Tag Archives: gender stereotype

19th December 2014

Dolls, Buggies, and Kitchens – Not Just For Girls

IMG_6495Like lots of little boys, Stanley has a scooter. But some days, he likes to push his buggy instead.

At home, he likes to push around cars, build towers, and play with toy diggers. But he also likes to cook at his play kitchen and watch films about princesses in a frozen land.

He wears the colour blue a lot, but if you asked his favourite colour, he would probably say pink. He doesn’t have a doll as he hasn’t shown any interest in playing with one, but I wouldn’t hesitate to add it to his toy stash if he did.

So why am I telling you this? A friend posted a picture on Facebook yesterday of a doll that she had just bought her son for Christmas and received a private message within minutes from a long-time friend saying she was encouraging him to be gay.

Hearing this made steam come out of my ears for several reasons. Firstly, of course, the ridiculous misconception that you can make a child gay by the toys you choose to buy for them, rather than be born as gay – and the fact that this is immediately viewed as a negative thing, the end of the world for that child and their parents. And secondly the silly notion that boys playing with these things somehow makes them less of a boy, negatively influencing the way they grow up and the kind of men that they will become.

This is crap.

IMG_8035You see there’s another man in our life that spends a lot of his time pushing buggies, cuddling babies, and standing over the kitchen stove.

That man is his Dad.

The single biggest male influence in his life.

And whilst his dad loves rugby, football, and beer-swigging as much as any man, he is also one of the gentlest and most caring men I know when it comes to his children and his family.

He is the kind of man and the kind of father that we should be encouraging all little boys to become. He cooks for us every night, he does the night shift with the baby (sometimes reluctantly, admittedly), and he pushes that buggy whenever we go out.

So when we head out for the afternoon and we ask Stanley whether he wants to take his scooter or his buggy and he choose so the buggy, I get a warm, happy feeling when I see him push it  alongside his dad.

He’s a little boy, yes, but he won’t be defined by gender-stereotyped toys that society has decided he should play with. He can play with what he wants – and without wanting to wish away the years, which I really don’t want to happen, I can’t wait to see what kind of man he decides to become.

And on that note, we’re just off to watch a film about princesses in a frozen land. Again.