I have written on a few occasions about gender stereotyping when it comes to toys, films and activities for our children. I am 100% behind toys being gender free.
As parents I have often wondered do we influence what toys our children play with because of our own likes and dislikes from childhood? After all our children as they grow up are like sponges and hear everything we say, and without question mimic us. Above all things though, they trust us completely and without reservation. So if I was playing call of duty on the Xbox would they then think that’s what I want to do? My son who is now nearly eighteen years old saw me play Xbox with a passion, so I was not surprised when he became just as obsessed as me.
I also had a conversation with him about girls playing online and his response was that girls very rarely play online. It’s a male dominated platform. This didn’t really surprise me to be honest. If you go into your local Game store it nearly is always full of boys and men. There are very few, if any, girls and women, proving without question that gaming is a male dominated hobby.
Growing up my favourites were Batman and Scaletrix. These are traditionally toys for boys. Certainly in my childhood, girls would never have played scaletrix or watched Batman, but thankfully times have changed and it’s ok for girls and boys to play with any toys they want. If they like them, then why not?
My wife has an obsession with Beauty and the Beast, and has done since she was a child. My four year old twin girls definitely now have a massive liking also for Beauty and the Beast. Would this have been the case had my wife not loved the story so much? Had she liked Cinderella with the same passion would they I have loved Cinderella in just the same way? I think they would have because we’re influencing them with our own likes and dislikes.
I see online on a regular basis girls that are obsessed with Star Wars and Superheroes, and that’s absolutely fine. but on closer examination I discover that so often the parents of said daughters usually have a similar obsession of Star Wars or one or more superhero. I wonder if these young girls would be that interested in Star Wars or the latest superhero if they hadn’t almost grown up from toddler stage seeing it all around them all the time? Are these parents unconsciously influncencing their child’s choice?
Nowadays it has become the norm for toy makers to start making toys for women and girls in a much more empowered way. Yes, of course that’s great and it’s right and long overdue, but it’s also toy makers cashing in on the flavour of the day. Will it eventually die away or will they become an important part of our society? Time I’m sure time will tell.
My four year old twin girls are very different in their likes and dislikes. I would like to think they have not been influenced by us their parents into the types of toys they like, but you just never know.
They have picked what they like and it just so happens that one of my four year old twins has a preference for superheroes and the other princesses. Although they can also like exactly the same toys because they mimic each other’s tastes. Which is interesting to watch as they grow up. R who is definitely more a superhero girl recently has been at ease with barbie, whereas M has always been a barbie girl but of recent times loves poison ivy and supergirl.
As I said we allow our four year old twin girls to enjoy all toys, whether these are predominantly seen as boys or girls toys.
As adults are we influencing our children’s choices in what toys to play with? Because it’s cool for girls to like superheroes now. Because superheroes for girls is everywhere at the moment. Mattel have even brought out new barbies in a more empowered way with barbie footballers and the tiny waist seems to have gone.
Do you think you dictate your children’s choice of toys? Would love to know your thoughts.