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Parents struggle to find gender-neutral toys

Do you/Would you take gender neutrality into account when buying toys?    30 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you/Would you take gender neutrality into account when buying toys?

    • Yes
      6
    • No
      23
    • I (would) only give girls all sorts of toys, but no dolls for boys for example
      1
    • I (would) only give boys all sorts of toys, but no toyguns or science sets for girls for example
      0

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41 posts in this topic

Or, it just could be that I KNOW what type toys the kids I buy for will actually play with and those are the ones they want... The important thing about a 'toy' is not that it 'educates', not that it reinforces stereotypes or some socio-political engineering of a childs mind... but that it allows the kid to have fun, not get hurt and exercise their imagination... The only research I need to do to select a toy is "does the child like it?" and "is it safe?"....

No, you are still reinforcing a stereotype (stereotypes that sholuld be erased) and socio-political engineering (the way things used to be).

I am all for toys being fun, exercising imagination, and being liked by those receiving them.

It is a sucker's choice if you believe you cannot do all I recommended and still have a toy fall within the parameters of fun, imagination, and well-liked.

The main difference is a cultural one, some simply want to reinforce rigid social gender roles, while others understand that harms others. There is also the difference between anti-intellectualism and intellectualism. Some simply like to ignore scientific studies and rely on their "common sense".

The important thing about a 'toy' is not that it 'educates'

Hope they rank somewhere on your list. There is a difference between toys designed by educators and those designed by marketers although it might be a difference you cannot appreciate.

I have five daughters (all now grown up), and they've had their share of dolls and 'girly stuff', but with all of them, the main theme has been horses, so I suppose that could be termed 'gender neutral'.

Personally, I've no time at all for 'trendy' parenting and firmly believe in allowing a child of whatever gender to develop in a way that equips them for the long journey through life they're embarking on, and not lumbering them with a load of PC nonsense that'll probably be a subject for derision in 5 or 10 year's time!

Horses are definitely marketed, at least in an urban market, more toward females a la Riding Star Equestrian Horse video game and lots of other horsey things. I love horses!!!

Edited by I believe you

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I have a boy and a girl. Something I have noticed since becoming a parent is that it does tend to get questioned or brought to attention more if a boy shows interest in "girl's toys" than if a girl shows interest in "boy's toys".

When my son was 2 he was obsessed with Dora the Explorer, and even had a Dora doll. His dad wasn't bothered by it, but his uncles made a few jokes now and then. Now he can't get enough of Transformers/ Star Wars/ Batman /TMNT etc. One of his best friends is a girl and they have matching Batman backpacks and Runners.

My daughter holds more of a mixture of interests when it comes to toys and I think part of it has to do with having an awesome big brother around who she looks up to. She likes playing with My Little Ponies and dressing up in tutus or princess dresses but will have just as much fun building Lego Starfighters, playing zombie chase games or Transformers.

BTW on the subject of paper tube swords, certain coloured foam pool noodles with the ends wrapped in electrical/duct tape make excellent lightsabers. Much more "hit your sister in the head" friendly than the store bought ones. :yes:

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Horses are definitely marketed, at least in an urban market, more toward females a la Riding Star Equestrian Horse video game and lots of other horsey things. I love horses!!!

I take your point, but one of my brood, many Christmases ago, upon being asked her prezzy preference, shoved a school book under my nose and showed me a picture of King Henry VIII's horse armour with an emphatic "That, please!" Strange child!!!

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People who can make informed decisions and take a comprehensive approach do this. You might not know anyone like this...

When some say let the child pick what they want, if they mean to simply go into the toy section or store and allow the child to pick, well then you are allowing others to pick for you: the corporations who choose what to market including television adverts, the person at the store who decides what inventory to order, and most likely whatever is shiny and junky.

If others want to be lazy and not use discretion that is fine but one should not be fooled into thinking they are truly allowing their child to choose because they are simply deferring their decision to others who are more interested in profit than the well being of the child you are selecting a toy for.

