Home-decorating dreams?

Hasbro's Rose Petal Cottage gives little girls a chance to live out their housewife fantasies.

Published October 16, 2007 2:20PM (EDT)

Hey, parents -- when you go to the store to buy a present for your little girl, do you feel like there's something lacking? Like, I don't know, a muffin pan?

A reader just tipped us off to the latest in 2007-meets-1955 children's toys: Hasbro's Rose Petal Cottage, a pretend house where little girls can make all their housewife fantasies come true. Its tag line is "Where dreams have room to grow," which I suppose could make sense, provided that dreams don't mind sharing space with laundry machines, baby cradles and aprons.

But if space seems tight, don't worry -- according to the commercials, one of the best parts of the Rose Petal Cottage is that it gives your little angel a chance to practice her home-decorating skills. I'm not kidding. Click on the video link, check out the one called "Dreamtown for Moms," and watch as the toddler rearranges her sofa and crib, presumably to make room for a teddy bear muffin party.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't encourage kids -- both boys and girls -- to dream of having their own homes, families and baking sets. I'm just surprised at how unabashedly anachronistic this one seems -- I mean, couldn't you balance out the scene of her doing laundry with a shot of a pretend computer? Or a desk? Or maybe, I don't know, a book?

In the commercial called "Dreamtown for Kids," an overly enthusiastic singer croons, "I love when my laundry gets so clean/ Taking care of my home is a dream, dream, dream!" If I were writing the lyrics, my next line might be "Rose Petal Cottage is so pink, pink, pink/ As a toy for girls, it stinks, stinks, stinks!" But even if you think that analysis sounds harsh, you've got to agree that there's something a bit ironic about showing a little girl putting laundry into the dryer as the narrator describes Rose Petal Cottage as a place where she can "contain her imagination." I couldn't have put it better myself.

By Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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