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Playmobil

I had to write about Playmobil because I feel like my childhood was shaped by these little plastic toys (that might be an exaggeration). In all seriousness; they were my favorite toys. My sister had a doll house that she filled with these little people and their accessories. She had the Victorian collection, I had the Native American set and my brother had a full colonial army (perfect to combat my Native Americans). My sister and I use to set up elaborate scenarios and then we would act them out. Some of our favorites were having the army kill all the Native American’s or vice versa, or the Victorian people hiding the Native American’s and protecting them from the vicious army. However, my favorite game was when we made the colonial soldiers kill the Buffalos and then the Native American’s would have to move off the land (kind of morbid). Needless to say, it was fun, and I realize now how much a child acts out American mores.

I visited the website ( http://store.playmobilusa.com/ ) and I wasn’t surprised at all to find that nothing had really changed since I was last playing with these toys. The online store was easy enough to navigate and it had a “games and fun? for kids to enjoy (like most toy websites). It was set up so you could pick what category you would like to buy under. Some of the groups are; “Adventure? (which includes anything that is somewhat exotic), “Farm? (which includes a bunch of white people) and “Modern Living? (this group includes a lot of women doing chores). Although they didn’t sell the Native American set that I owned, they had many of the same ones. You can now buy a single Native American War chief in the “specials? section or “Camp Thunder? (which is a small camp of Native American’s) in the “leisure? section of their online store. As for being able to relate to these toys, I don’t think they cut it. The toys are very simple, with painted faces and minimal differences in hair type and color as well as skin color. All the toys are the same size they are white and there are way more men then women.

I think these toys definitely gendered my family and I think that they continue to gender many children. Take for example the picture of the woman doing laundry and ironing that Rachel put up in the assignment post. My sister filled her whole doll house with these stereotypical toys. I remember she had a professor looking character who stayed in the study and red his intellectual books all day, while the nanny (a woman) was upstairs wiping the baby’s ass. American or white stereotypes and cultural restraints flooded into the Native American set also. The Native American women were always holding onto a baby or staying home while the men hunted and killed each other. I haven’t really studied or learned about Native American culture, but from the reading by Paula Gunn Allen, I can only conclude that these toys are another way White culture has impeded on the cultural identity of Native American people.