Do the research and if you wish allow your child to choose from a range of toys you have already preselected or from a catalog or shop (learning express) that you trust. As is you are already trusting others. A child might want a certain toy, to watch television all day, or to wear neon to a funeral, a parent has discretion in all these domains, surrenduring that discretion to others might not be the best choice.

I'd hate to be your child. Never having what I want because mom or dad picked out toys for me? Way to stifle your child's creativity and freedom there. When they grow up, they will over indulge in the things you didn't let them do, because you wanted them to play by "politically correct" rules. You will inadvertantly encourage in your child everything that you do not want.

Edited by WoIverine
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I'd hate to be your child. Never having what I want because mom or dad picked out toys for me? Way to stifle your child's creativity and freedom there. When they grow up, they will over indulge in the things you didn't let them do, because you wanted them to play by "politically correct" rules. You will inadvertantly encourage in your child everything that you do not want.

you know, when we find out we are going to be parents, we all think of all the things we can do to make our kids smarter... better.. and the truth is, we cannot.

We can give them 'chances'.. but in the end they even out. My daughter learned to read by the time she was 3 to 4 yrs old.. her first book she read (chapter book) was little woman, and she understood it.. got it.. loved it.. but it did not make her smarter then other kids, it just meant that she loved reading and i gave her the chance to do it at a young age.. by the time she was 10, all the other kids were at same level she was.

you even out eventually, unless you are one of those sheldon cooper like pple.

thing is, we spend so much time wanting to make the 'right' choices.. that we forget that sometimes we can just 'let go' a bit and let the kids make choices.. as long as they are not harming themselves or others (let us face it.. a choice to play superman and jump off a second story balcony is not a right choice to allow).. then let it go.

Toys/games can be 'just for the fun of it', we do not have to always turn everything into a lesson.

Personally, i feel the worse choice we as parents can make is 'making all the choices' and becoming 'helicopter parents'.

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No, you are still reinforcing a stereotype (stereotypes that sholuld be erased) and socio-political engineering (the way things used to be).

I am all for toys being fun, exercising imagination, and being liked by those receiving them.

It is a sucker's choice if you believe you cannot do all I recommended and still have a toy fall within the parameters of fun, imagination, and well-liked.

The main difference is a cultural one, some simply want to reinforce rigid social gender roles, while others understand that harms others. There is also the difference between anti-intellectualism and intellectualism. Some simply like to ignore scientific studies and rely on their "common sense".

Hope they rank somewhere on your list. There is a difference between toys designed by educators and those designed by marketers although it might be a difference you cannot appreciate.

Horses are definitely marketed, at least in an urban market, more toward females a la Riding Star Equestrian Horse video game and lots of other horsey things. I love horses!!!

So let me see if I understand what you're saying when you infer that I am simply reinforcing 'gender roles' and 'anti-intellectualism', because I gift a child with toys they want rather than what some 'educator' says they should want...

Do you really sit there and study every single toy you give to a child, and make certain that it is approved by whatever educator you support, and make certain that it is not marketed commercially - and therefore free of commercialism and all that nasty 'gender reinforcement' stuff?...

Do you monitor your child's play to make certain that they are not engaging in any 'stereotypical gender roles'?

Do you monitor their television exposure to ensure that they are not exposed to any of these evils that you infer that I am to stupid to recognize?

Do you monitor your children's playtime with other children to ensure that they are never exposed to these evils, and only ever exposed to what you wish to brainwash educate them with?

If you answer yes to any of these then I feel really sorry for your children...

Now that I've blown off a bit of steam (yes I was highly 'perturbed' by the tone of your comments directed at mine)

Perhaps it wasn't you're intention to be so condescending and insulting to me and perhaps I am reacting in an overly irritated manner... If so I apologize for misunderstanding your comments aimed at me...

If you did indeed mean it like it sounded then I am doubly sorry for your children....

Edited by Taun
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I'd hate to be your child. Never having what I want because mom or dad picked out toys for me? Way to stifle your child's creativity and freedom there. When they grow up, they will over indulge in the things you didn't let them do, because you wanted them to play by "politically correct" rules. You will inadvertantly encourage in your child everything that you do not want.

