First off, yeah, I like calling everything a “war on…” I use it in jest to point out how we overuse the term in media.
There is a new article by Ms. Magazine (which I adore as well as the Women’s Media Center) but it’s another article that I don’t 100% get behind. It’s called “Put down that Barbie A non-gendered gift guide for girls”
It pokes at a couple of toys targeted to girls and I wanted to talk about each one as I am a mother of two girls.
Barbie: I can be a Bride Set
I don’t see why this is a bad gift for a girl or sexist. My daughters will find any two toys to marry each other, it doesn’t matter if it’s a stuffed animal turtle and a wooden train they will be married. A few months ago their cousin got married and she wore a beautiful white gown. They said she looked “like a princess.” A few years ago my oldest was a flower girl for my brother’s wedding. Weddings are common in my girls life growing up but they are reminded of it everyday by living with parents who are married. So why not want to act that out in order to understand it. My girls are not pressured to get married. I certainly don’t mind if my daughter’s marry or if they marry in their gender. I just want them to find love that lasts and be happy. P.S. They also have an Barbie: I Can Be President doll.
these are the Lego’s in pastel colors marketed towards girls but still (in some stores) in the Lego’s section/aka the blue isle. We’ve had every kind of Lego since my oldest was born. What does she make? Houses. Who visits? Her Polly Pockets and they have tea. So when Lego came out with the new girl-friendly Lego’s I was excited because when have a huge set of Lego’s that were gathering dust. I love Lego’s because it encourages imagination, dexterity and play. If it takes Lego’s to be pink for my girls to play with them…I’m all for it.
dude, I want a pink vacuum! And you can’t tell me that there won’t be a time when any child grows up and has to vacuum. This is a life skill and making it fun now…what’s wrong with that? I don’t see it as sexist or training your daughter to be a homemaker. It’s giving them a play tool that they will use in grown up life. Plus toy vacuums come in gender-neutral red too.
My youngest wanted the Tinker Bell Kitchen for her 3rd birthday and she plays with it all the time. My oldest gets into the mix by making menus and being the waitress. Each time a friend comes over they are playing with the kitchen set delivering food to stuffed animals and cooking away. It’s a great social activity to attend to the needs of another. My daughters are going to need to learn how to cook, clean and mend clothing like both sexes need to learn to survive on their own.
Make Up Kits
my mother didn’t wear make up. I leaned from magazines with terrible results. I do wear make up on occasion and my girls are starting interest in it as well. I’ve come to realize that they don’t put make up on themselves, they like it when I do it for them. To me this speaks of more of being taken care of than feeling “pretty.” They like it when I give them the special attention of trying on blush or lip gloss.
When it comes to gift giving, I don’t think it has to be gender-neutral (tho it’s nice to have that option) just give them what they want, within your budget. It shows you listen, it shows you care about their interests. The toys you give your children aren’t going to teach them to be sexist or what gender roles they have to play, it’s your job as a parent to show and teach them that stereotypes are meant to be broken and through play we learn the most about ourselves and others.
I didn’t cover skinny or sexy dolls because I talk about it this previous post. Toy Store War: Pink Isle vs. Blue Isle