Gender Stereotyping in Children’s Toys
Blog,  Toys

Gender Stereotyping in Children’s Toys

I mentioned last week that Bink loooooooves Dora. He just can’t get enough of her. Which is fine.

My problem comes from the fact that almost everything on the market with Dora slapped on it is pink. Or purple. Or covered in sparkly flowers. It’s not that I even care if Bink wears sparkly pink Dora shirts to the playground–it’s the way that other children and parents seem to approach any indication that something a little boy is doing isn’t masculine.

I have no problem with Bink being quirky. I love that he knows exactly what he likes and he isn’t afraid to tell you all about it.  For example, this week Bink wore cowboy boot slippers to daycare every day and wanted the giant stuffed Dora Christmas decoration that Grandma bought him for our living room to sleep in his bed. Quirky is cute, but for someone reason if the quirky traits resemble something feminine people get bent out of shape.

I feel like this fight started in my mind around this time last year. I bought Bink a small play kitchen set for Christmas, which I thought nothing of. Except I got a few comments about why was I buying my son a girl’s toy. Apparently only girls cook.

 

Bink’s and his best friend, Dora

Bink loves his little kitchen because he gets to be just like Daddy. Hubby does 99.9% of the cooking in our house and what little boy doesn’t want to be just like his Daddy?

Then Bink started wanting to play with K’s baby dolls. So my Mom bought him his own “boy-ish” baby doll. Which, let me tell you, wasn’t easy to find. Instead only being pink and purple and sparkly, this baby is pink and green. And Bink loves her. He carries her around, sleeps with her at times, and is very proud to feed her a little bottle. But I’ve gotten the same kind of comments about babies being girl’s toys. Apparently only girls raise babies.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to start teaching these little rough-and-tumble boys when they are small that Daddies take care of babies too. Why would we want to teach them that caring for your child is only a girl’s job?

I’ve never told Bink that he couldn’t do something because it is only for girls. I’m sure he’ll get enough of that from the outside world, he certainly doesn’t need to hear it from me. Bink has played with my make up brushes, he’s worn K’s headbands, and if he asked me for a hot pink sparkly Dora shirt to wear to daycare, I’d buy it for him in a heartbeat.

So far, Bink hasn’t brought up wanting one and I’ve gone on a search for something more “gender neutral” for him to wear. Not because I care, but because I don’t want to turn my fight against gender stereotyping into Bink’s fight, unless it is something important to him. Even if in the moment it is as trivial as something “girly” he wants to play with or wear.

Wife. Mom. Photography junkie. Join me as I try to capture motherhood through the lense of the camera.

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