You should never bring up other people's children online, you don't know if they have any, if they had any, if they are trying, or any other thing they have not volunteered to you. If they want to discuss those things then that is another matter.

If you had any familiarity with children you will know they do not play with things do they not like. They will set them down. End of story there.

Your line of reasoning assumes one cannot find toys that are both educational and fun. One either has to have never spend time thinking about and desiring both or actually believe that educational and fun are opposites which cannot ever be coupled together. This simply tells me that achieving both fun and education at the same time is a concept foreign to you although if you ever let a child play with alphabet blocks who just stacked them, then that was a good thing.

A basic wooden toy is more valuable than an electronic, complicated one. The more a child can use a toy in different ways, stacking blocks without paying attention to the letters, or color coordinating, making forts out of them, for the even smallest set just inspecting them, throwing them, whatever....this all engages the imagination and other skills.

Of course age appropriateness should always be considered keeping in mind if excites a child (an 8 year old interested in a chemistry set meant for 11 year olds is fine but if too advanced then not) is better than if it bores a child (5 year old not interested in blocks). One toy will get played with, the other not.

There will also have to be a compromise made in our electronic age, but even if they have batteries, use rechargeable.

you know, when we find out we are going to be parents, we all think of all the things we can do to make our kids smarter... better.. and the truth is, we cannot.

We can give them 'chances'.. but in the end they even out. My daughter learned to read by the time she was 3 to 4 yrs old.. her first book she read (chapter book) was little woman, and she understood it.. got it.. loved it.. but it did not make her smarter then other kids, it just meant that she loved reading and i gave her the chance to do it at a young age.. by the time she was 10, all the other kids were at same level she was.

you even out eventually, unless you are one of those sheldon cooper like pple.

thing is, we spend so much time wanting to make the 'right' choices.. that we forget that sometimes we can just 'let go' a bit and let the kids make choices.. as long as they are not harming themselves or others (let us face it.. a choice to play superman and jump off a second story balcony is not a right choice to allow).. then let it go.

Toys/games can be 'just for the fun of it', we do not have to always turn everything into a lesson.

Personally, i feel the worse choice we as parents can make is 'making all the choices' and becoming 'helicopter parents'.

The overall environment will have a greater effect on your child's educational success. It is more important to have your children and their peers all do well together while having involved parents than to just simply have your child alone do better than their peers. One approach is focused on community and the other just a gifted individual. Of course one should always encourage gifted individuals but basically the average child will benefit more when those around him do better.

A rising tide lifts all ships, in other words. Is it as if some say if their child is gifted they will spend more time thinking about the education of their child but once they realize the child is average they just let the system take care of their child, realize you are part of that system too.

We can certainly do better than our parents, it is called progress.

That’s why IQ scores have risen over the last century.

It’s not that people have become intrinsically smarter. It’s that their culture is doing a better job training them in the areas that help people succeed on IQ tests.

And where does this training take place? At school, yes. But other places, too. At home, in books, on television, on the computer, and through exposure to toys and educational games.

<snip>

The creativity and elaborate fantasies that many Westerners associate with child’s play may be a phenomenon of complex, literate societies—societies where “smart” play might improve a child’s academic readiness, and thereby enhance his employment prospects and social status (Lancy 2008).

So—despite the snickers of skeptics who argue that the toy industry is 100% nonsense—it seems reasonable for parents to ask if toys can provide their kids with meaningful educational experiences.

http://www.parenting...s-for-kids.html

I am sure many people do not find it, "reasonable for parents to ask if toys can provide their kids with meaningful educational experiences," as stated above. We are just coming from two different worlds that is all, no biggie, I trust in time we will all be on par with each other. Progress is about direction and not speed, after all.

So let me see if I understand what you're saying when you infer that I am simply reinforcing 'gender roles' and 'anti-intellectualism', because I gift a child with toys they want rather than what some 'educator' says they should want...

