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JesusFightClub

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http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... ereotyping

S' the Grauniad, no need for link-breaking.

I found the comments on this article much more depressing than the article itself. Ream after ream of them stating smugly that all girls love dollies and pink and that's just natural or they wouldn't be girls....*sigh*

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Aw, that triggers a fircey discussion I had with an (yet childless!) aquaintance of mine some weeks ago: She said, she only would dress her future kids in "boy colours and girl colours, so people could tell if it´s a he or a she"... And she also would buy only the pink girl-Lego for a daughter, so boys would not steal it from her" :head-desk:

The pink overkill at the conventional toy stores and, worse, the chains like Toys´R Us is just sickening to me, I do not like to buy there for various reasons and :pray: my Nymlings go to a Waldkindergarten, where the parents-ausdience it generally more prone to use also other options of the colour spectrums beneath MissPiggy pink (or blue-with-generic-pic-of-monster-on-it).

What I always find funny by the way, is the phenomen of sexist numbskulls trying to ...uhm...explain... the girls=pink thing with made-up biology or history. The face, when you tell this people that until the 1920s blue was a typical girl colour (Virgin Mary traditionally wears a blue veil) and pink ("the little red") a boy colour: priceless :mrgreen:

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Fun experiment: when somebody proclaims "I thought I could raise my kids gender free, but now I know better, as soon as my kids turned 2/3/4 they were all about boy stuff/girl stuff, all kids are like that", ask them when their child started preschool. And when you've found out that they started preschool shortly before they started being really strict about gender roles, nod sagely and say you thought that was the case.

Though really, people see what they want to see. How many times was I told "your kids are all girl!" as one of them swung a stick like a sword and the other crawled around with a truck? More than I can count. One time, as that exact scenario was playing out, the woman continued with "these toys are all girly, my son wouldn't even know what to do with a toy kitchen" and as she said it I glanced over at her son, who was no more than 18 months old, and saw that he was... playing with the toy food and dishes. I pointed this out to his mother and she sort of mumbled and didn't really talk to me again after that.

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I was in a Toys 'R Us last week to buy my 6-year-old grandson a bicycle for Christmas, and I wanted to hurl. There was not-a-single plain-ol' red or blue bike--everything was branded and gender-segregation hell. Pink and purple Barbie and Hello Kitty bikes for the little girls, Tony Hawk and skulls and crap for the little boys. I found the least objectionable one and got the heck out of there.

Some twenty or so years ago, my toddler nephew had a fairly realistic-looking toy kitchen (no pink/purple crap back then). It was hysterical watching him play in it, talking on the wall phone as he "made coffee." He acted and sounded EXACTLY like his father, down to the hand gestures.

My other nephew, at age three about eight years ago, emphatically wanted a toy vacuum cleaner for Christmas. I was lucky enough to find a toy Black and Decker model--with matching dust buster!--that was a mini version of the real thing and actually worked.

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It's interesting to me that the gender specific toy marketing has become sooooo much more intense over the last 15 years or so.

When my kids were little in the 80's and 90's, and even when I was a kid in the 60's it was much less prevelant. Of course you always had some toys aimed at boys, and some to girls...but all kids played with Legos or Lincoln Logs or board games or painted or even made mud pies and played house in a kitchen ciolored kitchen.Every single solitary thing wasn't designed to appeal to just boys or just girls.

I think it's the excessive materialism as much as anything that's driving it. So even going with very gender stereotyped kids in the past you might buy your little girl a Barbie and your son a fishing pole, and get them a set of Legos to share.

Now it's a Barbie and a pink fishing pole for the girl, and an action figure and a flame decorated fishing pole for the boy and they each get their own gender specific color coded set of Legos.

Eta: cross posted with Hane, who has observed the same thing.

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I agree. It especially drives me crazy when people talk about how their daughter's preference for pink and purple is all their own doing. You've been dressing them in pink, sparkly things since they were born and you're telling me they just decided on their own that they like pink?!? I find its when the kids start wanting to wear all pink/purple/whatever and the shades don't match that the parents start complaining and mentioning it. Like it was fine to put them in a pink t-shirt or dress but now they want to wear one color head-to-toe and its a problem.

