Gender specific clothes/toys/colors/etc?

Joanna - posted on 06/07/2010 ( 33 moms have responded )

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There was a topic in another CoM group about a boy wanting to wear his sister's clothes, and then I just watched a Wife Swap with a boy who had long hair and a pink bedroom, so it got me wondering what everyone's opinions were on this...

Do you believe in gender specifics? Such as girls have pink, princess, tea parties, long hair, skirts, and boys have blue, football, trucks, short hair, and dirt? Or do you believe that those things have no certain gender association? Do you raise your children a certain way, either denying gender roles or embracing them?

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Lea - posted on 06/10/2010

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And theres nothing wrong with boys playing with dolls or cooking. Think about your own husband - you want him involved in those things to help you, so raise your son to be a well-rounded man so he can do more for his family.

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Charlie - posted on 06/13/2010

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And i think that is the difference between pushing your child to play with objects of the opposite gender and simply letting them explore the objects naturally without any encouragement or denial , in most cases when left to explore naturally , they have a look , a little bit of a play get bored and go back to blocks or trucks .

Lyndsay - posted on 06/13/2010

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I raise my son as a boy. I have no problem with boys who wear pink or play with dolls, I'm just not raising my son that way. If he wants to wear a pink shirt one day, I'll let him... but I'm not going to choose a pink shirt for him. If he wants to play with dolls, thats fine. We go to an Early Years Centre and sometimes he pushes their doll around in the stroller, which is totally fine. I don't know if I would actually buy him a barbie or anything like that, but he's a real little boy and shows no interest in girly things so it hasn't been an issue. I think you can raise your kids however you want when they're young, but when they're older they're going to be thrown into a society that has its own perceptions of what is and isn't okay for specific genders, and the kids need to be prepared for that.

ME - posted on 06/12/2010

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My daughter is very young (3 1/2 months), so I have no idea what she will like...but I wrap her up in Miles' old blue baby blankets and she wears his pjs too...My mom is a shopaholic, so she buys her two grand daughters dresses and cute little outfits on a regular basis. She wants to buy it, and I don't care what she chooses, as long as it's not white (Miles gets stuff too, but boys clothes are not as cute). Miles LOVES books and has tons of them...he also likes some of my books from when I was a child, doesn't seem to care what they are about as long as someone is reading to him. He has put on my high heals and carried my purse around the house...he's also said that he wants a baby like mine (Mayah :)...but he has a little boy doll that sings twinkle twinkle little star, and he hasn't made the connection that the doll IS a baby, so it may just be jealousy...
I don't really care what he plays with...he LOVES trucks, tractors, race cars, robots, monsters, baseball, balls in general, boxes, coloring, "fighting" with his dad, etc...the only thing I won't buy him or allow in my house is a toy gun of any kind (or a real gun for that matter)...I hope that Mayah is just as excited about books and sports as her brother is, but if she isn't, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it...I've NEVER been a girly-girl...so, I may need some help from my younger sister if Mayah turns out to be one...I don't know...

Amie - posted on 06/11/2010

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The bodice was never the problem. The collar and arm bands I mentioned were.

Sharon - posted on 06/11/2010

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You look for dresses that are lined - even under the lace and there is no itching! lol.

Amie - posted on 06/11/2010

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Lace and frill dresses are uncomfortable! I even made the added effort to find ones that weren't like that for our wedding so my girls didn't have to go through the same torture. My mom used to buy them for me when I was small and I was always itching at the collar or arm bands when I had to wear them. =S

LaCi - posted on 06/11/2010

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lol one reason I didn't want a girl is because I didn't want people to try to buy her frilly lace dresses because they look SO itchy and uncomfortable and I wouldn't be able to stand it!

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We never worried about the gender specific thing, although with 3 girls we could have had a house full of pink! We didn't buy many toys - the girls were quite happy to play with cardboard boxes and saucepans etc, which is better for their creativity , I think, than toys. Naturally, people gave them things, and we bought a few toys, but generally they enjoyed things they found around the house. There were a few momentous occasions when we got bags of cast-off clothes from various friends etc - the kids loved those!

The only things I wouldn't have in the house were violent toys - guns, war toys etc.

As far as clothes were concerned I wasn't fussed, although I hated frilly, lacy things, cos I hate ironing! If it couldn't just be thrown in the washing machine, pegged out, then thrown back in the cupboard, I wasn't interested!

Rosie - posted on 06/10/2010

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it's tough for me with boys cause of the huge stereotypes out there. i let my children play with dolls, dress up in a hot pink feather boa, cheetah print high heels and a purse while he played with his cousin, i think pink is cute on boys-very sophisticated, lol! BUT, i would be a little uncomfortable if they did these things in public, or whatenot. now if it came to be that he truly wanted these "girl" things than i would be okay with that. he's my boy and i love him no matter what.