Do you really sit there and study every single toy you give to a child, and make certain that it is approved by whatever educator you support, and make certain that it is not marketed commercially - and therefore free of commercialism and all that nasty 'gender reinforcement' stuff?...

Do you monitor your child's play to make certain that they are not engaging in any 'stereotypical gender roles'?

Do you monitor their television exposure to ensure that they are not exposed to any of these evils that you infer that I am to stupid to recognize?

Do you monitor your children's playtime with other children to ensure that they are never exposed to these evils, and only ever exposed to what you wish to brainwash educate them with?

If you answer yes to any of these then I feel really sorry for your children...

Now that I've blown off a bit of steam (yes I was highly 'perturbed' by the tone of your comments directed at mine)

Perhaps it wasn't you're intention to be so condescending and insulting to me and perhaps I am reacting in an overly irritated manner... If so I apologize for misunderstanding your comments aimed at me...

If you did indeed mean it like it sounded then I am doubly sorry for your children....

You are making it sound more difficult and complicated than it is. Being well-read and an informed parent is not that difficult.

As far as the spectrum ranging between intellectualism and anti-intellecualism, only one themselves can decide where if at all they fall on it, change their position if they desire to, or even ignore the spectrum altogether.

Your use of the term brainwash was noted and it does add insight by revealing clear distinctions in our views.

Edited by I believe you

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It freaks me out if a boy tell him mom "mom, please, let's go (girl) shopping!"

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It freaks me out if a boy tell him mom "mom, please, let's go (girl) shopping!"

If they wanted to grow up to be a hairdresser, that's worse.

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My daughter played with 'boy' toys as well as 'girl' toys. She loves to fish and camp, so, as far as I am concerned, she has well rounded choices as far as I am concerned. Why can't girls be feminine and yet still a tomboy? Why can't boys be aware of their feminine side while being masculine? To much has been put on gender roles IMO. Same as now they are not known as an 'actress'...they are all actors. Why can't women be proud of being female, we have two genders, we are not asexual.

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I find that all toys activate the mind hence they are all educational. The latter idea of choice is allowing your kids to make decisions hopefully teaching them how to make the right choices, as in making sure they want that G.I. Joe not because it's a boy's toy and not a girl's toy but for a reasonable reason. Which will help your child in the future more so then making him just academically smarter.

Building blocks are good teaching tools but a G.I. Joe or something similar teaches different things. Action Figures/Dolls based off of marketing are nothing more then tools to allow children to create their own stories with things that the like. Both allow for creation and creativity.

It's not that fun and educational can't happen together, it's that you can find it basically anywhere. (If I see a kid who can't think of a stick to be nothing more then a stick I would get worried regardless of how high their IQ was)

The thing that really matters is just allowing your child to play. What was it all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

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I find that all toys activate the mind hence they are all educational. The latter idea of choice is allowing your kids to make decisions hopefully teaching them how to make the right choices, as in making sure they want that G.I. Joe not because it's a boy's toy and not a girl's toy but for a reasonable reason. Which will help your child in the future more so then making him just academically smarter.

Building blocks are good teaching tools but a G.I. Joe or something similar teaches different things. Action Figures/Dolls based off of marketing are nothing more then tools to allow children to create their own stories with things that the like. Both allow for creation and creativity.

It's not that fun and educational can't happen together, it's that you can find it basically anywhere. (If I see a kid who can't think of a stick to be nothing more then a stick I would get worried regardless of how high their IQ was)

The thing that really matters is just allowing your child to play. What was it all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

I agree to degree and will focus on that. A generic doll in which a child can create a thousand stories is better than a licensed figure that already comes with a character role.

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Ya know, if people really wanted gender neutral whatever, they would just stop caring about what color it is. Why is pink for girls? Why can't a boy play with a pink easy-bake oven? It doesn't seem like they're looking for gender neutrality. It looks like they're looking for stereotypically boy friendly colors on traditionally girl toys.

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I agree to degree and will focus on that. A generic doll in which a child can create a thousand stories is better than a licensed figure that already comes with a character role.

