Gender stereotyping? Why do we stereotype dolls and pushchairs to be girls toys? Why do we stereotype the cars, trains and trucks to be boys toys? Alfie loves, what some would call, his “boys toys”. He loves cars, trains, trucks, Toot Toot toys, the lot. But he also loves a doll and a pushchair.
Alfie Wants A Pushchair
The three of us went to Toys R Us recently to buy his friend a dolls pushchair as a birthday present. Alfie wanted to push the pushchair, folded and packaged, around the shop. We let him, we paid and we went to leave. I tried to take it off him so he didn’t push it outside and get it dirty or scratched and… all hell broke lose! He screamed, hit, head butted, full on terrible two stropped, all because we wouldn’t give him the pushchair back. So we have decided that he needed one for his birthday.
I’ve got no problems with this. Some people think that boys shouldn’t play with dolls and pushchairs… They should be able to play with what they want to!
Why Do We Stereotype Children?
Why do we stereotype girls toys and boys toys? In fact why do we stereotype at all?
If boys wants to play with a pushchair they can do. If they want to play with a doll in a pink dress and that be their favourite toy, then why not? What are we teaching our children if we say “That’s a girls toy!” or “You can have the blue ones not the pink ones?”
Sian over at Quite Frankly She Said summed it up perfectly for me;
Toys are for everyone! My boys love dolls and pushchairs. They have a “baby” each at home and love pushing them in the pushchairs at playgroups. Once another mum saw my son pushing a doll and said to me, “Oh look, I think he’s trying to tell you something hahahaha!” I said, “Oh yes, maybe he’s going to grow up to be a dad!”
I could not agree more. Our boys will become men, who become dads. Our girls will become women, who become mums.
We should be encouraging this nurturing behaviour, not teaching our boys that they shouldn’t be playing with them because they are girls toys.
What kind of message is this? That they wont be able to play with their babies when they are dads? That mums should be looking after the babies?
I don’t know about you, but I would be horrified if that message was translated! We need to remember that our children are little sponges, they will remember this. We want to teach them to take in the things that matter. To teach them to share, to be compassionate, to learn what equality is, to grow up being the best that they can be.
Toys are toys, they are for fun and should be used as such! Therefore they should not be taught a message that could lead them to discriminate because of gender.
Where Has Sterotyping Toys Come From?
The world is a big and scary place sometimes. Our children could be brought up in a world that we do not like. Some things we will not be able to change. Some things we will.
I often wonder if the older generation had this same problem. It seems that back then toys were gender specific and that’s how it had to be. The times are changing and our opinions are changing with them. I wonder if as the generations go on that opinion will go too? Here’s hoping…
As a result I want the world to be a loving, caring, sharing, non judgemental world. I would love Alfie to grow up being loving, caring and not judgemental. We need to let them be children and let them decide what they like to play with.
I’ve learnt that children see the world so much more innocently, free from our biases. There is such wonder in letting them explore…
Mo over at Adventures Of A Novice Mum puts it in a lovely perspective. Our Children are so innocent and we should be letting them explore what they want to. I love exploring. I love that we can be going crazy with some cars and running around one day and sitting and enjoying a pretend cup of tea the next. That’s the beauty of children. If we let them be free of our biases then we will have the most amazing experiences with them.
Lets stop with this gender stereotyping and just have fun with our children! I mean don’t we all want a happy child who is making us cups of tea from a tea set with a dinosaur?! Maybe that’s just the kind of thing Alfie would do!
What Do You Think To Gender Stereotyping?
What are your experiences of gender stereotyping? Whether it be toys, clothes, birthday parties! Do you make your voice heard? Or do you just get on with it because it shouldn’t be a problem in the first place? Do you feel under pressure to stick to gender stereotypes? Does that mean you have everything blue for a boy and pink for a girl?
With that in mind I’m going to leave you with two things:
2 – Lauren at Dilan and Me – Honest Motherhood was exactly that and honest when she said;
When people tell me something is a “Boys Toy” I usually ask if it’s operated by penis…
Finally, A massive thank you to the lovely people in the UK Parent Blogger’s Facebook group for your comments about gender stereotyping, you are all so helpful and lovely! If you are a Parent Blogger you can find us crazies here!
Mummy Fox xx