This year, two of the girls asked for “weapons” on their Santa lists.
They’d seen commercials and ads for the new Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow and the Nerf Rebelle Pink Crush Blaster; both in perfect “girl colors” of pinks and purples, blacks and turquoise.
With the advent of strong female characters like Merida and Katniss in recent movies such as Disney’s “Brave,” and “The Hunger Games,” it wasn’t all that shocking to us that they’d instantly fall in love with such toys. A bow and arrow, with a female pulling back to aim, was nothing unusual to see, although many years ago such a thing was unheard of.
Being Girl Scouts, my kids have shot a bow and arrow many times at camp. They’re actually quite good at it, and we’ve seen many “bulls-eye” hits between them. They enjoy archery very much and it’s always a favorite activity at camp. It was even part of the physical education curriculum at our middle school for our oldest daughter.
So on the one hand, when I could’ve been shocked that they were asking for these “weapons” along with their dolls, dollhouses and Snap Circuits, on the other hand, I was rather thrilled. I was actually happy that Nerf had come up with “weapons” that were attractive to girls and that let girls do something that’s exciting, active, and sporty, rather than stereotyping those types of activities as being just for boys. I equated this gift item on their lists to them to asking for a squirt gun or a Super-Soaker pool toy, which we’ve never had a problem with.
On Christmas morning, they were so excited to see their Nerf toys among the gifts that had been delivered. They were definitely a favorite choice all throughout the school vacation weeks, even though they’re designed to be outside toys. We have a decent-sized hallway and one of the kids’ doors has vinyl decals in the shape of circles on the door; a perfect target. Being Nerf, the “ammunition” was soft-tipped and completely safe, as long as no one was aiming at anyone’s eyes; a rule we set right away.
Although this gift request was one that initially made me do a quick double-take, it turned out to be a favorite, and I’m glad that Santa delivered. It’s nice to see the girls imitating Katniss and Merida when they play and it’s nice to see them utilizing skills that they’ve learned as scouts. It will be lots of fun to bring these toys outside in the springtime. We have a fenced-in yard and the fence would be an easy target for practicing.
If you have a daughter and she expresses interest in the Nerf Rebelle toys, you too, may hesitate as you consider whether or not you’re “weapons” people, but I encourage you to give it some thought, and maybe give it a try too. You might be surprised as you see your mini-Katniss and Merida characters utilizing skills you might not have even known they had.