Today’s prompt is cooking toy, but I can’t remember actually have one of my own as a child. Last year I sketched an Easy Bake Oven, and this year the thing that popped into my head were the rather obscure miniature wind-up toys made by a toy company called Galoob. Shown here in a super fast and admittedly odd doodlewash of the little kitchen appliances that you could wind up and they would actually spin, mix, and apparently microwave, but it was really just more spinning as the tray inside turned. I liked these best, but the packaging had large letters that said Gee Whiz, It Works and a photo of a little girl. Other items geared to girls included a cute sewing machine and a vacuum cleaner. If you were, as I was, a boy, your packaging read Oh Boy, It Works and you were supposed to select one of several ugly and less colorful power tools including a drill, a jigsaw, or more disturbingly, a chain saw. Pretending to saw and drill things didn’t seem nearly as fun as pretending to cook a pizza or blend a shake, so I always wanted the “girl” versions instead.
I remember these toys clearly, yet I still can’t remember if I ever actually got one of my own. The packages were so clear that they were off-limits to boys, so I’m sure I would have been too shy at the time to be present when my mother bought them for me. I think I may have ended up with the Gee Whiz, It Walks! Wind-up Poodle instead. This simply had a photo of a poodle and didn’t try to make a determination of the proper gender one should be in order to own one. I’d love to think that much has changed since those days, but walking by the toy aisles today it’s surprisingly similar. Not that I wanted dolls, as I’ve always found them to be creepy, but I did really wanted to play with colorful appliances. That always seemed like a lot of fun!
Truthfully, I’ve always just loved things that were more colorful. Boy colors in toys always tried so hard to be a bit more drab and not too “girly” and it made them less attractive. I loved pink, so I was thrilled in the mid-80’s when Miami Vice came along and made it suddenly fashionable for guys to wear pink shirts. It’s funny to me that manufacturers of clothing in the 1940’s set up these rules of color that didn’t really exist before that. We’ve come to accept them as being truth, but it’s all just a made up notion. Thankfully, as an adult, I can enjoy as much pink as I want and I’m thrilled on the days when my subject calls for a little Opera Rose. I often wonder what life would have been like if these colors hadn’t been pre-chosen for us. We could have grown up loving whatever color came naturally to us and in the end, I’m pretty sure we would have all happily decided that Gee Whiz, It Works!