That really depends on the parents and what they teach their kids. If you think that just because somebody has a title or a role and they cannot be more than that then sure a licensed figure wouldn't work all that well. (You are more then your job title right?)

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Ms. Pope's brother should be able to play with a pink Easy-Bake or wear a pink shirt, so this is a mixed-blessing in that while they succeeded in getting a new color for the Easy-Bake they still upheld the color code of gender conformity.

Ya know, if people really wanted gender neutral whatever, they would just stop caring about what color it is. Why is pink for girls? Why can't a boy play with a pink easy-bake oven? It doesn't seem like they're looking for gender neutrality. It looks like they're looking for stereotypically boy friendly colors on traditionally girl toys.

I pretty much said the same thing, so while you probably did not read all the content on this thread I am glad you brought this point up again.

There is a whole history of when the color pink began to be associated with girls and blue with boys and it begins with clothes. One hundred years ago most babies wore white, all white, since it was easier to bleach.

The march toward gender-specific clothes was neither linear nor rapid. Pink and blue arrived, along with other pastels, as colors for babies in the mid-19th century, yet the two colors were not promoted as gender signifiers until just before World War I—and even then, it took time for popular culture to sort things out.

For example, a June 1918 article from the trade publication Earnshaw's Infants' Department said, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” Other sources said blue was flattering for blonds, pink for brunettes; or blue was for blue-eyed babies, pink for brown-eyed babies, according to Paoletti.

In 1927, Time magazine printed a chart showing sex-appropriate colors for girls and boys according to leading U.S. stores. In Boston, Filene’s told parents to dress boys in pink. So did Best & Co. in New York City, Halle’s in Cleveland and Marshall Field in Chicago.

Today’s color dictate wasn’t established until the 1940s, as a result of Americans’ preferences as interpreted by manufacturers and retailers. “It could have gone the other way,” Paoletti says.

So the baby boomers were raised in gender-specific clothing. Boys dressed like their fathers, girls like their mothers. Girls had to wear dresses to school, though unadorned styles and tomboy play clothes were acceptable.

http://www.smithsoni...aring-Pink.html

Color-assignment based on gender is not a steady phenomenon either, it comes and goes in waves. In the 1960's the strict gender roles of society were questioned and gender-neutral clothing became popular again, remaining so up until as little as 30 years ago. The change according to this article is one of marketing, the popularity of ultrasound, and shifting attitudes.

Gender-neutral clothing remained popular until about 1985. Paoletti remembers that year distinctly because it was between the births of her children, a girl in ’82 and a boy in ’86. “All of a sudden it wasn’t just a blue overall; it was a blue overall with a teddy bear holding a football,” she says. Disposable diapers were manufactured in pink and blue.

Prenatal testing was a big reason for the change. Expectant parents learned the sex of their unborn baby and then went shopping for “girl” or “boy” merchandise. (“The more you individualize clothing, the more you can sell,” Paoletti says.) The pink fad spread from sleepers and crib sheets to big-ticket items such as strollers, car seats and riding toys. Affluent parents could conceivably decorate for baby No. 1, a girl, and start all over when the next child was a boy.

Some young mothers who grew up in the 1980s deprived of pinks, lace, long hair and Barbies, Paoletti suggests, rejected the unisex look for their own daughters. “Even if they are still feminists, they are perceiving those things in a different light than the baby boomer feminists did,” she says. “They think even if they want their girl to be a surgeon, there’s nothing wrong if she is a very feminine surgeon.”

http://www.smithsoni...html?c=y&page=2

There are more reasons for the cultural shift. In the 1970s look at the way NBA players dressed, very short shorts, something most men just two decades later would consider feminine and not masculine at all.

Michael Jordan in the 1980s would introduce the baggy look of over-sized shorts and jerseys. From there it spread into every sector even with the introduction of Dockers and other comort-fit clothes.

Rap itself went from entertainers wearing form-fitting fashionable clothes as in

to the sagging pants, huge shirts and jackets introduced in the era of gangster rap that began less than a decade later.

