Girls' crappy fake toy laptop is pink, and half as powerful as boys' crappy fake toy laptop

Claudia, a Dublin-based reader of Sociological Images, clipped this image of a flier for an Irish shop that sells crappy fake toy laptops in gendered versions, with the blue male version getting twice as many "functions" as the pink female version. Gwen at SocImg says, "Also, it looks more like a packet of birth control pills than a laptop."

Girls vs. Boys “Laptops”: Guess Which Does More?


  1. I get quite annoyed about this stuff, even though I’m a guy.

    There was a Halfords ad recently for bikes that had a ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ bike.

    Since when do boys and girls need different bloody bikes? Did I actually time travel back to 1952?

      1. I’m intrigued, why do you say especially?

        Although I’m a little ashamed of my gender, unfortunately these stereotypes are perpetuated by women just as frequently as by men.

        Or do you just really like pink stuff? :)

        1. I’m aware that the marketers behind this aren’t necessarily men, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about it. I think the whole issue just makes us look like tools. That’s my opinion, of course.

          1. That’s fair enough, was just curious – I don’t think I feel that way simply because it’s not a mentality I share, grouping yourself with people that think that way isn’t all that different to assuming that all girls like pink – in a round-about kind of way!

        2. When I was four I told my mother my favorite color was pink. She said, “Oh no, you can’t like pink. It’s a girls’ color.”

          Oddly enough I didn’t feel resentful toward girls. On the contrary, even though I really couldn’t articulate it, I had a deep sense that this was a stupid arbitrary rule made up by some dimwit. I still believe that to be true.

          1. That’s awesome. A family friend did buy her little lad a doll and push-chair because he wanted one. I probably thought it was silly at the time, but looking back on it that was some damn fine parenting.

          2.  My friend did this. Her son cheerfully carried it round above his head by the handles and knocked things over with it. Mind you, my daughter spent more happy hours making things out of the detritus her toys came in than playing with nonsensical pink stuff people bought her. They are two of my favourite people in the world, those kids.

          3. My grandson’s favorite color is pink. (Why? Because his mom’s favorite color is pink. Better to ask–why WOULDN’T it be pink, when so many moms like pink?)

            We’ve never tried to change it.

        3. these stereotypes are perpetuated by women just as frequently as by men.

          Run into a lot of women demanding less functional laptops, do you?

          1. I was referring to the pinksplosion. Although reading it back I’d like to amend ‘just as frequently’ to ‘as well as’ – that was an accidental exaggeration.

          2. But the pinksplosion in and of itself wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t always inseparable from inferiority. Can you imagine a world where the pink laptop is the one with twice as many “functions”? If it did, boys and parents would really take issue with what exactly made the pink one “for girls”, and rather soon pink would be gender neutral.

          3. Maybe. I’ve literally just seen a range of toy vacuum cleaners in the girls section of the Argos catalogue so my faith in humanity has dwindled a little more.

    1. Actually, bikes is one place it make sense due to different body proportions a slightly shorter top tube to seat tube tends to be much better for women than men, but not in toys, colour, or equipment

      1. That’s true (even though the shape is to accommodate skirts and dresses) – but I’m actually referring to two generic kids bikes, one with a ‘builders’ design, and the other some kind of pink, fluffy alternative.

      2. Girls’ bikes? Boys can’t wear dresses? Or shalwar kameez? Why not Christian and Muslim bikes? (Sorry that was supposed to be a reply to vickytnz).

        1.  You’d think the Celts would be all about making bikes with dipping centre bars for all those in traditional gear, might also sell well in many island nations

      3. That is true for men and women but not necessarily for boys and girls.  In the 10-14 age range I think the relative heights of boys and girls are somewhat different from what they are at adulthood.

    2. It’d depend: while if it’s just pink and blue it’s sad, but if it is actually a proper girls’ bike with a lower centre frame, it should be possible to wear it with a dress :)

      1. I can promise you it is perfectly possible and indeed even a complete non-issue to ride ANY bike  – including a road-racing bike – in a dress. I do it several times a week.

