Fair Play is a blog about all things related to children’s toys and play, with the hope of informing consumers about the importance and availability of gender-fair play options. So much of children’s toys and games are marketed “for boys” or “for girls,” effectively separating boys and girls by their gender, artificially shaping boys’ and girls’ developing interests according to gender, and contributing to children’s developing gender stereotypes. Dividing toys and play by gender can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. When told something is “for boys,” girls avoid that toy or game, shaping their interests accordingly, and miss out on the skills they could develop from that mode of play. The same is true in reverse for boys. This gender division of interests can eventually extend well beyond play, to school subjects and aspirations, and even to future career aspirations.
This blog aspires to be gender-fair, feminist, anti-racist, and “fair” with respect to all social groups.
Here you can find reviews of toys, games, and children’s media. I hope this will be your resource in the search for less gendered play options. Sometimes I review popular toys which I do not recommend – it is my hope that discussing why these trendy toys negatively impact gender stereotyping will also be helpful for you as a consumer. To support Fair Play, products available through Amazon.com are linked from this blog. If you follow that particular link, Fair Play receives a small percentage of your purchase value. Previously reviewed products available through Amazon.com can be found in our customized store page here. You can also use this portal to shop Amazon.com any time and support Fair Play with your purchases.
Most everything we review receives a rating from 1 to 5 “pinwheels,” our signature image:
A 5 pinwheel product is gender-fair, affordable and available, and limits the use of TV/movie character branding. You can find Fair Play’s stance on the color pink here. To request a review of a particular product, head on over to Request a Review.
Why so many 4 and 5 pinwheel products? Because we generally review things we like and recommend! Sometimes things come along that are problematic, and it is important to discuss those too.
Many of the products reviewed I have used myself. Many others are the result of my careful research in order to save you hours of hassle. When I review a product by request of its maker, that is always clearly identified.
Who am I?
My name is Emily Coyle. I hold a Ph.D. and M.S. in developmental psychology (Penn State) and earned my B.S. in psychology in 2010 (Washington & Lee). My work centers on issues of gender development and children’s early stereotype development, with respect to aspiration and achievement. I am particularly interested in play as an informal learning experience with great consequences for children’s ideas about gender, race, socioeconomic status, and other social groups.
This blog was inspired foremost by my niece and nephew, twins, for whom I have experienced great frustration in the gift-giving process. This blog is informed by my day job as a recent PhD in developmental psychology, as well as my interest in all things related to play and gender.