I am going to step away from Green Life for a post to discuss something important to me. Gender Neutral Toys. With Christmas just a ways away I have decided to address this subject. We have always tried to avoid gender specific toys with our son and instead let him play with whatever he likes. He loves dinosaurs but he also loves his play kitchen. He loves swords but also loves his baby doll and shopping cart. He loves super heroes but also loves tea sets. He is a very happy kid. Yet whenever we go to find him Christmas or birthday gifts I am shocked when walking through the toy departments now that he is getting older because unlike baby toys which are mostly gender neutral to begin with toddler and children toys are not. Suddenly your child hits an age where he/she must choose between pink cooking and cleaning toys, pink musical instruments, and pink baby dolls and teddy bears or camo machine guns, violent looking action figures, swords, axes, or trains and cars in very blue packaging and clearly for boys only.
We were walking through Big Lots yesterday
(but every store is the same.. Walmart, Dollar General, Family Dollar,
Target.. etc) and the "girl' aisle had all the cooking, pretend play and
mommies helper toys, for example kitchens, pots and pans, vacuums, tea
sets, play food, and everything was pink
or purple or had the words "Girl power" written on them. Even the art kits all had pictures of girls on them or were pink. The "Boy"
aisle had toys machine guns, everything camo, dinosaurs but only ones
with big scary teeth or fighting dinos, trains (which that's ok but
girls can play with Trains too) swords, action figures, and basically
just death, destruction and violence. Then there is an aisle of board
games, science kits, and puzzles. Most toy departments are set up the same, always baby aisle, boy aisle girl aisle, puzzle aisle, but I was in shock at Big Lots because it was more overt than
usual. The girl aisle was a sickening wash of pink (which by the way what if a girl doesn't like the color pink?) and the boy aisle was
completely camo. Are we honestly still trying to teach little girls
that they need to know how to cook and clean, and sending boys to war.
Those toys had a purpose in the 30's and 40's to help set up a world
where boys wanted to protect the country and go off to war and girl
would be left behind to keep the home fires lit. We haven't been there
for almost 100 yrs so why are toys still there?
We have had luck with keeping our son's toys gender neutral but to do so we have stuck to mostly educational toys, and shopping online where you have more options.We have had to order the majority of his gifts for the last few years on Amazon.com or simply make them ourselves. His playfood for example was crocheted by me.
So I have this to say to toy
manufacturers.. Boys like to pretend play.. they like to cook, and clean
and even yes play with baby dolls... and guess what girls like dinos,
trains, and cars. Not every car toy needs to say something about being
powerful or macho and not every play food set needs to be pink. STOP! This Christmas try and look at your child's gift list especially if they are still very young and maybe delete some of those very gender specific toys. If we as consumers stop buying these toys, the toy manufacturers will stop trying to brainwash our children.
I started this blog 9 years ago. I knew I wanted to be a Green Mom. Now a decade later I have realized motherhood is much more. Am I still the Green Mommy? Yes, but our lives are much bigger than that and I want to write about more than that. So welcome to The New Green Mommy.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Gender Neutral Toys: Keeping Commercialism From Raising Your Children
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