“Little boys love to be ‘just like daddy’ and now they can”
What century are we currently living in? I was vaguely under the impression that it was the twenty first, but according to this press release from John Crane about ‘boys’ workbench toys, it seems be the 1950’s.
They’re not the only toy sellers who insist on girls hoovering and boys wielding heavy machinery. The Early Learning Centre are shockingly sexist with their colour coded toys. We know that farms are for boys, because they’re in the blue corner and ironing boards are for girls because they’re in the pink corner.
I don’t think you have to be a radical feminist to think that there’s something wrong with that. For a start, it doesn’t reflect real life. Do dads not push buggies? Can women only be nurses and not doctors? Do all girls dream of a white wedding? Are all men a dab hand at DIY? Of course not. I wouldn’t let my husband within three metres of a power tool, he’d almost certainly lose a limb. So why are children being marketed to in such a narrow way?
I suppose you could just dismiss it as not important, after all, if we as parents are good role models, then our children will learn what is right and wrong. But I think it IS a problem. Children pick up on all kinds of subtle signals about gender, why knowingly reinforce negative ones?
I can clearly remember being horribly jealous of my brother’s Action Man. My Sindy was so wimpy in comparison, with her wedding dress and handbags. Action Man had swivel eyes and a zip slide. No contest. I’d like to think that things have changed a lot since the 1970’s, but I’m not sure they have. Barbie can train as an astronaut these days, but with the BMI of an anorexic, she’s unlikely to get work.
I won’t deny that boys and girls often have different interests. There’s no doubt that my youngest son’s love of trains bordered on obsession for a while, and his sister still likes dolls aged ten, but does that mean that she never liked trains and he could never play with a doll? No. Although he wouldn’t admit to that in front of his friends. Aged five, they’re already so heavily conditioned to think that dolls are for girls that sadly, he would never live it down. Who’s fault is that? It’s certainly not mine.
I want my children to believe that they have the potential to do anything they put their minds to. It’s a shame that toy marketers seem to disagree.