Where is Our Kids' Choice in Toys?

The following post was written by Kristen Johnson, the co-founder and owner of “Boy Story,” a young company devoted to producing diverse dolls for all kids. We at Gays With Kids think that her company and its products are of particular interest to gay dads and their kids. 

How often do we wish that the toys available to our kids were as diverse as the world we encounter?  I know I wish it a lot.

As gay dads, you are raising your kids in a diverse environment. Many of you have kids who are a different color from you. Or a different gender. And certainly your kids all have different and diverse interests.  You teach your kids that they are loved no matter what, that different is good, and that they are free to choose whatever life path they wish.

Walk into most toy stores today and that message is destroyed in an instant.  Diversity just went out the window. Cars are in the blue aisle; dolls are in the pink aisle. Oh, and there areblue and pink aisles.

I am not a gay dad. I’m a straight, white mom of two boys, 3 years and 18 months old. But like you, I want my children to know they have a choice in life. They can choose who to play with, what to play with, and how to play. They can choose who to love. This is a lesson that we all teach our children.

When I went to buy my older son a doll, while I was pregnant with my second son, I was struck with the alarming realization that the toy industry has stifled our children’s choice in play. How easy a search, I naively thought as I hopped on Amazon to order a boy doll. I was going to buy my son a little “person” to play with and care for while I took care of the new baby.

But what did I find? About 100 girl dolls. White girl dolls, frills, laces and all.

What on earth was going on? My brows furrowed in puzzlement. Surely there must be some sort of boy doll I can buy. Maybe my search terms are wrong. Hours later, I had found some boy baby dolls, some crazy ugly plastic boy dolls, some adult action figures with huge muscles, and a few outrageously expensive European boy dolls. I ordered the outrageously expensive European doll. A week later I excitedly pulled the doll out of the box. Oh. It has lipstick, blush, and long hair. Seriously, that was the best boy doll I could find.

All I wanted was a doll that looked something like my own little boy. Then I realized that what I really wanted was some choice. Some diversity in the doll market. It doesn’t exist.

I decided to do something about it and started a company called Boy Story to add diversity and choice to our kids’ doll play. These dolls are for all kids of all callings. They are here to add depth to the market and make our toys as diverse as the world we live in.

Let’s break down the barriers so our kids can share the sandbox.

The community support for Boy Story has been overwhelming and heartwarming. Our Kickstarter just flew past its goal. You can be a part of this community today and add your support today – our campaign ends Wednesday. Please do, for all our kids.

We push boundaries all the time. We create the families that we want, with people we love, and raise our kids the way we believe is right. We give our kids choice.

Kristen M. Jarvis Johnson, Co-Founder and Owner, Boy Story


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