At this time of year, it’s hard to raise your eyes from writing Christmas cards (ho ho ho) without seeing a list of ‘Best Selling Toys for 2018.’ Hamley’s, Amazon, eBay- they all do them.
I’m proposing another list, with a different assessment.
Santa is an older white guy. Of course. He’s CEO of Christmas logistics, and it would be a rare thing if that were a woman. But let’s imagine. What if there were a Feminist Santa Claus? Sister not Father Christmas. She’d only deliver toys that she’d endorsed; not for novelty or safety, but for their feminist value. Because what you play with matters.
FeminiSanta might start by appraising this year’s predicted must-haves. Like Fingerlings dinosaurs. Your familiarity with these will be considerable if you have children, and non-existent if you don’t, but here’s a potted explanation. These raptors grip the digit. They’re part toy, part knuckle-duster. Names include Razor, Blaze and IronJaw.
FeminiSanta says: ‘Why no damsel dinosaurs in this range of toys? The world has witnessed evolution, not He-volution. We want PreHerstoric representation, Fingerlings.’
Another toy much tipped this Christmas is the Mini Waitrose Supermarket. It’s an old-fashioned grocer shop, with a weighing machine for fruit and vegetables. FeminiSanta says: ‘I rather hoped this would be a whistling male figure in a van carrying a bag of basics.’
Elasti Plasti is also a big seller-to-be. It’s slimy. In a slightly less feminist moment, FeminiSanta says: ‘sounds like the consistency of a good hair mask to me.’
FeminiSanta thought a LEGO Suffragette would be a wonderful toy, but actually, this was a figure displayed during UK Parliament Week to celebrate 100 years since some British women got the vote. Yet, as with the suffragettes themselves, the LEGO lady inspired. She got FeminiSanta thinking on how to take all-time favourite toys, and give them a gender-empowering twist.
Like Monopoly. FeminiSanta would be delighted to deliver a version of the board called Womanopoly, with women on the Monopoly money.
And a feminist Hula Hoop. Written along the hoop edge would be the words: ‘This is not just for jumping through in order to get a job.’
Of other best-selling playthings, FeminiSanta notes many are named after men. Instead, she would like to deliver Ms Potato Head.
Then there are retro favourites, including Bozo the Clown Bop Bag Inflatable. It’s basically a kiddie’s air-filled punch bag. To create a fun feminist line, FeminiSanta would propose retiring Bozo (with a decent pension) and printing a face not dissimilar to Harvey Weinstein’s on the new version, to be called Sleazo The Bop Bag Inflatable.
Other retro toys offer teachable gift moments. For example, the Slinky, that metal walking spring toy which has been around since 1945. When women lose their slinkiness, society ignores them but, by giving this gift, FeminiSanta suggests, ‘you show something can be older and still Slinky.’
And Tiddlywinks. A standard box contains winks, squidgers, a cup and a cloth bag. The rules emphasise this game of skill has to take place on a level playing field. Once a level playing field is established, says FeminiSanta, watch how women can squidge-off just as well as men and sometimes better.
And, lastly, ‘Etch a Sketch’. Give this gift in its original form, says FeminiSanta, and point out it’s a perfect illustration of how art history has treated women. Great creations, lost in the sand.
Me, I wish there were a FeminiSanta. Bet she would have a team of cows – female reindeer – and pay them the same as the males. I’d particularly enjoy a song about Rudolphessa the Red-Nosed Cow.