Over the Christmas period and present buying frenzy season especially recently with #JasperBean’s 4th birthday. I came across quite a few articles regarding gender specific toys and how these actually make more money for the makers. I have always detested the idea of blue is for boys and pink is for girls. How can colour be gender specific and my dislike for this is noticeable from a very young age as well. When everyone in my ballet class wore pink, I wore a baby blue tutu and leotard! Fact!
After having #JasperBean, the idea of him only playing with cars and building blocks confused me. I don’t understand why it is frowned upon if my boy likes soft cuddly toys or cooking. His most played with toy to date is his kitchen set. And I am proud of the fact that he enjoys it and loves to help me out in the kitchen. He also has 15+ cuddly toys in bed! Shouldn’t we be purchasing toys for children based on their interest, and not their gender? Yes, he is a boy, so he has alot of toy cars, guns, swords and construction. Toys that are stereotypically associated with boys. He loves playing with them, so I haven’t given it too much thought, as these are his interests.
We are normalising Gender Stereotyping
However, since the end of last year, he has developed a slight obsession with mermaids. Specifically the Little Mermaid from Disney after we visited Disneyland Hong Kong. I thought this was rather cute, but have received a few raised eyebrows from friends and relatives. I couldn’t shake off the feeling of “Why is this a problem?”. Just because he’s a boy, does it mean “girl toys” are off limits? It was kind of okay for boys to like Elsa from Frozen because it was such a phenomenon. Everyone knew and liked her, so it was okay. So when it came to other Disney princesses, I can’t help but feel people are thinking. “That’s a girl toy, you can’t play with that, you’re a boy!” and “He’s going to be gay”. What is so wrong about that? Even when people don’t say those words, their reaction is already enough to stir a reaction from me. I don’t understand and I don’t like it. It’s unfair and almost bullying.
We really need to change our perspective and I’m happy to find and promote the fact that there are waves of global campaigns to back this movement. One of these are UK campaigners “Let Toys Be Toys” who want makers and retailers to stop categorising toys based on gender.
Time to change
Toy preferences should be based on the child’s interest, not gender. Toys should bring the child joy, regardless of what they are. I have previously written a few other posts regarding child’s play. “Play is not just ‘Child’s Play’“, and “Educational Toys should be Fun, not just Educational” – I wholeheartedly believe that play develops our children and stopping them from playing with a specific type of toy hinders their growth and development. And why would we do such a thing to our children? Why have we let the money making marketing machine influence us into how we should bring up our kids and what we buy for them? I understand that there are lot of things that are currently unavoidable in society, but isn’t it time that we parents come together and make this change?
Differences increase friction, making it easier to be picked on and bullied. We can change this. Let our kids choose what they want to play with without prejudice.
“In the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.” 1 Corinthians 11:11–12