Sharon - posted on 06/10/2010

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I KNOW my reasons for limiting certain toys isn't entirely rational.



My daughter plays with pokemon, racecars, snakes etc. She can climb any tree her brothers can, runs, falls, has scraped knees etc..



My oldest never showed an interest in dolls, frilly things, or anything in a girls color. If he had a choice between a machine gun in black and one in pink, he'd choose black.



My younger son was different. He was attracted shiny things, bright things. In particular a doll attracted him. A very frilly doll. I always wanted to know what he would do with it. He was about 2 or 3 at the time. My husband flipped out. Absolutely pitched a fit. I fought him a little but since I wasn't entirely comfortable with it, I caved. yeah yeah, one of the few times I ever caved in, I assure you!



We compromised by buying him GI joe dolls. he seemed disappointed.



I'm not entirely a girly girl. One of the reasons why I joined the Marines was because I knew I could take a beating and keep going. I don't mind mud, getting dirty or having my hair mussed up. As long as my hair stayed past my butt. I can do anything I want, anything I set my mind to, and thats how I raise my kids.



I really don't want my kids to grow up to be gay or transexual or gender bent, whatever. Not because something is wrong with people like that, but because their lives are HARD. And that sucks. And I don't want that for my kids. If it should happen I'll try to embrace the situation while embracing them and propping them up against the tide of crap that will try to knock them over.

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Haha...LaCi I like the pink race car idea. Eliza actually has a few matchbox cars that she plays with. Our church nursery has one of those car garages where the cars speed down the ramp. Eliza loves it, so I searched high and low for a girl one with no luck. I guess I could have just gotten it for her anyway, but the cheapest one (by quite a lot actually) was exactly the same as the church's. I didn't see the point of getting her the exact one she enjoys 3x a week. Or I guess I could have spray painted it pink!

LaCi - posted on 06/10/2010

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I think I've got a while to go before he gets into the gender specific mindset. Everything for toddlers is pretty unisex. I like boystuff, so that mostly what he'll end up with. If I had a girl, she's be getting boy stuff too more than likely. My dad was so excited about the idea of little pink race cars before It was confirmed that I got my boy...

When he gets older and wants stuff, that's different. But for now and a while I get to buy what I like ;) and thats boy stuff. I guess I'm masculine? lol. I love guy stuff. I love guys. Pretty anti girly stuff. Although I do like playing dress up.

Rachelle - posted on 06/10/2010

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I think alot has to do with how the mom is. I'm quite girly so my daughteris VERY girly. She plays with her dolls all day, always wants to do my hair and hers. She goes in the closet everyday and brings out a different color of nail polish she wants on. I am funny that way. I wouldnt not let her get a blue toy of she really wanted it but I do encourage girly toys rather then boys toys. She tends to go there on her own anyways. Mind you, she is only 21 months, so hate to see how she is when shes older, lol have a feeling im going to have a little diva on my hands lol

Sharon - posted on 06/10/2010

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I love being a woman. I encourage my kids to embrace their own identities but my boys are boys until they say other wise. My daughter is a girl until she says other wise.

They can have anything they want as long as it relatively gender oriented.

Sometimes I wonder if parents create gender confusion by encouraging children to explore the other roles.

Caitlin - posted on 06/10/2010

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HA! that's great! My daughter refuses to put her hands in the sand.. she's sit there and cry with her hands out if she falls down in th eplayground, and absolutely refuse to get her hands dirty.. I don't see how this fits with my plans to get her a bunch of tonka trucks and play int he sanbox with her though...

Amie - posted on 06/10/2010

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We've put no specific pressure on either way. Though my husband is hoping one of our girls will turn out to be a tomboy. LOL! He's having a hard time with our oldest growing up.



Our children are all a mix of stuff though. Our oldest is very girly but she loves off roading. She rips around on her quad like mad, she laughs like crazy when my husband takes them out in the truck.



Our son has a sensitive side but he's also rough. He's very loving and caring with his younger sisters. On the other hand though he has broken his leg twice, winded himself numerous times, fallen down concrete stairs, etc. He just doesn't stop. Forgot to mention too: His sister's are evil to him. LOL! They've painted his nails, done his hair, etc. He doesn't mind. He sits through and endures it. He is the only one of ours though with natural spiral curls. When his hair grows out it is so adorable.



