Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Treasure is for boys, fluff for girls - in the 21st century?

Just in case you thought gender stereotyping was a thing of the past, have a look at this picture which is doing the rounds on Facebook at the moment.

So, if you're a boy, you are told that you should be interested in all sorts of fun things like helicopters, treasure, conkers, bikes, climbing and swimming.

If you're a girl, you're confined to fluff, bunnies, lipstick, butterflies and ladylike activities like skipping and dancing.

I can't believe that we're doing this to our kids when we are supposed to have a modern, equal society. The only person who will take any sort of comfort from this is Mark Pack because chocolate appears on both lists.

We've been through  My Little Pony, the (blessedly brief) Barbie phase and various cute little animal-in-my-pocket stuff. You have to go with where your kids are. But we started from a level playing field where we just put lots of things in front of her and let her play with what grabbed her.

Enforced gender stereotyping harms kids by limiting their expectations. You might remember me getting just a tad furious a couple of years ago when the Early Learning Centre marketed doctors' outfits for boys, nurses' outfits for girls. It's not only bad for girls, though.  I've seen a fair number of dads not just wince but actively express disapproval when their sons play with cloppy shoes and Disney Princess dressing up clothes. Conditioning either way is wrong. Seriously, I actually saw a dad wrest a bright  pink feather boa from his three year old son for fear it would make him gay. That must have been a really fun house to grow up in.

What on earth would be wrong with one packet of magnetic words with all those fun things that just said "Kids' Talk"? Then they could choose for themselves what they were interested in!

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