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I think that the gap between the genders has got wider, looking at adverts for different toys from the past and future. Before, it seemed that some toys-dolls and accessories for them, play kitchens, tea sets were aimed at girls, but weren't always bright pink. And there were some things that were for both, in neutral colours. Now, all things aimed at girls are bright pink, with flowers, hearts and princesses, and all things aimed at boys are super masculine blue or black with skulls and monsters on. Why do they need to make a boy version and a girl version of things which are aimed at both? Cant they make a few different coloured ones and the kids can pick whichever colour they prefer. Its like theyre saying "These things are for boys, but its okay to play with it if it is cute and pretty".

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I only have girls, so maybe I'm biased. But, I swear I tried. The girls got cars, and superheros, tea sets and princesses, doll houses and firetrucks. And, inevitably, my house looks like Barbie and My Little Pony puked all over the playroom, because the pink won over everything. Sure, Barbie occasionally drives the firetruck (while topless, because Barbies can't keep on their clothes for some reason), and the Batman action figure will cook dinner in the dollhouse, but everything they do just seems so girly. My 6 year old refuses to wear a teal blue winter jacket, because blue is a "boy color." Never mind that her other sisters are actually wearing hand-me-down boy's winter coats in red and black, and don't care, and her jacket is the only one that actually came from a girl's department.

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Why can't parents just let their kids be kids and not push gender specific or gender neutral toys or colors?

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I was a weird little girl (late 80s and 90s) who hated pink, girl toys, and especially Barbie. I loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Super Mario, GI Joe, and dinosaurs. I refused to sleep in my own room for seven years, because my mom painted it pink (she changed everything when I was in first grade so I would be willing to go in there). Even today, I'm not very "girly," and I've never had some of the body issues that other women have had, probably because I never tried to fit into society's view of how a woman should be (note: I don't want to belittle others who may have had problems in this regard, I'm just saying that it hasn't been an issue for me personally). I think my mom tried to push some gender-specific toys on me at first, but gave up by early elementary school, and just let me follow my own interests. I think some kids just beat to their own drum like me, while others are more gender conformist. If this was just about toys, I don't think it would matter so much, but when certain careers or academic subjects are "marketed" as being for one gender or another, that's more problematic.

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Aw, that triggers a fircey discussion I had with an (yet childless!) aquaintance of mine some weeks ago: She said, she only would dress her future kids in "boy colours and girl colours, so people could tell if it´s a he or a she"... And she also would buy only the pink girl-Lego for a daughter, so boys would not steal it from her" :head-desk:

She doesn't know the right boys. My son (probably) wouldn't steal another kid's Legos, but if he were so tempted, he'd go for the pink & purple ones first. Purple's his favorite color. Heck, over the summer he begged for the "girl" Lego set, because Purple!! and we had no problem buying it for him. Granted, in among his many, many Legos and boy-toys-with-wheels, he's also got a dollhouse and a Minnie Mouse pink lunchbox.

The pinkification is one of the main reasons we didn't find out the gender when I was pregnant, and if we had, I wouldn't have told anyone which it was. Sure, we got an overload of green and yellow baby stuff, but it was a hell of a lot better than having an avalanche of pink frilly sparkly crap, or a roomful of shades of blue. But then I don't like pink. I also didn't know at the time that purple/lavender was now a "girl color" - the kiddo had the cutest Eeyore onesie, I didn't notice the tiny bow until after I bought it. And I cut the bow off and let him wear it anyway.

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I only have girls, so maybe I'm biased. But, I swear I tried. The girls got cars, and superheros, tea sets and princesses, doll houses and firetrucks. And, inevitably, my house looks like Barbie and My Little Pony puked all over the playroom, because the pink won over everything. Sure, Barbie occasionally drives the firetruck (while topless, because Barbies can't keep on their clothes for some reason), and the Batman action figure will cook dinner in the dollhouse, but everything they do just seems so girly. My 6 year old refuses to wear a teal blue winter jacket, because blue is a "boy color." Never mind that her other sisters are actually wearing hand-me-down boy's winter coats in red and black, and don't care, and her jacket is the only one that actually came from a girl's department.

