Boy Toys vs. Girl Toys?

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No, I don’t mean it in that sense.  I mean literally: why so many distinctions between toys for boys and toys for girls?   Let’s even make an assumption with which I don’t really agree: that boys and girls have some innate preferences as to toys — boys liking trucks and girls liking dolls, for example.   (Cf. Larry Summers on his girls turning toy trucks into a “family.”)   Can we still agree that we shouldn’t push gender roles on kids unnecessarily?   For a specific example (the one that’s setting me off on this rant): do we really need to designate certain blocks as being for boys and others as being for girls?

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We were shopping for a one year-old girl’s birthday.   We bought her the “boy” blocks and said a prayer to Larry Summers that we’re not giving her gender identity issues that will scar her for life.

For my daughter’s one-year birthday, a friend bought her a fire truck she can ride that, when you push a button,  plays one of three “firefighter songs”  – a male voice singing about how he’s on his way, etc.   Actually, all three voices are male, which I found troubling because firefighting is such a male-dominated field (in contrast to policing, which has gotten pretty diverse, even though the basic skills needed are pretty similar) that I don’t think it’s a wonderful idea to convey that only men are firefighters.   Ultimately, it’s become her   favorite toy — and she uses it as a truck, not as part of a family, like Larry Summers’s daughter.   So I’m quite proud that Piper Moss aspires to be a firefighter.  (I’m trying to ignore the possibility that I’m interpreting her interest wrong, that her real interest is in being  a “fireman groupie”!)

- Scott Moss

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0 Responses to Boy Toys vs. Girl Toys?

  1. tmcgaugh says:

    Not to mention diapers. Even if one agrees with the assumption that diapers for girls must be designed slightly different from diapers for boys, why-oh-why must the diapers for girls have princesses on them? And why must the diapers for boys have cars on them. My daughter Kate far perfers cars to princesses, so we’ve been willing to forego proper use of the latest in toddler urination technology so she can wear a piece of “clothing” that she’s ultimately more comfortable with.

    Like Scott Moss’s daughter, my daughter Kate also aspires to be a firefighter (although when she says it, it comes out like “fighter-fighter,” so maybe *I’m* misinterpreting and she just wants to be a boxer).

    Tracy McGaugh