Why we choose to ignore gender specific marketing

Bear’s third birthday is coming up in a few weeks, so recently I’ve spent a lot of time planning it. We have left it up to him who he invites, what his party theme is and while in the card shop at the weekend we let him pick out his own wrapping paper. As for his presents, I’ve asked him what he would like for his birthday while we’ve wandered around toy shops, have been taking note of things he plays with at friend’s houses when we visit and have bought presents accordingly. The reason I’m sharing all these odd snippets of information is to highlight the importance of scrapping gender specific marketing.

 

If you follow me on social media, you will know gender specific marketing is a bit of a bug bear of mine. If we want equality in the world, we need to look at the messages we give to children from an early age. This is really important to me and it impacts the way I raise my children, so we tend to avoid any stereotypical connotations to things.

 

But anyway, back to the birthday preparations. Let’s start with the birthday presents, we’ve decided to put a lot of focus on experiences this year and so for Bear’s main present we are taking him Thomas Land. However, it is always nice to open a present or two, so we bought him a Kiddizoom camera and The Sylvanian Families Cosy Cottage Starter Home. Bear has become really interested in photography since I bought my first ‘proper’ camera and as we are travelling a lot over the next 18 months, thought it would be nice for him to have his own camera. Bear loves playing with the doll house at the library, but they can be a bit on the expensive side, so we decided to buy him a Sylvanian Families set as it is far more affordable. I still have a lot of my old Sylvanian Families sets as well, so it will go nicely with those.

Planning Bear's 3rd birthday and why we choose to ignore gender specific marketing

 

Bear absolutely loves the TV show ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, so it didn’t surprise me when he wanted a ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ themed party. He only asked for a few of his friends to come, so are keeping it simple with a little party at our house, with themed decorations and cake.

 

At the weekend, we took a trip to our local card shop to look for Mother’s Days cards and while I was there I asked him if he would like a certain wrapping paper for his presents. There were loads hanging up, one with a blue background and cars on, a brown one with presents on and a yellow one with balloons on, but Bear wanted the pink wrapping paper with flowers on it. We spend a lot of time in the garden and I teach him all of the different names for the flowers throughout the year and tell him about how important flowers are for the bees, who visit and pollinate them. He absolutely loves smelling the flowers and looking for all of the creepy crawlies that live among them. So again, it didn’t really surprise me that he picked the pink wrapping paper with flowers on.

 

These may seem like small and trivial things, but these choices Bear is making really highlight to me just how much he is taking in about the basic foundations of equality. It shows me that he is more focused on what it is that he likes, instead of what is marketed to him because he is male. I’m aware that as he gets older and peer pressure becomes more rooted into his day to day life, his interests may become more guided by what is thought of as ‘for boys’. But by implanting the foundations of equality now, he will be more inclined to question and challenge those outside sources and if an entire generation were to do this, then equality will come to us all a lot sooner.

 

What are your thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter, Instagram, or on Facebook. You can also follow me on Pinterest.

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21 thoughts on “Why we choose to ignore gender specific marketing

  1. In our house, whatever they ask for.. be it pink,blue,Barbie, thomas, etc! Then that’s what they shall get 🙂 far too much of this still goes on where people won’t buy what there child wants more what they think is best for there gender!

  2. I cannot stand things that are marketed specifically boys or girls and avoid anything pink if possible but it is increasingly difficult with a certified pink princess at home

  3. Anya mostly plays with whatever Matthew wants to play with so I was surprised that ALL of her Christmas presents were in pink packaging as she definitely isn’t a girly girl but her choice of toy she want to own is gender specific. Zach is too young to show any preference yet…

  4. I’m with you on this. We’ve just been sent a boy doll to review and I can’t wait to give it to BattleKid. I think we need more parents advocating gender neutral and cross-over and we need to stop pugeon-holing our kids, especially at such young ages. BattleKid loves the prams in school and if he asked for one I’d buy it for him. BTW he has the Kiddizoom camera and loves it!

  5. I have a daughter and she loves boys toys, I recently brought her action figures and she loves playing with them. Even down to her nappies she has Spider Man ones, no longer interested in the Minnie Mouse ones

  6. I believe children should be allowed play with whatever they are drawn to or whatever interests them. My daughter loves cars and any car related cartoons – we encourage it – she’s very good with her hands so hopefully she’ll go into something creative / even engineering perhaps. I have all my sylvanians too!

  7. I let the girls have whatever they want and try not to influence them at all. Eva is a big fan of Disney cars yet that seems to be marketed for boys. She has plenty of those toys and clothes which are in the ‘boys’ section of the shops x

  8. I’m totally with you on this…we have a big old mix of everything in fact if anything I try to work against gender bias and I think gender based marketing can actually be quite damaging in many ways….

  9. we are very gender neutral in our home, yes they have their favorite toys.. cars and pinkie pie, but they both play together with each others toys and theres no ‘but thats a boy toy’.. toys are toys!

    I am writing something similar about gender neutral toys, they should be on sale and pushed more than girl/boy pink/blue

    awesome post

  10. I agree with letting kids play with whatever they want to. I was a girly girl but growing up with boys around me I had to play with ‘boys’ toys to be included in games…

  11. I wish ALL toys were for ALL children. There really should be no gender specific marketing. I used to love cars as a little girl… a few years later I’ve discovered dolls and cars were no longer of interest to me but no one made any problems when I picked a car instead of a doll.

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