Friday, June 27, 2014

Gender Stereotypes and Toys

            Hey folks! I've been doing some online toy "research" recently for an event I'm trying to plan on here for October. Perhaps it was just the particular items I was looking up, but it wasn't long before I couldn't help but notice just how many toys still come in solely pink or blue models. This is something that really bothers and irritates me as I strive to find gender neutral toys for the most part for my daughter. With that being said, I wrote this on my personal Facebook page:

Dear toy companies,

Can we PLEASE quit perpetuating this whole gender specific garbage? As Myka gets older and older, this is something that irritates me more and more. Not only is it ok and healthy for boys to play with dolls, girls to play with dump trucks, and many, MANY other examples, but can't we start using some more gender neutral color schemes in our children's toys as well? It is the 21st century, after all. Let's stop ingraining in our kids that "pink is for girls and blue is for boys". Boys can like pink. Girls can like blue...or orange, or gray, or whatever color they choose. Stop helping to perpetuate outdated gender roles and stereotypes!

Yours truly,
Disgruntled Parent

            For the most part, friends and family whole-heartedly agreed and one stated that this is something that drives her crazy too. However, while I'm sure they had good intentions, I felt like a few of them still didn't quite understand my point by the comments they left.
            One of my family members commented, "So get her the blue stuff." I don't want to get her the blue stuff. I don't want to get her the pink stuff either. I want there to be more color options that don't stereotypically belong to one gender or the other. Better yet, wouldn't it be great if toy companies completely did away with the "blue and pink" business and just made everything in gender neutral colors? In theory, I would think that would be cheaper to produce anyways. Plus, then, hopefully parents like me who have had the "blue is for boys, pink is for girls" nonsense ingrained into them will feel more comfortable and not give a second thought to buying an Easy Bake Oven for their son or the regular colored Legos (NOT the pink, purple, white "girly" colored ones) or a regular dump truck (again, NOT the pink ones) for their daughter. Maybe those aren't good examples, but you get the idea, I think.
            Another friend commented, "You're the mommy. You raise her any way you want. They can't dictate that to you." Valid point. But when you're as hellbent on gender neutrality/equality or whatever you want to call it as my husband and I are, it makes it difficult when your only options are pink and blue. Sure, I could buy a mixture of pink and blue toys if it comes down to it and Myka would never be the wiser as to "which one is appropriate for her gender". However, I want different, better options. 
             I don't know. Maybe I'm just weird. (Zip it. lol) I just don't want my daughter living in a world that's predominantly pink and blue. It may be hypocritical, but of course I still think it's ok to have some "pink, girly things" or "blue boy toys". But with all of the "gender equality" we're supposed to have nowadays, there sure seems to be a lot of toys that show otherwise. 
            What are your thoughts on this? Does it drive you crazy too? Or could you care less so long as your kid is happy with whatever toys he/she has?

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