I have ‘stolen’ this post from my cousin’s blog, because it is a topic that has puzzled me for a long time. Why are toys advertised as gender specific?
I have four boys and each one has demonstrated a ‘feminine side’ for want of a better phrase. They have all enjoyed putting make up on as toddlers or having their nails painted as young boys although as soon as they reach school age, they sadly become more self conscious and are less likely to share their pretty coloured nails with their friends.
All my boys have played with dolls, W in particular owned several dolls, pushchairs and specifically asked for a pink car for Christmas when he was three. At that time in 2001 the only one I could find was a large Barbie convertible in neon pink he was thrilled! When T was four he dressed up in a Cinderella costume at play school and I have a wonderful photo but it was rather spoiled when five minutes later he was in floods of tears because another little boy had teased him about wearing a dress.
If I had had a little girl then I would have been delighted to see her play with lego or enjoy the Star Wars films that her Father and Brothers love. That said I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to resist putting her in a pink dress from time to time. But that is the point I’m trying to make, children should be encouraged to play with whatever they choose, be it dolls or cars, and not what society dictates.
As a mother I would dearly love to see other parents encouraging their children to play with EVERY type of toy and shops leading the way by not displaying so called boys toys and girls toys separately!
In a bit of a diversion from the usual subject matter for this blog I’d like to say just a few words about the gendering of toys.
Why today? Well, today I popped in to our local WH Smith’s shop. For those of you not in the UK, WH Smiths is a chain of newsagents/stationers with a shop on most high streets in the country. They sell toys and games too, the quantity varying from store to store. Today, however, I actually noticed that the toys were divided into those for boys and those for girls.
This is an unsettlingly common practice, and one that a lot of people are trying to change. Why can’t toys just be toys? Sure, you can have sections for construction toys, cars, dolls, domestic toys, and stuff like that, but why do you need to send a message…
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