We try to have gender neutral toys. We have blocks and trains and trucks and puzzles and books that are not specifically pink or "girly." (That's in quotes, because even saying "girly" has a connotation, but one that we all immediately understand.) We also have an abundance of pink and purple and sparkles and princesses. We have a kitchen set and dolls (which we would totally have if we had boys too!). And just, LOTS of pink. It happens, and I have no problem with that, as long as we're intentional to point out that our girls are not limited to these.
I recently watched a video portraying adults being treated with the gender stereotypes we place on children, showing how ridiculous it would be to treat adults in the same manner. "Boys will be boys," we say, when they're rough housing. Girls or women being stern are considered rude, boys or men being stern are "showing leadership skills." Girls=pink. Boys=blue. Period.
In a book I'm reading for a group through our church, the cliche Christian author explains how women are butterflies, flitting and fluttering in the wind, susceptible to the tiniest breezes, and men are strong, stable buffalos, able to withstand 50 mph winds. Why must we paint gender in such concrete, dangerous boxes?
We send our children subtle messages. Girls are "cute" and "beautiful" and we comment first on their appearance before anything else. With boys, we may say they're "handsome," but more often the first comments are about how tough they are, or what great athletes they are, that they are "studs" or "dudes." And we wonder why so many women struggle with their appearance and why men feel such a need to appear "rough and tough."
From an article I read recently: "Past research has shown that strict adherence to traditionally gender-stereotyped toys may curtail the development of certain skills and strengths. Stereotypically-feminine toys foster nurturance and role-playing, whereas stereotypically-masculine toys promote greater mobility and manipulative play. Thus, children who play with a variety of toys and activities may have a wider repertoire of skills and abilities."
I'd like my girls to explore manipulative play, something that encourages creative thinking and problem solving skills. Why should that be limited to boys? And conversely, why can't boys explore role-playing and be nurturers?
|The sky is the limit for my intelligent, creative, quick-learning, fun-loving girl.|
And yes, she's beautiful, too.