My niece hasn't had pink stuff forced on her, as she still loves the Disney Cars toys, but has now been getting into My Little Pony, probably because she's been able to play with her mom's old toys at first that her maternal grandma has kept. She also plays with her uncle's Ninja Turtles as well.

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I only have girls, so maybe I'm biased. But, I swear I tried. The girls got cars, and superheros, tea sets and princesses, doll houses and firetrucks. And, inevitably, my house looks like Barbie and My Little Pony puked all over the playroom, because the pink won over everything. Sure, Barbie occasionally drives the firetruck (while topless, because Barbies can't keep on their clothes for some reason), and the Batman action figure will cook dinner in the dollhouse, but everything they do just seems so girly. My 6 year old refuses to wear a teal blue winter jacket, because blue is a "boy color." Never mind that her other sisters are actually wearing hand-me-down boy's winter coats in red and black, and don't care, and her jacket is the only one that actually came from a girl's department.

My sister & I were the same. Pink, Glitter & Barbies won. Although we still enjoyed playing with 'boy' things like matchbox cars. I certainly wouldn't have admitted to that at school though. Things haven't changed though, most of my friends would have no idea that I do my own car repairs.

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I only have girls, so maybe I'm biased. But, I swear I tried. The girls got cars, and superheros, tea sets and princesses, doll houses and firetrucks. And, inevitably, my house looks like Barbie and My Little Pony puked all over the playroom, because the pink won over everything. Sure, Barbie occasionally drives the firetruck (while topless, because Barbies can't keep on their clothes for some reason), and the Batman action figure will cook dinner in the dollhouse, but everything they do just seems so girly. My 6 year old refuses to wear a teal blue winter jacket, because blue is a "boy color." Never mind that her other sisters are actually wearing hand-me-down boy's winter coats in red and black, and don't care, and her jacket is the only one that actually came from a girl's department.

Why do Barbies repel clothing? :lol:

My oldest daughter went through some very pink obsessed years and despite the fact that I don't particularly care for my whole house to be covered in pink items she liked it.

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Honestly, some kids are naturally attracted to certain things over other things. It can happen. My cousin's wife did not want a girl at all. Not at all. She was so determined to not have a girl that they never picked out a girl name when she was pregnant. Their second child was a girl in spite of her prayers and wishes. They dressed her in her brother's hand me downs, gave her a gender neutral first name and generally operated as if she were another boy. She did not go to preschool and child care was grandma's house with her brother and no other children. Grandma meticulously followed the parents' wishes. Nonetheless, by 4 1/2, this girl wanted sparkly nail polish and pink stuff and dolls.

And now, at nearly 19, she could care less for manicures, pink, or small children. She is also, without a doubt, the smartest and most independent of all the great grandchildren on that side of my family.

It is not the end of the world if a small girl likes girly things nor is it necessarily forced on them by parents or culture.

Whenever I see this debate, I am a bit troubled by people who have the attitude that it is only okay for kids to be interested in stuff traditional to the opposite gender and if they are interested in those things traditional to their own biological sex, something has gone wrong. This was discussed once on a different forum and a poster said that her young son, in spite of being given all kinds of gender neutral toys, was obsessed with his Hot Wheels race track. She was immediately vilified. Someone asked if the response would have been the same if she had said that in spite of it all he was obsessed with nothing but baby dolls and some posters had to examine how they view all of this. I believe that girls can like cars and ride a pink bike and that boys can play with the kitchen stuff and want Hot Wheels and a race track. Instead of replacing the world where they are pigeon holed into their own biological sex stereotype by shoving them exclusively to the opposite one, why don't we let them truly have anything they want?

