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Samantha Turnbull Writer, mother, anti-princess

Mop shoes

Cleaning trickery inspired by Pippi

There’s a lot not to like about the girls’ and boys’ toy sections in stores across the globe.

One section is almost entirely pink, the other an array of primary colours.

One section is full of big-eyed princess dolls, the other action figures.

Pink and princesses aside, my biggest gripe is something else.

Above all, I cannot stand the way domestic-themed toys are marketed specifically to girls.

Libby once got given a toy broom for her birthday. I was almost OK with it – hey, we’ve all gotta learn to clean, right?

Then I sized up the giver, and realised there was no way she would’ve bought such a thing for a boy.

“Sweepin’ is women’s work,” she would’ve said. Unfortunately our major retailers feel the same way.

On a recent trip to a Gold Coast toy store I was appalled to see mops, vacuums, washing machines and ironing boards in the girls’ aisle.

The closest thing in the boys’ section was a barbecue – because we all know meat flippin’ is for men while the women belong in the kitchen making salads.

In our house, my husband does the cooking and a fair whack of cleaning. It’s not 1950, after all.

So, why are our toy retailers so stuck in the past?

Whatever the answer, like I said, we’ve all got to learn a little something in the domestic chores department.

Today, inspired by one of my childhood sheroes Pippi Longstocking, I fashioned some shoes for Libby from a mop cover. ‘Mop shoes’, as she called them.

Mop shoes

Do yourself a favour and track down the 1988 movie The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking so you can see where the basic premise comes from. There’s a great scene where Pippi and co strap scrubbing brushes to their feet and ‘skate’ around the house cleaning their floors.

Today, we did the same. Mopping disguised as a game.

Mop shoes in action

And, when my baby boy gets bigger, rest assured he’ll be just as well acquainted with cleaning. He can even have a pair of mop shoes for himself… better take a patent out on them now.

Funny mop shoes

One response to “Cleaning trickery inspired by Pippi”

  1. Zanni Louise says:

    Great idea! I have to get myself a copy of that movie. We have only seen a dubbed version in Dutch, so I missed out on a great deal. I live in a complete bubble, where boys are bought domestic items…Bunnings have a great range of small domestic and gardening tools – brooms etc in primary colours, which I figure is pretty gender neutral. I steer clear of boy/girl toy isles at the department stores. My daughter starts up straight away, but I just say that I can’t stand that crap. It’s really terrible how gender segregation and stereotyping starts so early. Love the term Sheroes.

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