Also in the 1970s we had disco which promoted social equality, looser attitudes on sexuality, and was a more feminine genre overall. As soon as John Travolta made Saturday Night Live, that not only signaled the height of popularity for disco, it also meant the marketeers got a hold of it and disco had no where to go but downhill.

Just a few years later this shift was solidified when John Travolta made Urban Cowboy. Disco was indeed declared dead and punk rock and hard core were now being marketed to the masses. Out with feminine expressions of love and relationship and in with masculine displays of anger.

Tom Ford also said this, during frightening times, of war, and economic recession, people tend to use bulkier shoes, vehicles like SUVs, so fashion overall begins to act as some sort of armor. When times got better out came Tom's shoes, skinny jeans, smart cars, and softer emo music.

The past three decades saw a huge shift into uber-masculinity and femininity before we began to reverse course in the mid- to late 2000s.

Before one could be masculine or feminine but not both at the same time, even the homosexuals of the era would decide to be more masculine or feminine. This is why modern youth to a degree reject labels such as straight-gay-bi because they are all based on the gender binary. To them it doesn't matter, the lines between genders are breaking once again.

So mostly all the choices we make regarding color, cut, and style are not just personal preference but choices which are also informed by current political environment and market conditions and forces.

Pink or blue?

Pink and blue as the most popular colors is not the way we have always done things and it can change again. We are going through a cycle where there will be another backlash against these colors as there was in the 1960s.

As is it is understood that it is socially acceptable by many for girls to play with both male and female toys but not as much for boys to do the same.

In general the toys most associated with boys were related to fighting or aggression (wrestlers, soldiers, guns, etc.), and the toys most associated with girls were related to appearance (Barbie dolls and accessories, ballerina costumes, makeup, jewelry, etc.).

<snip>

We found that girls’ toys were associated with physical attractiveness, nurturing, and domestic skill, whereas boys’ toys were rated as violent, competitive, exciting, and somewhat dangerous. The toys rated as most likely to be educational and to develop children’s physical, cognitive, artistic, and other skills were typically categorized as neutral or moderately masculine. We concluded that strongly gender-typed toys appear to be less supportive of optimal development than neutral or moderately gender-typed toys.

http://www.naeyc.org...nder-typed-toys

This translates into girls being allowed to develop more skills while boys are being limited. Notice how "girl's toys" are associated with nurturing. We have been raising whole generations of boys that simply do not understand how to nurture, that if they exhibit signs of doing so, they will be harassed for gender non-conformity, by their peers and even adults.

Is there a reason why more mass shooters are male? Why do most mass shooters, at least stereotypically do not look very masculine if we define it as rigid jaw, solid frame, pro-social and friendly attitude, basically All-American, yet the shooters who do not fit this look, some even having longer hair, more lankier, not as social, go out and commit an ultimate expression of masculinity? There is a discord.

Does it begin with how we treat and limit our boys? I have seen no studies to this effect but am interested if there is a connection.

We need to eliminate disgusting attitudes by adults who frown on a boy asking to go shopping or desiring to be a hair dresser. There is nothing wrong with these children but there is much that needs to be changed among adults who would reinforce their bigoted view of the world onto our children.

Edited by I believe you

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I remember that I was 2 or 3 years old or something, and I had gotten a doll from my mother, one she had made herself. It was a 'gypsie doll', a brownish girl with long curly black hair, black eyes, a long red dress and a red headscarf. I would never leave it alone, and they had to pull it from my hands.

The only 'side effect' was, that I happen to prefer.... :-* ..... women with a tan and long, black hair and dark eyes. So many were (part) SE Asian, Hindu women from Surinam, I almost married a mestiza in south Peru, a part native American from the Dutch Antilles, and, and , and....

There were also a couple of blonds.

+++

EDIT:

LOL, I didn't even realize it, but I closed my browser, and who showed up on my desktop? Moon Bloodgood ("Terminator Salvation").

.

Edited by Abramelin
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