The other day I saw a headline that took me aback: "Gender Stereotypes Confuse Parents Buying Toys at Christmas." I thought, if you’re a parent, and you’re confused about what your kids want, try having them write a list to Santa. Or you know, asking them or, even better, paying attention to their activities and likes and dislikes.
This isn’t hard, people. Kids like what they like, and this whole notion that I should be buying my daughters less pink stuff because somehow pink is oppressive and they’ll be victims of the patriarchy for-evah is ridiculous. Equally ridiculous is the idea that I need to get them boy toys in order for them to “break the mold.”
I’m imagining someone trying to explain to my girly-girl daughters that they may never get the chance to go to outer space, or be a doctor, or run a company if they play with dolls now. Dolls with pink ballerina tutus that drink pretend tea out of little flowered saucers. I’m imagining my daughters not being fazed and responding, “Of course I can be anything I want when I grow up, didn’t you know?”
Oh my gosh, wait until some of these people find out that my daughters like to play house sometimes, and they even like to pretend to be mommies! The shock! The horror! Because as we all know, little girls that pretend to be mommies might grow up someday to (gasp) become mothers themselves, and we all know that life ends once you push a baby out of your body and into the world.
I better get on top of this toy situation and get them some boy toys before I lead them to believe they’re not worthy of pursuing whatever career they want. What should I get? Should I trade their Lego Friends for the ‘boy’ versions? Do they need blue bikes instead of pink? Actually, my youngest daughter’s bike is blue, but since it’s Cinderella-themed, I’m going to guess that doesn’t count.
If my daughters wanted boy toys, I wouldn’t insist they stick to pink and sparkles. I’d let them have the things that they wanted -- and I sure as heck hope I wouldn’t obsess over them not being girly enough. I hope that I wouldn’t worry that they felt like they had to pick blue to prove that they can keep up with the boys.
I hope that if my daughters wanted dinosaurs instead of dolls, I wouldn’t worry that they felt like they had to make that choice to be seen as non-girly and therefore not weak. They’re awesome girls and will be strong women someday, not because of the toys they played with as kids, but because every day they’re being taught to go and do and build and imagine and create, regardless of what kinds of toys they do it with.
Toys are toys -- can we please just let the kids play?
Do you worry that girls might be playing with 'boy toys' because they feel like they have to?
Image via Laurence Vagner/Flickr