        1. I didn’t get a bike until I was seven.  While learning to ride it in an empty school parking lot one Saturday afternoon, I forgot how the coaster brake worked and ran into a curb.  I slid off the banana seat and squashed me plums on the bike frame.

          Never could understand why girls had a superior bike frame design while boys were faced with these sadistic ball-crushing menaces.

    3. Echoing the aggrivation here. I don’t wanna get my niece some crap toy when the boy’s toy is slightly less crappy.

      Then again in this case I’d just get ’em both raspberry pi’s and be done with it.

        1. Alas a poor uncle who can’t get these things for the wee ones. Also one with not enough patiance to sit them down and try educating them on the ways of the command line.

          1. Nah. While tha’ts appreciated i Know I”ll get over the money slump soon enough. Gift it to someone who litterally doesn’t have. Or show it off to a local school or something see if they’ll consider adding ’em to their tech courses.

          2. Not at all! I just know me too well. I’d spend months tinkering with the thing, forget why I got it in the first place, then on showing the little ones they’d fight over who gets it.

            I’d rather wait till I have enough to buy there (one for both of ’em then one for me) so that problem gets sidestepped straight away.

  2. I see that you must be a software developer, believing that the more functions, the better. That girl’s toy probably has a better user interface.

    1. Nope, and, that’s just stupid.

      Plus, the girl-model crappy fake laptop appears to have a screen about two inches square, and no mousepad.

      1. Well, the boy-model-mousepad is [likely] non-functional.

        So, instead of the Potemkin-village gadget, maybe the girls get one that is pure function (plus a hideously-pink case) ?

  3. I’m honestly rather surprised that it was cost effective to do two distinct hardware and firmware spins (the screens look to be different sizes, input devices appear to be different, number of ‘functions’ is obviously different) with such cheap plastic crap.

    One batch with a pink plastics kit and one batch with a silver/black plastics kit, yeah; but actual functional differences? I’m a bit surprised.

    (Incidentally, I wonder if they omitted the power switch from the girl’s laptop; because the female body has ways to shut the thing down?)

  4. I’m assuming the button that automatically texts the message “math is tough” to your friends works just fine.

  5. Wrote about this a couple years back – there was, at the time, a similar situation with pink vs black telescopes and microscopes, and yup, the pink ones were less powerful in both cases. UGHH. FYI, here’s the piece, Pink Stinks.

  6. This stuff really annoys me. And it seems to be getting worse, or I’m noticing it more.

    Thankfully my six year old niece appears to be largely ignoring convention, she sprained her ankle earlier in the week playing football (soccer) with the boys in her class. I was so proud :)

    It also reminds me of something I saw earlier today doing the rounds on twitter…

    1.  I was gonna say, they can’t even spell “it’s” right.

      When selling products to small children, one could at *least* allow them to proofread for you.

  7. Why spend $10 on a fake laptop when you could probably get a real one for that price? Ignoring the gender issue for a moment, the whole concept of “fake tech toys” is a dumb one.

    If for some reason you don’t want to drop a 20 year old laptop in front of your kid, just buy them a Raspberry Pi. If we’re gonna turn our kids into tech hungry drones, might as well educate them a little bit in the process.

      1. Recommended is like 3 – 5 when the child isn’t likely going to use a computer anyway (this while a kid my mom babysits has learned how to use her iPhone….)

        1. Yeah, I always thought the fake ones were to keep your 4 year old from using YOUR technology. Fool them while you can, etc.

          1. Pretty much, but I let my 3.5 year old use my netbook and GNex with supervision.  Both kids love Bad Piggies.  If the money situation were better, I’d consider getting a Nexus 7 or something similar, with a tough case.

          2. And lock things with passwords! One of my relatives really didn’t think much about it “what harm can he do?” and his son actually rang up like $200 in apps and posted a bunch of “ojfjwo” type things on facebook. It was pretty funny, in retrospect…

            Even funnier, later on his son handed the phone back to him and said “fix it” after dad got the clue.

          3. I let my two year old use my electronic dictionary. It has a little keypad and a screen as well as minimal graphics and writes things when he presses the keys. He used to love putting it next to my laptop and copying me while I worked. More importantly, he stopped pressing the power button every few minutes.

