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persuasion notebook

GoldieBlox ad.

A new ad for GoldieBlox, a U.S. toy company, is tackling the pink-saturated, overfeminized, demeaning advertising targeted to young girls with a Rube Goldberg machine and a feminist anthem set to the Beastie Boys hit Girls.

The company, which manufactures a series of books and a construction set, was founded by a Stanford engineer named Debbie Sterling. The products centre on a female engineer. According to description of the new video, Ms. Sterling "decided last year that girls need more choices than the pink aisle has to offer."

In advertising those products, it has created a manifesto against the "pink aisle" and the way it underestimates girls and women.

This extends into adulthood as well, with highly gendered advertising selling women on pink imagery not far from the Barbie aesthetic they were sold on as girls.

The ad is worth watching.

Here are the lyrics, set to the Beastie Boys' 1987 hit Girls:


You think you know what we want, girls.

Pink and pretty it's girls.

Just like the 50's it's girls.

You like to buy us pink toys and everything else is for boys and you can always get us dolls and we'll grow up like them... false.

It's time to change.

We deserve to see a range.

'Cause all our toys look just the same and we would like to use our brains.

We are all more than princess maids.

Girls to build the spaceship, Girls to code the new app, Girls to grow up knowing they can engineer that.


That's all we really need is Girls.

To bring us up to speed it's Girls.

Our opportunity is Girls.

Don't underestimate Girls.