Toys have no gender , they have no idea whose playing with them, a girl or a boy . Nor do the kids … they don’t think of their own gender before they start playing with a toy …. till we adults intervene. And either joke about boys with dolls and label girls as Tom boys when they are playing with cars. Making them wonder about gender too soon.
It’s up to us parents, kids do what they see and gender discrimination in toys is an age old accepted norm. We need to commit ourselves to keep this gender conversation open. Even if we have understood how harmful it can be, we still have a world full of marketers who put gendered marketing techniques to sell their stuff and then there are neighbours, peers and older people in our children’s life. What I have done in my capacity as a child developmentalist is to constantly remind my son, his friends , cousins, grandparents, and everyone around us who would listen that there is no such thing as boy stuff and girl stuff. It is high time that we change the narrative all around and hence I have been trying to reach as many people as I can through Lilsakos, a gender neutral space I have been building for last six months. https://www.instagram.com/lilsakos/
One issue of not giving our boys dolls to play makes me especially angry. If we can love a man rocking a baby or a doting father changing diapers , why do so many squirm or bully boys with dolls. Seeing a father caring for a baby makes us miss a beat and invoke a emotion in us. So why, when we like men to be sensitive and caring ,why do we discourage small boys to cry, play with dolls and never ever think how harmful our expectations from little boys are.
See below four powerful reasons that will convince you to let your boys and girls both play with dolls:
- It will help raise empathetic kids irrespective of their gender. A doll can be a great way to role play situations, talk about feelings or simply learn how to care for something.
- Dressing up dolls is good for fine motor skills of kids. The buttoning, zipping is good practice for them to learn to dress themselves up.
- Caring for a doll can be used to show kids how to hold someone smaller than them or how to be gentle with them. A doll can help a kids get prepared for a new baby sibling.
- Many of us women grew up playing with dolls, but not too many men did. We need to give dolls to our little boys to debunk the age old idea that caring is a woman’s job. Just like dolls prepared us to be moms, dolls can prepare boys to be dads.