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The author emphasizes that gender-stereotyping is detrimental and there should be no ‘pink and blue’ demarcation when it comes to raising our children.
I enjoy shopping for toys- sometimes more than my son. It amazes me to see so many different toys kids get to play with these days- so much variety- which sometimes makes the buying decision so very difficult for parents.
Yet another aspect that astonishes me even more, is the gender division of toys.
It was sort of nauseating and disorienting for me to walk through the girls’ toy aisle to see it to be filled in PINK!!!
These are such sexist toys .The girl’s section has kitchen toys, dress the barbie sets and ice cream maker or mini oven sort of toys to play with. The boy’s section has monster trucks, Star Wars action figures and building blocks etc. Seriously? This sort of gender division is scary. I am using the word “scary” on purpose here.
Children have impressionable minds , the toys they play with tell them a story , teach a little bit about our society and also say who they are and what they are growing into.
So, reinforcing such gender stereotypes in those young minds can only become detrimental to the society.
To many parents the categorization of toys into masculine and feminine categories that marketing hoaxes reinforce seem natural , they seem to believe that this simply reflects the social reality.
However unintended it might be , all these convey a strong message. Parents don’t realize that they are telling their daughters she will enjoy playing with her toy kitchen because that is really what should come naturally to her or they are forcing their son to “Man-up” as he plays with construction toys.
Boys and girls need exposure to a variety of toys that will help them to develop their motor or problem solving or social skills.
We as parents have a huge responsibility here and we need to be conscious of gender bias that is unfortunately hardwired into our brains, especially when interacting with our young children.
By passing on these gender stereotypes- that we have grown up watching- to our kids we are limiting their opportunities, restricting them from discovering their talents. When we buy toys or even read a story , a doctor or engineer can be a he or a she !
As parents we should not discourage our sons from crying once in while or being gentle and caring, nor should our daughters be taught not to be tough and assertive.
Instead, we should prepare our children for this world by imparting confidence and a sense of empowerment, regardless of gender.
My 18 months old son while playing with his tractor, refers to the driver as Akka ( which is female and means sister in my mother tongue).
I am really happy it is Akka for him, it is refreshing. A little part of me is indeed proud of him.
Image Source: Pexels
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