On the eve of Kiki’s birthday I popped onto my Facebook page a comment about how I was trying to find a lovely doll to gift her for her birthday.
I mentioned it because I was finding dolls that were ugly and freaky looking – think Chucky Baby Dolls – or worse, realistic life-like weeing, pooing, whining ones.
I need fake wee in my life like a need fake chest hair.
I asked if anyone had any gift suggestions for my darling.
I had a suggestion of the Steiner Doll Without A Face (apparently that way the child can fill in the details), or hand making something sweet.
Then, one of my peeps responded that I ought to get her something else, and that she’ll be pushed in to feminine/maternal stereotypes soon enough by society.
Wait until she asks for it.
Oh. Shit balls. Really???
I didn’t have a Plan B for her birthday. Now what was I supposed to do?
I’ll tell you what I did….I got her nothing, but that’s because when I went to the fancy schmancy doll shop the only one that I thought wouldn’t give us all nightmares was $150, but I digress.
Are dolls un-pc these days?
Would I really be setting back the feminist movement if I was to buy her one?
Of course, I completely see what she’s saying and on some levels, I agree. I would never wish to push my daughter into gender stereotypes. That would be terrible.
Is it perhaps a little cerebral? Or am I thoughtless?
The kid likes dolls. She also likes sticks and cars and chewing on shoes if you let her.
To my reader’s defence, I worded it as Kiki could have a doll instead of D Man’s trucks to play with, and perhaps I should have said as well…. so let’s not make this about that particular comment, but about the theme in general.
I was surprised how my baby boy was drawn towards cars and trucks and planes. I gave him non-gender specific toys initially. Not because I planned it that way but because most toys for wee bubbas are fairly non-specific.
His best-friend is a rat called Ratty, but as he evolved from a blob to a baby, he loved machines like a fat kid loves Smarties (also un-pc, a thousand apologies).
Time and again, he was drawn to cars, trains, trucks etc until I bought him some machines to smash and crash and cripple my bare instep.
Whether it is right or wrong, it appears that gender-role development, and acquiring a gender identity, actually requires gender-role stereotyping. Yes, this stereotyping is often over-generalised, but it is what it is, and this is how we develop.
My daughter plays with cars and trucks, because that’s what we have……Had my son been born second he would have played with whatever was in the house too.
Kiki also lives in her brother’s hand-me-down clothes. We have been given lots of dresses and girly things, but the majority of our wardrobe staples are fairly masculine. She has not really been exposed much to ‘girly things’ and yet at a friend’s house recently she wanted to play with the dolls.
Even at such a young age, there are major intrinsic differences between boys and girls. It’s inherently in many children. Of course, they’re still very young and there is cross over. Children become most inflexible about gender roles at about 6 or 7 by which time children understand that gender is a constant and cannot be changed, according to some info a child psychologist friend of mine sent when she saw the discussion.
D Man loves his toy kitchen, tea set and painting his toenails….. is that gender inappropriate?
If pushing one way is creating gender stereotypes, is repelling also doing the same?
Would not having dolls or trucks in the house be making a statement much louder than I need to?
Or only giving toys when they are requested to ensure we’re not pushing anything onto our kids? Maybe that’s the way?
I don’t have an answer, I haven’t studied the matter further than reading a little into it but it brought up a lot of questions, and maybe an argument or two, up at the Holsby Bar & Grill…. until someone solved the entire matter and bought Kiki a doll that she delights in cuddling.
What do your kids play with? Are they drawn to gender specific toys?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about gender specific toys, or politically correct play things….. but please remember to keep it kind.
Hooking up with EssentiallyJess because I blog on Tuesday.