Recently there has been an ongoing ‘discussion’ in our house about toys that are traditionally allocated to a certain gender. It all started a few weeks back, when Bear took an interest in our household mop. After seeing us clean the floor, he decided he wanted to help and has been dragging the mop around and attacking our floors with it ever since. The problem is, the mop is slightly too big for a 15 month old child to be playing with and inevitably he has been taking our legs out with it during his attempts at mopping.
In our household, we split the chores equally and so Bear is quite used to seeing both his Mummy and Daddy doing housework. For me, the understanding of the equality of the sexes should begin at a young age and as a mother to a little boy who is growing up in a world where feminism is ever more present in society, I am very determined to teach him that neither gender is lesser than the other and that activities, interests and professions should not be determined by what sex a person is.
So I set about trying to find Bear a toy mop, so he can help with housework with a more suitable sized appliance. The thing is, when I have mentioned my buying of a toy mop for my son to other people, a few reactions have been that a toy mop is a ‘little girl’s’ toy and Bear would get bullied for having such toys. It was here that I pointed out that to Bear a mop isn’t specifically linked to either gender, because he sees both his mother and father using it and if another person’s child should deem Bearr owning one to be a reason for bullying him, then perhaps the parents of that child should question the way in which they are raising them, rather than questioning my choice of toy purchase.
In truth, I don’t believe that gender specifying children’s toys is in anyway productive in today’s society, let alone considering the implications of it 20 or even 30 years down the line. As a society where women are continually pushing for equal rights, surely it is counter-productive to label a toy mop as a ‘little girl’s toy’, that only reinforces to a new generation that housework is ‘women’s work’. Equally to label a toy workbench as a ‘little boy’s toy’, is only reinforcing the idea that manual work is ‘men’s work’.
The notion that a person’s gender should define their activities, their interests and their profession is out dated at best in today’s day and age, but let’s keep in mind that it will be an archaic point of view by the time our children are adults.
The future generations are in our hands, so let’s nurture them, teach them and guide them. Let’s say goodbye to gender stereotyping and let our children be free from judgement.