The issue of gender labeling on toys and clothes has recently been quite prominent in the media. After Target decided to get rid of their “boys” and “girls” section, many celebrated, whilst others hit the roof.
The complaints were made because of the following reasons:
a) They won’t know where to shop.
b) It’s politically correct pandering.
c) Girls and boys like different things.
Here’s the deal… my daughter loves dinosaurs. She loves football, cars, super heroes, sharks and planes. She has no interest in Barbie, or Princess Elsa, but she does like tea sets and fluffy animals.
My step son loves Princess Elsa, baby dolls, fairy wands and princess dresses. He also loves Thomas the Tank Engine, super heroes, cars and guns.
Neither has attributed any of their interests to a specific gender because, despite the beliefs of many, you don’t need specific genitals to play with any kind of child’s toy. That belief comes with adulthood, as children you’re totally unaware.
This morning I went online to buy Miss Rose some dinosaur socks. She’s growing, she needs new socks, and dinosaurs were the request.
Boys Dinosaur Socks. Every. Single. Shop. For socks! In what world are socks sex specific!?
Her Liverpool football shirt was “boys football shirt”. Her various Star Wars, DC and Marvel themed clothes are “boys t-shirts” etc. She has “boys dinosaur toys” and “boys Spiderman dolls” and numerous cars and trains from “boys toys” sections of toy shops. It’s not the fact I can’t buy her what she likes because it has a “boys” label on it, it’s the fact that claiming only boys like dinosaurs and only girls like dolls is downright offensive. And ridiculous. And one day, not yet, but one day my kids will start seeing the labels and could believe something is wrong with them and start to conform, or they’ll believe something is wrong with them for liking things they’re “not supposed” to like. And that is tragic.
So here’s the deal:
a) You shop wherever your kids find things they like to wear or play with. Not where the pink or blue labels tell you they “should” go.
b) Sometimes being politically correct means not being an utter douche. And that’s okay.
c) Girls and boys like different things because we TELL them they do. If girls like dolls that’s great. If girls like trains that’s great too. If boys like Spiderman that’s cool. If boys like Elsa that’s cool too. Some naturally conform to society’s standards, others don’t, and others blur between the two based on purely what they enjoy and nothing else.
The more my little girl develops and expresses herself, the more annoying I find this. She has no gender issues and confidently tells the many people who mistake her for a boy that “I not boy. I girl. I Rosie.” The gender confusion comes from the people who think that because she’s a girl she’s somehow wrong for not wanting to play with the “girls” toys or wear the “girls” clothes.
To those people I say this: YOU ARE MISSING OUT. You are missing out on letting your children develop into the people they want to be because you’re so scared that they will be different that you try and force them to be something they’re not. You are damaging your children. And that breaks both my heart and theirs.
Let toys be toys. Let children be children. And get over it. Not all dinosaurs were boys.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!