Back in May, I wrote a post which makes me cringe a bit when I read it back. It reflected my concern at the time, so I guess I shouldn’t be embarrassed about it, but it does feel very narrow minded and stereotypical which was not my intention at all. I guess the fact that I can look back on it and call myself a prick shows just how little I knew at the time and how much I’ve grown since.
The post can be read here, but as a summary, it pretty much says that I was concerned about having a girl because I know nothing about, and have little interest in, dolls, Peppa Pig and princesses. It went on to hint that life with a little boy would be easier because I’d be more enamoured with the stuff that he’d be interested in, be it Power Rangers, Star Wars, WWF and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Having had time to reflect on what type of parent I want to be since Baby L came into the world, I realise that the above paragraph sounds absolutely ridiculous. Not all girls like typically girly stuff, whilst not all boys are interested in laddish stuff. A girl with a toy train is as natural as a boy with a doll.
However, companies have been guilty for far too long of gender discrimination by targeting particular toys at each sex. With little experience of babies or kids prior to the little sprog coming into the world, I can only think that these companies, along with the media, are the ones that made me so narrow minded and fail to question why a kid can’t play with whatever they want to.
The good news is that more and more people are rallying against these companies. This is all helping to raise the question as to why the exact same toy needs to be pink for girls and blue for boys, or why particular toys need to be categorised as boy or girl rather than gender neutral.
But I find that some people are guilty of the same thing from the opposite side. I’ve noticed that a lot of dads actively push their children into liking the things that they like and perhaps rebel against the usual boy versus girl stereotype to prove a point. It is seen to be cool to have a kid who loves LEGO or prefers to dress up as Spiderman, particularly when they are the ‘wrong’ gender for the product. I personally think that this can be as disruptive as the toy companies who are pushing pink for girls and blue for boys.
My view is pretty relaxed when it comes to Baby L’s interests as she develops. If she wants to be a princess and pretend to bake in her toy kitchen, then she can. If she wants to kick a football and play with Action Man, then she can do that too. I really don’t care as long as she is happy. I don’t plan to push the stereotype of girls like girl things on her, just as I aren’t going to make a point of rebelling against the norm. She can decide.
Anyway, back to a less serious topic. In the old post that I mentioned at the top of this one, the silver lining was that we’d bought a Superbaby outfit for Baby L – a Superman inspired babygrow with detachable cape. She’s now big enough to wear this, so I took great pleasure in putting her in it today and taking loads and loads of photos.
Yes, I know that this is pink. It really has no reason to be. Creating it in pink makes it no less appealing to a kid than the blue and red version which it should be, whilst playing into the wrong stereotype that girls will only like because it is pink. However, despite this, I’ve decided that I really don’t care. The point is that it’s a cute, little novelty outfit for Baby L and that’s all I really care about!
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What’s your view on gender specific clothes and toys? Do you agree, disagree or couldn’t care less? How are you ensuring that stereotypes such as these aren’t holding back or impacting your little ones?