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It is not the end of the world if a small girl likes girly things nor is it necessarily forced on them by parents or culture

And who do you think decides that sparkly pink nail polish is a girl thing instead of a boy thing? Give you a hint, it starts with a c and ends with an "ulture".

Yes, little girls (including transgender girls, of course) generally want to be like other little girls and like grown women. But it is society and parents and culture that tells them what that *means*. A little girl growing up in a house where daddy is the one who cooks might reject a toy kitchen because "that's for boys". One who is growing up in a fundamentalist family that carefully picks her friends might reject pink nail polish as "worldly" because none of the women and girls she knows wears that stuff (not that they're bastions of gender equality, but I'm trying to make a point here.)

Sex is biological, gender is mental, and our ideas about what it is to be male or female come from the society around us.

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I think that the gap between the genders has got wider, looking at adverts for different toys from the past and future. Before, it seemed that some toys-dolls and accessories for them, play kitchens, tea sets were aimed at girls, but weren't always bright pink. And there were some things that were for both, in neutral colours. Now, all things aimed at girls are bright pink, with flowers, hearts and princesses, and all things aimed at boys are super masculine blue or black with skulls and monsters on. Why do they need to make a boy version and a girl version of things which are aimed at both? Cant they make a few different coloured ones and the kids can pick whichever colour they prefer. Its like theyre saying "These things are for boys, but its okay to play with it if it is cute and pretty".

I think the obvious answer is $. Companies make a lot more $ if they can sell every family with boys and girls separate sets of Legos. They make a lot more $ if it's a more limited market for hand-me-downs as well. Look at how so much of the baby equipment is color coded now...so your pink swing/ stroller and car seat won't be handed down to your next baby who happens to be a boy, or given to your neighbors boy baby. Nope, gotta go buy new.

And I have nothing against pink, sparkly, glittery things. I don't even care if lots of kids gravitate towards toys more typical for their gender. I just think it's awful that consumerism is playing such a big role in what kids play with. It's stupid and expensive. And really limiting. In the past even extremely girly girls or macho boys would ride each other's bikes or cook in the pretend kitchen together or build a huge Lego tower....but that's a lot harder if everything is exclusively tagged as gender specific.

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And who do you think decides that sparkly pink nail polish is a girl thing instead of a boy thing? Give you a hint, it starts with a c and ends with an "ulture".

Yes, little girls (including transgender girls, of course) generally want to be like other little girls and like grown women. But it is society and parents and culture that tells them what that *means*. A little girl growing up in a house where daddy is the one who cooks might reject a toy kitchen because "that's for boys". One who is growing up in a fundamentalist family that carefully picks her friends might reject pink nail polish as "worldly" because none of the women and girls she knows wears that stuff (not that they're bastions of gender equality, but I'm trying to make a point here.)

Sex is biological, gender is mental, and our ideas about what it is to be male or female come from the society around us.

But god forbid a little girl just like that. That's my problem with this discussion. On one side we have people freaking out if they are not pigeon holed to their biological sex/corresponding gender and on the other side we have people who lose their minds if they even think of liking something that corresponds. Why can't we leave them alone? And 90% of the time, the hand wringing is over girls who like "girly" stuff. I have yet to see anyone start a thread on a forum moaning that boys have too much blue stuff and too many cars/action figures/etc... Having read a "why are all girls' clothes pink omg this is ending the world" thread on another forum recently, I paid attention to what kids were wearing when I subbed grades K-3 last week. About half the girls did have on something pink (though many is was just shoes or trim on something), the rest wore a variety of colors. BUT every single boy had on blue, green or camo. Never saw a thread anywhere (here or elsewhere) crying about that.

The debate, in the end, always implies that there is something inherently wrong about anything that is traditionally considered female. We need to be careful about that message.

