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Some days I'm depressed there are so few women in engineering;

other days I'm amazed that so many women have been able to make it through all the barriers. Today it is the latter and I blame Tonka Trucks.

Last night an ad came on TV showing that Tonka Trucks are for boys and explaining that boys are sooooo different from girls (meaning, I guess, you shouldn't buy girls Tonka Trucks). I was surprised that a company would want to limit its market so much, so I went to the Tonka website to see what I could find.

Ok now I'm depressed. Search the website for "boy" and you get

Find the right Tonka toy for your boy! Tonka features great products like...
...Big Boy Tonka Gear WHEEL PALS The friendly fleet of WHEEL PALS vehicles are the perfect little buddies for your budding truck fan....

Search on girl and you get (I swear I am not making this up!)

My Little Pony Memory Game
My Little Pony Rainbow Dash Cake DecSet
My Little Pony Rainbow Dash Cake With Edible Image

Oh yes you also get links to Parenting Tips for Parents of Boys by Tonka and Play Perspectives - Play Tips for Mom and Dad Provided by Tonka where parents "Learn how incorporating Tonka truck play can help in a nurturing a young boy."

And before you ask, no Tonka has no "Parenting Tips for Parents of Girls" and yes the "Play Perspectives" are for boys only. . Guess cake decorating and eating just isn't that hard.

PS Alfred J. Verrecchia is the CEO of Tonka's parent company, Hasbro (1027 Newport Ave. Pawtucket, RI 02861 401-431-8697).


I am, as far as I am aware, the only person ever to break their Tonka truck as a child. They were marketed as unbreakable and I managed it - not bad for a girl who according to the manufacturers shouldn't even be playing with it! My parents were incredibly progressive for the early 80s and made sure my brother and I had toys of all sorts, not limited to what was deemed suitable for boys and for girls.

My husband and I were in Argos, a store in the UK which I suppose is comparable to Sears - it sells jewellery, furniture and furnishings, tools and outdoor equipment and toys. He flicked through the toy section and was disgusted to see that Pleo, the new baby Camarasaurus robot, was in the "boys' toys" section. As was I.

The Tonka truck commercial from when I was a girl (in the dark ages of the 1950s):

"For boys who like real lifelike toys
That they can operate, too--
Attention, boys! Tonka Toys
Are made just for you!"

Sounds like they haven't changed much. :(

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