The '90s launched Gak, Tamagotchi, Furby, and an entire generation of children who would grow up to embody the progressive, boundary-pushing mindset that the rebellious 1990s were known for. Now that many '90s kids have kids of their own, the toy market is changing — in a good way. With stores like Target taking the focus off sorting toys by gender, today's children will hopefully face less inequality. If you're a parent to a boy, a great way to take a trip down memory lane and encourage gender equality, is to find some 90s girl-marketed toys and encourage your son play with them.
Whether you were aware of it or not, the '90s actually saw a fair amount of sexism with toys being marketed specifically based on if you were a boy or a girl. Stereotypical gender roles were echoed in commercials for girls playing mother to their Cabbage Patch doll or domestic diva with their Easy Bake Oven, while boys got to be rough and tumble with their NERF guns and action-packed video games. Thankfully, pop culture has evolved and most people understand that gender, sex, and identity aren't as binary as previous generations once believed. So here are some of the top '90s toys for girls that your son would have just as much fun playing with.
1. Puppy Surprise
Though looking back as an adult, it's kind of creepy to open up a stuffed female dog's "stomach" to find her babies inside, this '90s girls toy could be a good stepping stone for teaching responsibility and kindness should you ever consider adopting an actual puppy.
Barbie certainly wasn't invented in the '90s, but pretty much ever girl I knew had a collection of these dolls growing up. With Mattel expanding their line to include different sizes, shapes, and career paths for Barbie, it's a great way to show your son how similar boys and girls can be.
3. Baby Alive
Who doesn't remember this amazing sensation? You actually swore the baby was really eating and drinking (and even going pee). Since parenting isn't just a girl's job, teach your son at an early age that parents are equally responsible and capable of raising children.
4. Easy Bake Oven
Primarily aimed at girls, the Easy Bake Oven can be for either gender. You can show your son that an interest in baking and creativity with food is for everyone.
5. Dear Diary
It's weird that having a safe space to keep private thoughts would be seen as something only for girls. Let your son know that everyone is entitled to have their own place to express their feelings.
6. Ribbon Dancer
Who doesn't remember spending hours choreographing elaborate routines with their ribbon dancer? Dancing, gymnastics, and the arts aren't just for girls.
7. Fashion Drawing Kits
Many different companies had their own version, but many girls in the '90s had this designer kit on their Christmas list. Nurture your son's interest in fashion and creativity with one of these fun sets.
8. Skip It
No clue as to why Skip It commercials usually showed only girls playing with them, because getting active and playing outside is healthy for all children.
9. American Girl Dolls
American Girl dolls were awesome for so many reasons. Not only could you dress them up and play with them, but they were also educational! You could learn about the times in which these fictional characters lived, historical facts, and so much more. These could easily be enjoyed by boys and girls alike.