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But god forbid a little girl just like that. That's my problem with this discussion. On one side we have people freaking out if they are not pigeon holed to their biological sex/corresponding gender and on the other side we have people who lose their minds if they even think of liking something that corresponds. Why can't we leave them alone? And 90% of the time, the hand wringing is over girls who like "girly" stuff. I have yet to see anyone start a thread on a forum moaning that boys have too much blue stuff and too many cars/action figures/etc... Having read a "why are all girls' clothes pink omg this is ending the world" thread on another forum recently, I paid attention to what kids were wearing when I subbed grades K-3 last week. About half the girls did have on something pink (though many is was just shoes or trim on something), the rest wore a variety of colors. BUT every single boy had on blue, green or camo. Never saw a thread anywhere (here or elsewhere) crying about that.

The debate, in the end, always implies that there is something inherently wrong about anything that is traditionally considered female. We need to be careful about that message.

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

I generally agree with that statement, except I do personally see it happen with little boys too. I think it's just different groups who worry. More traditionalist people seem to worry more about boys doing anything girly, while more "progressive" ( scare quotes intentional) people worry about the girls being too girly. Either way, the message is the same- traditionally feminine =bad.

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@louisa05

I actually have seen and personally participated in alot of discussions about the fact that "boys stuff" gets so overloaded with scary and dark symbols, it´s maybe just a question of time until clothing or toy designers say "Oh fuck it, just slap a screen cap of The Walking Dead on it!"

Many parents also yearn for a CHILDRENS section at clothing/toy stores and for WAY LESS marketing to our kids!

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Yeah, the problem goes both ways. One of my boys gravitates towards things that are more cute and fun, than the skulls and camo that his older brother likes. When he was a toddler there was so much cute stuff he could wear, but now its harder to find things his style. It isn't quite as bad as the things that happen way too soon to little girl clothing as they grow up, but it still seems like things are being more aggressively gendered, its either skulls, camo and army vehicles or pink sparkly princesses.

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I have also seen people getting concerned and being upset that their boys were being steered only to dark colors and blues in clothing and that seemingly all toys directed towards boys are either weapons or trucks. Maybe we just run in different circles, or maybe this is another version of "people see what they expect to see".

Why can't we leave them alone?

Because they're members of a social species. The second they start interacting with other people (so birth, basically) they are going to start getting messages about the sort of people they are supposed to be.

It starts at *birth*, with people doing more lifting of boy babies and more taking to girl babies! It's doubtful most people even are aware they're doing it! Toys? Forget about dolls and trucks, girls get more *books* and boys get more *blocks*. Can you believe it?

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I agree with you, louisa05.

I have a daughter, after several boys. Her baby toys were their handmedowns. Wooden. Primary colors. One non gendered doll which had no clothes.

I myself am not a pink frilly type of person.

But this girl has been gaga for sparkles and frills since she was around 1 yo. One of her first words was "shopping", lol. And the day she discovered the shoe section at a local thrift store, she stood there gazing at it in awe, muttering "shoes. Shooooes" A good bit of the hilarity is that none of the women in the family are at all like that. There is nothing wrong with her. It's not been forced on her. She's a girl who loves pink.

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I have a boy and a girl. Both have a variety of interests. My son's favorite color is pink unfortunately because of school he now constantly asks if it's OK for boys to like pink, which I assure him it's fine but I don't feel like he believes me. Both my kids really love our play kitchen, cleaning up toys (vacuum and broom) and baby dolls. However for both kids their absolute favorite toy that results in the most fights about sharing are the Thomas trains. We just bought my daughter some for Christmas and we did buy her the female trains because my son is honestly better about sharing them. I also love that the female trains are not just pink and purple. We also just got her a pink car ramp thing because it was half the price of the identical blue one so far my son has played with it more then her. My kids do have a lot of gender specific stuff because that is what other people buy them for gifts. My daughter is only 18 months and owns like seven baby dolls because she gets them every single holiday from everyone. My son absolutely loves dolls but nobody besides us have ever bought him one. But it doesn't really matter since for the most part all the toys are for everyone. My avatar is my son having Cinderella drive his fire truck. I was given a set of Disney princesses when I announced we were expecting a girl. My son absolutely loves them and my daughter for now could care less about them.

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