Thursday, July 21, 2011
Boy vs girl
I love this song. Marina is brilliant anyway, but with this song she really nails it. The full lyrics are written beneath the video on YouTube (may need to click the "show more" bar) but here are some of my favorite snippets:
"Girls are not meant to fight dirty
Never look a day past thirty"
"Girls they never befriend me
Because I fall asleep when they speak
Of all the calories they eat"
Just for fun, I was browsing the Toys R Us website. I selected by age 12-24 months, then out of curiosity narrowed by gender, first boy then girl. I've been frustrated for a long time now with how toy companies market to each gender, and was curious if there had been any improvements. I was glad to see that most of the items in the "boy" category were also shown in the "girl" category, even the bulldozer toy, but was very disappointed to see the workbench toy was missing. I loved playing with tools as a child, and am very comfortable using them as an adult. I also was disheartened to see the overabundance of pink on the girls' page. Pink "stroller" walking toy. Pink tea set. Play purses and makeup. Lots of baby dolls and dress-up clothes. Things girls love, it's true, but I've seen many little boys play with baby dolls, and the boys and girls are equally excited to play dress-up at the babysitter's house. Why isn't the ride-on motorcycle toy listed on both pages? Where is the Daddy-and-me doll to correspond with the Mommy-and-me doll? In this age of dual-income families and stay-at-home dads, why don't our children's options reflect this? Why must stores sell pink vacuum cleaners and blue tool belts?
I am trying to be aware of what toys we give Sophie. She loves her baby dolls, but she also has a dump truck and a football. Most of her toys are gender-neutral: blocks, musical toys, shape sorters and stacking toys. I want to teach her to embrace diversity, though, and that begins now with her toys. I want to give her both "boy" and "girl" toys, dolls that replicate different ethnicities.
It's my dream that one day, no one will be commenting about a "woman president" or "black president" or any other race - the candidates' races and genders will be non-issues. The conversations will be "who is the best PERSON for the job?" That mindset starts now.