Monday, July 25, 2011

Not my a-Gender

When Harper stopped wearing nappies she was initiated into our tradition of going to Target and picking a packet or two of whatever cool licensed undies you fancy. She chose a packet of Rio ones and a packet of Lightening McQueen jocks.

Now at 2 years old the pouch at the front for the anatomical differences is small so I was completely cool with her choice. Harper is a HUGE cars fan. We went up to the counter and Harper very proudly handed her choices over to the checkout child (truly she looked about 11) and said "dese my new undies. I wear undies. I dot litnin akeen!"

The reply was "oh you can't get these! These are boys undies! That movie is for boys!"

I watched my 2 year old's face drop and I reassured Harper that the undies were for whoever wanted them and there is no such thing as a boys movie. Then I may have ranted just a bit at the checkout child. We took Harper's choices home and I have seethed about it every time I have watched my child run to the drawer and pick her fave "litnin akeen" jocks with a huge grin on her face.
Harper's bed Lightening McQueen and faeries!

I have three daughters so I am growing tired of all of the gender assumptions and stereotyping. There are so many phrases I would be delighted if I never heard again like "ooh she's rough-she can be your boy" and "it must be so nice to not have any messy, noisy boys" (truly-messy and noisy? come to my house at about 5pm). I'm tired of hearing my girls being praised for being "pretty" or that something is a "boys toy" that they would have no interest in. The recent Toy catalogs that were divided into boys and girls sections made my eyes roll to the back of my head. Glowless recently posted about how her son was told he was "too cute to be a boy". Truly.

On the flip side I'm a little concerned about the backlash. Banning pink or avoiding the stereotyped toys altogether even though a child may be interested is, in my opinion, not helpful either.

Don't get me wrong, there are a few "girls toys" that I just will not allow in my house like sexualized fashion dolls, anything that tells my kids that beauty is the most important asset a woman can have and the movie "The Little Mermaid" (give away your special talent and leave your loving family to stalk a man you have never met? No thanks)-but I feel the same way about some of the "boys toys" too. We don't have any guns you shoot at each other or toys based on violent M rated movies like Transformers or Batman.


I try to follow my girls lead. We have a lot of Barbie dolls, Polly Pockets and Ponyville at the moment. We also have a Hot Wheels track, duplo and a train set that get a lot of love. The movie Cars is equally as enjoyed as Tangled. When they play dress ups they often choose the faerie dresses and they sometimes choose the construction helmet and goggles. Pink is just another colour with no more attention payed to it than blue or black or yellow. We have Buzz Lightyear and Tinkerbell pjs.

I want my daughters to know that the world is their oyster and any choice is OK. I don't want them to feel like they are denying their desires towards toys and clothes (with the exception of those I strongly object to regardless of gender) and I want to absolutely discourage the idea that something is either in camp boy or camp girl.

I think there are real differences between the sexes-but I don't think it's up to us to pre define what those things are.

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