Gender specific toys

posted 11 months ago in Secular
Post # 31
Member
716 posts
Busy bee

There are studies showing that most boys will turn dolls into weapons and vehicles and most girls will nurture their trucks and inanimate objects. There are innate preferences, for sure. However, kids are individuals. And it’s ridiculous when kids are given a hard time for not conveniently falling into those buckets. 

It’s annoying when marketers seem to sell by gender. I get my daughter most toys, but I try to keep her away from princesses. I will get her a princess toy if she asks for one though. My problem with princesses and some dolls is there’s too much focus on external appearance, and it’s not something I want to encourage. So many girls have body issues, and they start young!

Post # 32
Member
514 posts
Busy bee

A toy is a toy. Men have babies (why not boys play with dolls) women drive trucks (girls can play with trucks). It’s 2018! I have a boy and a girl and they pretty much have always played with the same things, mostly boxes and sticky tape (making/creating), Lego, bikes, trampoline, playing with insects they find etc.

Post # 33
Member
1967 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

I’m only recently married but when we have kids I’ll be buying them gender specific things. I’m very girly and if I have a daughter, I’ll dress her in dresses with a head band in her hair. I’ll buy her dolls and prams. Also lego like I adored as a kid. We’ll  encourage our kids to play sport. I wouldn’t push my son into doing ballet though. 

 

Post # 34
Member
847 posts
Busy bee

Eh. All I can remember being young is looking at my older sister’s life size doll house my mother made (like a 5 ft house with 3 stories, homemade furniture and stairs, etc) and wanting it! There was never a distinction as to whether it was a “gendered” toy. I just always found trucks and cars were boring and I looooved all my sisters dolls and trolls (she had the best toys 🙊). 

Post # 35
Member
5563 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2018

I remember being a kid and desperately wanting a remote control car and being confused when I didn’t get it from Santa on Christmas day but I got lots of other toys.  A few years later my mum admitted she didn’t want to get me the car because she didn’t want to “confuse” me!  

She must have came around though because a few years later my younger brother always wanted to be like me, have what I had, do what I did.  If we went out and I brought my doll in a pram he insisted on taking my bright purple plastic shopping trolley and pushing a troll doll around in that beside me.  Kids will gravitate to a wider range of toys if they don’t have the idea of boys and girls toys pushed on them. 

The main problem I have with gendered toys is that the toys for boys are fun, exciting or educational and then the toys for girls are kitchens, faux ironing boards, shopping trolleys etc.  I don’t have a crusade against pink, and if a girl wants pink or a boys wants a pink toy they should be allowed.  However I think there needs to be a bigger push to market all toys to just kids, rather than boys vs girls. 

Post # 36
Member
2794 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

To me a toy is a toy. My mum was telling me that my brother had a friend over to play once and they were playing with their Thunder Cats action figures. I was with them and when she walked in she saw me cradling a saber tooth tiger toy and singing to it like a baby. It was a ‘boys’ toy, but I played with it in a ‘girl’ way. FWIW I never really like big dolls, I was more into little figures I could make up stories with.

My son has toys he will like – he is big into red transport at the moment so has lots of buses and fire engines and trains. He loves trains, but then his nursery is at a station so he hears them go past all day long. That said, one of his favourite toys is a bright pink tea pot and tea cup set. He likes pouring tea for us (I mean he is British so we have started him on the tea love quite early) He also loves his doll pushchair and run arounds with that thing everywhere.

 

Post # 37
Member
722 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

techmom :  There are also many studies showing that the language we use towards/about children, and the way they are treated is different for male/female children, starts the minute they are born, and 99.9% of people don’t even realize they are doing it.  So is a difference in play style due to innate differences between boys and girls?  Possibly.  Is it due to the fact that children are unconsciously gendered literally every day of their lives?  Possibly.

We live in a gendered society, and “gender norms” or “gender sterotypes” run much, much more deeply than simply providing your child with “correctly” gendered toys, or colours.  It would take a radical shift in life style, language, and thought, to create a non-gendered, or gender-equal society, and letting your child play with whatever they want is simply addressing ONE of the symptoms, but not all of them, and certainly not the cause.  Sweden is taking steps in that direction, they’ve created a gender-neutral pronoun “hen” that simply refers to a child, gender non-specific.  For example, your child might ask “can I play with hen?” Instead of “can I play with him/her”.  It will be a long time before society changes it’s thinking (conscious and unconscious) though.

Anyways, sociological rant over, bottom line is, provide your child with whatever they want to play with, and they can play with them however they want 😀

Post # 38
Member
2794 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

evilqueenkarly :  I do wonder if one step towards this would be a return to the days when we couldn’t know the sex of a baby before it was born. I am team yellow with my pregnancy and was with my son too. That meant that everything for him from newborn was gender neutral. His nursery is gender neutral, as many of his clothes as possible are gender neutral, his toys are. In fact the only ‘boy’ things he had for a long time were gifts from others.

I find it weird to know in advance and then to go and buy a pink or blue pram etc. Some things do need to be gendered (e.g. his potty training book talks about standing up to pee etc) but you don’t need a pink pram.

