Has anyone heard about this movement of not buying gendered toys for the month of December (leading up the the holidays)?
I am torn on what I think about it. On the one hand, my initial reaction was “Yes! Finally people are realizing how many toys that are sold are marketed to genders and not all kids fit into gender binaries. Let’s not force it on them.” But on the other hand, I am a bit skeptical of parents forcing their views/opinions on their kids. If a kid wants to be a princess, let him or her use their imaginations to make-up an alternate world where they live (granted, they do not need a princess costume to do this, but I do believe strongly in fostering creativity and if ‘props’ are necessary, so be it).
I am thinking about this because once I started telling people I was pregnant, one of the first few questions they asked was “are you going to find out what it is?” or “do you know what it is?” There is nothing wrong with these questions because we could know by now, but we have decided not to find out until the baby is born. So many people are amazed by this and tell me they needed to know for themselves so they could plan accordingly.
In my mind, I just need to plan for a baby, which is overwhelming in and of itself. No matter the sex of that baby, I do not plan on anything being different for the first few years. It is a baby. It needs baby things: diapers, clothes, blankets, towels, a place to sleep, etc. Cute animals, books and blocks are fine as toys until the child starts developing and asserting a personality. Then I believe it is important to listen to the child and allow them to choose toys they want. And if I have a girl who wants to play with trucks and trains or a boy who chooses to play with dolls, I love it! Of course, I will be equally OK with kids that choose toys that fit the stereotypical gender norms.
So in getting back to No Gender December, I love the concept of it. And I hope that toy manufacturers start to get the message to stop “pinkifying” entire aisles of toys. But the fact is that kids are exposed to a variety of marketing strategies and if they are not allowed to play with the toys they want, they will still be exposed to them. Rather than denying kids access to toys, I think it is important that parents set the tone and message for how to be a friendly and inclusive princess, rather than one who sits on her throne all day.