-minute video was set to “Girls” by the Beastie Boys, music meant to uplift and provide an anthem for Generation Z females. That’s where things got messy.
Suddenly, GoldieBlox, toys and empowerment were lumped together with things like litigation, copyright infringement and the fair use doctrine. Was it a parody? Just an ad? Trojan feminism? Papers were filed, an open letter to the Beastie Boys (described by Adweek as a passive-aggressive non-apology) was posted online. Some ignored the legal issues and were just annoyed because they felt the toys were built poorly and didn’t really inspire creative play (see Amazon reviews). I’m getting tired just thinking about all of this.
The video now has a peppy instrumental soundtrack:
Which brings me to Rosie Revere, Engineer. It’s a children’s book written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts, the same team that brought us Iggy Peck, Architect, a favorite in our household (it’s one of the few books I don’t mind reading over and over again to our four year old; Dora’s Storytime Collection? Another story).
It’s about a little girl who dreams of becoming an engineer and touches on creativity, believing in oneself, failure and perseverance. As Rosie says, “The only true failure can come if you quit.” (See the trailer here.)
It comes “scandal” free – no litigation, no offense, no defense. And it’s a book — who can say no to a great book? So if you don’t want another toy in the house, empowering or otherwise, you know what to get the kids this holiday season.