At the same time though I worry that a desire to keep things too neutral can lead to inadvertantly saying there is something wrong with being a boy or a girl. That if you are a girly girl or a boyish boy that it is somehow not OK….

Post # 39
Member
722 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

Twizbe :  I don’t want to hijack this thread and turn it into a sociological debate (though I find stuff like this fascinating!), so if I’m doing that, I apologize to everyone!

In answer to your points, what you are describing is the difference between a gender-neutral society, and a non-gendered society.  Physical differences aside (because those will always exist unless the human race evolves), a non-gendered society is one where gender as a construct isn’t a factor.  It’s simply not something people think about, or affects their actions in anyway.  Basically it means that individuals would be free to express themselves however they want with no concept of “boy or girl” (other than physical).  It would just be a continuous and fluid spectrum of gender identity. 

Since we don’t live in such a world, it’s often hard for people to grasp the concept of a truly non-gendered society, which is why a gender-neutral society is the first step.  With a gender-neutral society, the concept of gender exists, but people are free to express themselves how they feel with no judgement (ie a girl could like “boy” things and no one would bat an eye, but they are still considered “boy” things, even though it doesn’t matter if a girl likes them, if that makes sense).

But you’re right, if people couldn’t know the sex of their child before they were born, it would be a step towards a gender-neutral society, since less emphasis would be placed on having a boy/girl and more on having a baby.

Again, this is getting way deeper into the gender rabbit hole than I think the OP intended, so I apologize for side-tracking.

Post # 40
Member
2794 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

evilqueenkarly :  good point about the gender rabbit hole – but very interesting what you say. I didn’t know there was a difference between the two terms.

One last question to ponder (and feel free to PM me your response as we shouldn’t hijack further) Do you think that the physical differences between the sexes will forever keep us trapped in the gender norms society has created. By that I mean because woman have babies and breastfeed they will forever be seen as nurturing where as men won’t?

Post # 41
Member
722 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

Twizbe :  I don’t know that we are truly hijacking, it’s still related to the topic at hand, it’s just going way more in depth than I think was intended or anticipated, so I just wanted to put it out there that if anyone is offended then I can keep it lighter!

I think that to escape the gender norms surrounding physical features, society will have to change their thinking quite a bit.  I mean, if you get right down to it, breastfeeding is simply providing the necessities of life to a child.  It doesn’t have to be “nurturing” exactly, in the way that all you are doing is keeping your baby alive.  Physical differences nescessitate that the female bear the child, but that’s just biology – men can “nurture” their young once they’re on the outside just as much as a female can.  Look at seahorses for example, the males carry the babies, despite the female laying the eggs.  There are also certain types of monkeys were the males almost exclusively care for the young once they are born, since bearing the child takes up most of the female’s energy and health, and in the weeks after the birth they can only focus on keeping themselves alive.

So will women forever be seen as nurturing due to their biology?  Definitely for the forseeable future, but like I said, with a radical shift in thinking that might change.  I think the most important thing to focus on right now, as a society, is the thinking that men *can’t* be nurturing too.  Just because they don’t produce milk doesn’t mean they can’t nurture their young, and as someone mentioned above, a society that shames them for being “weak” is toxic.

Post # 42
Member
742 posts
Busy bee

My son’s two favourite toys on the planet are a big stuffed t-rex, and an Ariel Barbie doll that he brings with him everywhere. Who the hell cares! I’ve never heard anyone make a comment about it, but that’s likely due to the fact that I’m pretty vocal about my opinion on gendered toys. My son also had a hand me down bright pink stroller for years, and magically every person thought he was a girl when he was a baby because of it. It’s just the dumbest thing, it’s not like my infant would prefer to be pushed in a blue stroller!!

Post # 43
Member
2794 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

evilqueenkarly :  very interesting topic and I don’t disagree with what you say. I think I am not as well informed on this topic as I should be / want to be.

For now, I want my son to grow up being him. If he wants to be boys boy great, if he wants to be more feminine great – it is who he is. He is lucky that he has a very hands on dad who is setting a great example for how men can be nurturing. In fact the only thing my husband hasn’t done for our son is breastfeed him. And we will see whether he is getting a brother or sister when his sibling is born.

Post # 44
Member
722 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

Twizbe :  I went to university for psychology/sociology, so sometimes I literally can’t help myself when topics like this come up.  My family always makes fun of me, whenever someone inadvertently uses gender/sex incorrectly infront of me they’re like “oh no, heeeere we go…” 😀

Post # 45
Member
2794 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

macpartyoftwo :  I’m pretty sure that at almost 22 months my son has NO IDEA that he is a boy or what that means. We say things like ‘good boy’ or ‘tired boy’ to him and we have started toilet training so there is talk of being a ‘big boy’ etc. He sees both me and hubby naked a lot so I think he understands that his body is like daddy’s (especially at the moment when mummy has a huge pregnant belly) but I don’t think he knows what a boy is beyond a word we use in relation to him. I might test it soon actually and see if he could point to a girl as opposed to a boy in a book.

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