Wednesday, 18 July 2012
Girls will be Boys...
I've just been toy shopping and I'm outraged. I thought that it was the year 2012, I thought that women had got the vote and that Shiloh Pitt was leading the way in kiddy cool. However it seems that society and toy shops in particular are still firmly entrenched in perpetrating gender stereotyping.
For the shelves of The Entertainer are firmly signposted with the labels "Girls Toys" and "Boys Toys" with appropriate pink or blue colour. If you have ever wondered why there are no famous female magicians your answer lies here. Because for some reason the powers that be have deemed that magic sets are only in the Boys section, the girls never got a chance! Also only boys can be policemen, firemen, pirates or cowboys apparently. Tell that to all the ladies in our police force or fire service.
Likewise the boys must never play with dolls and babies. Apparently they don't do shopping or cooking either . No, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsy et al should actually be getting on with more manly pursuits like playing with guns or something.
Maybe I am a bit more sensitive to this because my daughter is a bit of a tomboy. She loves dinosaurs, space and Brian Cox (or Brian Cock as she somewhat appropriately calls him). I would hate to feel that as she gets older she might feel that choosing something from the "boys"section is wrong or that she would get teased for it.
I suppose the store would say that it is just a guideline and helps people see where toys are placed but I think its more than this. At the moment my children can't read the signs but when they can I want a trip to the toyshop to be fun and not a lesson in gender stereotyping. After all I think people would be outraged if their children were presented with GCSE subject choices along with a guideline for which ones are "Girls Subjects" and which ones are "Boys Subjects" - so why are our children told what toys they should be playing with?
I don't see why they can't just have sections titled "role play", "building games" and "cooking and shopping" instead of this pink and blue division. And as a friend pointed out to me its not the The Entertainer. The Early Learning Centre also seem to have a factory that only provides them with the colours blue or pink. Whats wrong with yellow, or orange or green?
I'd love to hear your views on this...