        2. I think that the lower bound of 3 is a liability thing. My 3 year old daughter has had a (green and white) toy laptop for about a year and a half. She won’t be at the Rasp. Pi phase until she can read. Until then the thing at least acts like a little piano.

  8. Also looks like the boys get a trackpad while the girls get a clit-mouse. Which is probably good, because you know males have no idea what to do with those.

  9. This is an outrage! The girls’ version should come with at least 77% of the functionality the boys’ version has.

  10. The Girl’s version only comes with 25 functions because that’s all they need to accomplish the same things it takes the Boys 50 functions to accomplish…

  11. At this point, I find this stuff almost as puzzling as it is insulting.

    I imagine that the people in the committees who come up with this shit probably have daughters, nieces, sisters, etc who don’t sashay in pink dresses while sipping strawberry milk out of pink cups and discuss makeup 24/7.  I assume they probably truly see their female loved ones as smart and complex individuals. But my guess is that when it’s time to make business decisions, they decide in function of the other girls out there, the mystical ones predicted in the market studies and such, who live and breathe for pretty pink cosmetic stuff.  These hordes of hypothetical girl-consumers trump everything else.

    That or they really believe girls are completely incapable of appreciating anything that doesn’t look like it’s owned by Barbie.

    1.  I am not a scientist, but why would a mixture of different parts of the spectrum then need to be located at some definite point on the spectrum? Wouldn’t it be like saying “chords don’t exist” in music?

  12. Here are links to the actual products:

    It looks like they are indeed distributed by the same company (Benross Group), in the UK at least. The pink one appears to be manufactured by B&C Toys, the blue one by Kaixin, both in Guangdong, China. Both come with separate “mice”.

    There looks to be an endless supply of these things, with any number of “functions”. Here’s a more egalitarian model, with 60 functions in both pink and gray:

  13. My 3-year-old daughter is obsessed with all things pink. She told the Santa at the mall she wants “pink stuff” for Christmas. She tried to sneak a can of tuna into the cart at the grocery store this morning because it had a pink label. Even her love of pink would not convince her to get the “girl” computer, because it looks like a toy, while the other looks like a computer.

    1. Boys playing with dolls is now “gender-bending”. They make it sound like children are being herded into reptilian gender-reassignment gulags.

  14. I’m reminded of the Barbie/Hot Wheels computers back in the late nineties, although there the situation was kind of reversed. The computers were pretty much identical specs, but they came with different accessories: the Hot Wheels computer came with a steering-wheel controller for the Hot Wheels game, and the Barbie computer came with… a digital camera. Which would you have rather had (given that digital cameras were still relatively rare–i.e. not everyone already had one on their phone)? I was actually thinking about getting one for myself, given that it was a fairly decent price for the package, but they turned out to not be able to meet demand, so it was a moot point. Oh, well, I’ll always dream of being the only thirty-something-year-old guy with a digital camera with a big pink flower on the front.

  15. So gender fairness preachers…. how did you decide the black/silver/blue one is for a boy? And the fact that you are all placing so much importance on a toddlers’overglorified calculator is merely perpetuating the issue in my opinion.

      1. I’m clearly going to have to start enforcing the “Your IQ must be this high for you to go on this ride” rule.

  16. Am I the only one who loves these pink electronics? I mean, not this crappy toy laptop, but the actual pink versions of genuine items. They end up being the last to sell, then you can buy them for a hugely reduced price. I have a pink Canon camera and we bought my in-laws a pink laptop (which they really needed, but which we wouldn’t have been able to afford at a normal price). Our camera isn’t Barbie pink or anything and doesn’t stand out too much, so nobody has actually mentioned the colour to us.

    1. No, you are not. My daughter just bought her first laptop and, in addition to being the right size and speed and all that, a huge reason she bought is PINK!!! Seems to work just as well as a blue one for reading all her Tumblr blogs and fangirl fiction.

    2. What I really want to see is the blue laptop having 50 functions, and the pink laptop having 75 functions. + SSD and an Intel Core i7 processor and 16 GB RAM.

  17. It’s not that girls don’t want the functionality, it’s just the best they can afford, what with the pay gap.

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