Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What's the down side?

When I go into a toy store, I can easily find pink legos, or “girly” science kits, but try to find boy dolls and gender-neutral accessories, and it is a lot trickier. Most boys refuse to play with the pink legos or push the flowery doll stroller, but I don’t believe the reverse is true. Don’t get me wrong, many girls love pink, but I have never heard a girl say that she wouldn’t play with the blue blocks, because those were for boys.

So why do we continue to support a trend that inevitably doesn’t benefit anyone but the toy industry. If we as parents all bought more gender neutral toys, wouldn’t it be easier to encourage both genders to play with a wide-variety of toys, to teach boys and girls to excel in science and in nurturing—giving them both the skills to excel in careers and family life, and wouldn’t we all save money by not buying the pink and blue versions of everything, from blocks to bikes. Siblings could share and our houses just might be a little less cluttered with toys and our landfills might be a little less full. What’s the down side?

- Katie

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is limiting toy choices limiting career choices?

The "PinkStinks" movement, founded by Abi and Emma Moore, is thrilled to see science toys for girls, but they are still striving to broaden play choices. Read about the movement in Richard Gottlieb's blog entry Pink Stinks? The problem with pink: Part 2 and you may ask the same questions that I am.

On what platform would someone resist broadening play choices for girls? The same platform that challenges career choices for them possibly. While we are beginning to accept the hard fought battle for women climbing the corporate ladder beyond previous generations expectations, are we ready to broaden the choices for men?

If we encourage the broadening of toy options for boys, are we then saying we support their decision to be stay-at-home dads? I wouldn't mind hearing the resistance to this argument, because at least then we'd be having the discussion.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Are we selling our sons short?

For awhile now, we’ve been hearing a lot about how girls should have the opportunity and be encouraged to play with blocks, science kits, and other traditionally “boy” toys. The world needs more women scientists and mathematicians, and the way to get there begins with play. That focus seems to be paying off, as more girls are attending university than boys and women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics were 49.83% of the work force in the United States in September 2009. At the same time, I don’t think anyone is actively encouraging boys to play with dolls, toy kitchens, or any other toys that teach nurturance and foster imagination, traditionally “girl” toys. If everyone is exclusively focused on careers, who is going to focus on children and family?

Play really is the foundation of a child’s future, and if children aren’t given a wide variety of choices, they may not find their right path. Additionally, as much as we want our girls to succeed in the sciences, don’t we want to encourage our boys to be caring men and good husbands and fathers. I think it is great all that we do to encourage girls, but I worry that we might be selling our boys short. Doesn’t true gender equality come when all of our children are given the same opportunities in play, in education, and beyond.