Monday, January 27, 2014

Gender Stereotypes ♥

 I felt compelled to write this post because as a relatively new mother I find myself constantly battling with gender stereotypes every single day. It seems to be inbuilt into the human mind that boys play with cars, dinosaurs and tools whereas girls play with Barbies, dolls and all things princess themed, I do not buy into this at all and believe that my child can play with anything he so likes. I do not want my child to have limitations purely due to his gender.

I am the mother of a baby boy who I love to dress in baby blue whenever I can, simply because I love the colour on him but does this mean I'm opposed to other colours, some which may be considered 'girls' colours? Not at all, in fact as I type this he's wearing a light yellow and white stripey top. I've bought him clothes which I consider to be gender neutral - little vintage shortalls, a fluffy bunny jacket, babygrows with rainbows, even baby tights, all of which have gained comments such as "aren't they for girls?", honestly who said a baby boy couldn't enjoy rainbows and why shouldn't a baby boy be able to wear a pair of tights? Robin Hood wore tights! To me it's all ridiculous. I would understand if I was dressing my boy in a big frilly pink tutu but even if I did this, so what?! Tyler Lee has been mistaken for a baby girl on more than one occasion, though this may be due to his long curly looks too but does this bother me? No. Is it going to have a negative effect on him? No, he doesn't even understand what these people are saying. Are my clothing choices for him really going to effect him, can someone actually prove to me that dressing him in something with a rainbow on it is going to make him less of a boy? He won't even remember wearing these clothes, he's only eleven months old.

Recently while shopping for Tyler Lee's birthday gifts I wanted to buy him a play kitchen as he has such an interest in looking at what his father do in the kitchen and he's taken quite a liking to the vacuum cleaner and washing machine but his father was not willing to get him one or "not yet" in his words. He couldn't explain to me why? I asked if he thought play kitchens were for girls, he said yes. I think this is also ridiculous! Why can't a boy enjoy playing with a kitchen? What will it do to him, make him want to become a chef, bake cakes? Some of the worlds best chefs are men for God's sake! What makes me laugh even more is that my fiance is the one who always wants to do the cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing, tasks which would normally be considered 'woman's work' so does he not want his son to grow up to be the man he is? I believe that these types of 'parent imitating' toys such as household objects and dolls exclude boys. It's as if the marketers of these types of toys believes that a little boy should shun these types of things in favour of something manlier, that a mans place is not in the home or in childcare. This to me is absolute codswallop, the world is changing and I think people's superficial views also need to move with the times.

I will not force my son or any future children I may have to go through life being conformed to certain things just because of their gender. My baby boy loves to watch me do my hair and makeup, should I not allow him because these things are for girls? I do not want him going through life thinking that he has to like something just because he's a boy, I'd rather he did something he enjoyed purely because he had an interest in it and not have to bow down to gender restrictions which have been placed upon him by society. I know so many people who would be horrified if their little boy picked up a doll and began to play with it, seriously what are they worried he'll become, a father? My baby boy only likes two television programmes, one being called Milly Molly which in my opinion is aimed at little girls but that doesn't mean I won't let him watch it. We as parents should encourage our children to play with as many gender neutral toys as possible and not only encourage it but join in with the play. I have seen gender stereotyping even go as far as to limit how a child should act, people believe that boys should be athletic, rowdy, boisterous and that girls should be prim, proper, sweet little things, for most children I know this is definitely not the case, nor should it be. If my son wants to be the quiet, shy, book reading type then he shall be, I won't be making him play sports if he doesn't want to.

I have no idea who ever came up with gender stereotypes or why they began in the first place but the whole thing is idiotic to me, especially when it comes to children. For me childhood should be about exploration, discovering different things, finding your interests, imaginative play and fantasy, I don't see why my son's gender should restrict any of these things for him.I want him to embrace his interests and be who he wants to be in life, his gender should not get in the way of that. Society is far too quick to judge people for what they are rather than who they are, we should not fill our children's heads with these silly gender stereotype notions, we should let them be who they want and more importantly enjoy being children. It's the only age of innocence they'll ever really have in their lives, why should adults be allowed to ruin this with small mindedness?

Do you agree with my opinion? Is there something you wouldn't let you child do based purely on their gender?




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11 comments

  1. I haven't got any children, but I've always said that I would encourage my child in anything they wanted to do. My little brother used to play with my barbies, and my mum didn't discourage him at all.I work in a retail shop, and last weekend I heard a woman say to her daughter: "No that's for little boys, what about these dollies?" and it just made me angry. I'm pretty sure this little girl was looking at dinosaurs and farm animals...

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    1. That's fantastic, well done to your mother for not discouraging him. It is sad that that mother said that to her daughter, there's nothing wrong with little girls playing with dinosaurs or farm animals.

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  2. I absolutely love this post! Very well said! Although I don't have children yet, I'll be exactly the same when I do.. As long as your children are happy (which your gorgeous boy clearly is!) then what does it matter?!

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    1. Thank you Georgia, I'm glad you liked the post and thanks for taking the time to comment. Exactly, as long as the child is happy then why should it matter.

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  3. I read something recently that went along the lines of "What are you afraid will happen if your son plays with dolls? That he will grow up to be a wonderful father?" Similar to your thoughts on the play kitchen. Gender stereotyping is outdated and it's just ridiculous. I dress my girl in pink...but also in blue! She was wearing a blue dribble bib one day so was automatically assumed to be a boy. So silly!
    Sarah
    naturalmommainme.blogspot.co.uk

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  4. Children should be able to wear and play with what they like! Just today my daughter dressed her Ken in a Barbie dress and Barbie in Ken shirt. My friend didn't want her daughter to be to girly so she refuses to let her wear pink or princesses. I think that is just as bad as enforcing just girly things, their kids let them figure out their interests for themselves! Great post!

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  5. I have always let Sanaa play with what she chose and wear what she likes. She listens to her own music and does what she wants regardless of being teased. She has a little tomboy in her and people tease her saying she'll be gay like me. My little girl just smiles and says, "That's awesome!"

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  6. Great post as usual fi... as a mum of two girls I find most toys are dolls make up kitchens etc. .E loves these toys but also loves dinosaurs, cars, farming toys, building blocks... I notice that C is following in her footsteps, I love watching them both playing with there buzz lightyear n woody toys and having fun with toy's classed as 'boys toys'.. xx

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  7. Great post! When i was a kid i used to love playing with Action Man, and Mighty Max just as much as i loved Barbie and Polly Pocket- don't understand why they should be gender specific they are just toys! Whenever i buy presents for my niece and little sister i always ask what they want and often its toy cars, and dinosaurs just as much as dolls. There's too much stereotyping in the world as it is, kids should just be encouraged to be themselves :) x

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  8. I found your blog through the Let's Be Friends blog hop and I absolutely loved this post! I'm always talking about gender stereotypes. My niece is constantly dressed in blue (she's 6 mos), but most people assume she should be dressed in frilly pink things. It's so absurd to me. I mean colors were not created for specific genders. We are the ones who assigned them as 'boy' and 'girl' colors. And it doesn't make it true. They are just colors. I also think it's great to encourage boys to play with kitchen sets and baby dolls because it's great practice for them as fathers and husbands. Or simply as men able to care for themselves. Gender stereotypes really just need to go.

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  9. Amazing write up. I don't have any children but I completely agree, it's a shame people do gender stereotype so much xxx

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Peace & love,
Fiona
xo

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