Blue and Pink

When you spend a lot of time online you inevitably run into stupid articles with stupid headlines about stupid issues trying to make them into something not-so-stupid for the sake of pageviews. Stuff like, “Is Email Dead?” Because no, it’s not. No matter how popular texting is. Don’t be stupid.

One issue that comes up a lot in the world of parenting online is toys and gender. There are people who take it too seriously. There are people who think it’s not worth talking about. But every parent has an opinion on it and it seems like there’s a new article going around every week.

E and I were talking about it recently. He’d read an article and was telling me how it fell into the Stupid category. I told him, “To an extent, I agree. Gender and toys isn’t an important issue the way economic policy is. But you never go to the toy store. You don’t know what it’s like there. Trust me.”

I doubt I convinced him but he didn’t argue with me.

And then he ended up needing to make a stop at the toy store. When he came home he admitted I’d been right. Nearly every aisle was pre-programmed as Girl or Boy. “I didn’t want to go down the pink aisle,” he admitted.

We’re lucky that Graham is too young to understand gender expectations. He likes what he likes. Cars, trucks and trains are big. He has stuffed animals. Recently two of his favorite shows to watch are Mater’s Tall Tales and Angelina Ballerina.

Sure, it’s not world peace. But I do worry about the society of the playground where kids get teased for liking the wrong toy or wearing the wrong clothes. The smaller toy stores are doing a better job of having toys of all kinds all together and avoiding brands that are pushing the gender issue too hard.

I’m hopeful Graham has inherited some of the “Whatever” attitude his parents have about such things. We weren’t exactly the kids on the playground who always had the right toy or the right clothes. And we didn’t really care much.

Maybe it’s not the most important battle I’ll fight as a parent, but I’m still putting some effort into it.

What about you? Do you think the boy/girl toy issue is something people make too much of or is it your rallying cry?

4 Responses to Blue and Pink

  1. Lacey Bean says:

    I get so annoying going into toy stores and seeing the “boy” aisles in bright, primary colors, and then the “girl” aisles are done up in purples, pinks and sparkles. So annoying. Don’t even get me started on the “girl” legos they came out with last year. Sadie will have regular legos, unless she asks for the girly ones. Even now, yes she has some girl specific toys, but everything else we try to get gender neutral. Her favorite toy? A remote control, and a blue ball.

    • Jess says:

      It’s funny with the little ones. They like what they like. And covering it in pink or blue doesn’t really do anything to influence that. I wish the rest of it worked that way and hopefully it’ll move in that direction. I think the Girl Lego backlash was strong enough that toy companies may pay more attention…

  2. Tricialo says:

    I think it’s a really important issue. This type of stereotyping could be brainwashing children and impeding their development. Research shows that the way we play influences our brain development, pushing certain toys onto each gender is wrong; to be well rounded children should play with a variety of different types of toy. The biggest detractors of toy campaigners generally suggest that the genderisation of toys is not important. If that’s the strongest argument against it, then really, what’s the problem with changing things and opening up all toys to all children instead of restricting them? Why dismiss something that could lead to great things and at the very least would be harmless?
    Tricialo recently posted..Deaths in 2012 – a feminist perspective

  3. Stimey says:

    It’s interesting too, because everyone is all, “I don’t care what he plays with, but I don’t want him to get teased.” I’ve said it myself. Why do we all buy into that? It seems circular.
    Stimey recently posted..Project Stimey Update #1

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