Our toddler (whom my husband is trying to turn into a tomboy) is one of the roughest girls I've ever met. It doesn't help that she's big for her age. She can be very gentle when it calls for it though. She never bowls over children her age and younger, she will run down a kid older than her though. She's done that before, more than once. Her girly side shines through every once in awhile though. She likes it when our oldest paints her nails, she'll wear a dress or skirt, etc. She is a lot happier though chasing after her brother, knocking around with him and his friends then she is acting like "a girl".



Our youngest, well other being an obstinate little bugger some days, she's a girl. She'll come into her own just like the rest of them though. For now, she is very priss. She will not even walk on grass. No joke, when we're outside with them we have to set her on the grass otherwise she just walks around on the driveway and sidewalk. She'll stand there and laugh while the kids play but she will not go onto the grass or dirt voluntarily. She's our only child who, so far, does not like going "off road". LOL!!

Caitlin - posted on 06/10/2010

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If I had a son, i'd probably only draw the line at wearing makeup outside the house or nailpolish, but I think even in the house, having them experiment can't hurt.. Not like it would be an issue for me because I don't wear makeup or own nailpolish, so I may be spared that from even my girls until they go to school!

Lea - posted on 06/10/2010

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Well my son was very interested in any kind of vehicles from very early on. Its been a bonding experience for him and his dad. So I would say that half the interest came from my son himself and half came from my husband's encouragement. I don't agree with strict gender roles or name calling "sissy, tom-boy, etc" My son has stuffed animals and I play with them with him and show him how to be kind and nurturing. Both sexes need a wide variety of experiences but every child will have his or her own interests for you to encourage. I think its important to raise confident (not aggressive, not conceited) children regardless of gender. If you treat a child as though something they are interested in is bad, the child thinks that they are bad so be careful with trying to make kids fit what you want.

Lucy - posted on 06/08/2010

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Kids really aren't aware of what is considered appropriate for their gender until we make sure they are by bombarding them with gender specific advertising, splitting them into boy/girl groups for activities etc.



My kids have always been encouraged to explore what it is to be them, rather than just a boy or a girl (I have one of each), and I think they should be allowed this freedom to grow as individuals.



We have always provided gender neutral toys, as well as those traditionally considered boys or girls toys, and the kids tend to combine them in ways which kind of wipe out the gender issue. For example, this morning both kids were dressed as fairies, but wearing fireman helmets, pretending to drive monster trucks to a ball! Try fitting that one into a gender stereotype!



As for hobbies and activities, because they are so similar and close in age, they both love many of the same things. Crafts, football and making music (although my husband doesn't call it that!) are on the top of the list at the moment, but the way they approach them is different. My daughter like things to be very precise, and will take great care over a craft project, whereas Rowan just loves to slap as much paint and glue around as possible. Musically, Ivy loves to tinkle away on the piano whilst Rowan loves to bash loudly on a drum. So, interestingly, they are each beginning to assert their "girlness" and "boyness" to borrow from feminist terminology, without being forced into certain activities or prevented from engaging in others.



I think that these days, most people are less concerned about separating girls and boys toys and activities, but maybe some of the dads out there are holding on to some issues. Both my son and daughter have recently started ballet lessons, which they are really enjoying, and neither the female teacher nor any of the other mums have reacted negatively to my son attending, although he is the only boy. But a Dad who came to pick his daughter up from the last lesson asked me "aren't you worried it will turn him gay?"! After I stopped laughing, i told him that as much as I think the power of artistic expression is great, as far as I know it is not able to adjust genetic make up!

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The only pink clothes my sons own are waistcoats and cravats bought for them to attend their sisters wedding. They can wear any other colours but i never buy them pink clothes i dont know why its just something in my brain that says boys dont wear pink lol. The oldest two choose their own clothes now but they never choose pink so it must have rubbed off on them too. None of my boys were allowed to have dolls or prams, i did buy them teasets but only ones in primary colours. My oldest son wants to grow is hair long at the moment not sure how i feel about that lol.

Charlie - posted on 06/07/2010

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Im not too worried about gender specifics , i think little boys and girls should be allowed the freedom to explore both worlds without adult , gender prejudice , its part of finding themselves and exploring different roles it doesn't mean because they are trying on dresses that they want to be a girl its just their way of exploring mummy or sisters world , its completley natural and a very , very common interest for boys at a certain age , ive noticed little girls at my school were never as interested in dressing up as boys but would more likely act our male roles .

What interests me is Cooper has become obsessed motorbikes and trucks , he has been drawn to this all on his own accord and loves pointing out everything on the roads yelling out " TRUCK , MOTORBIKE ( sounds more like ma-ta-bike) BUS " on the other hand he LOVES watching me do my make up and will stand in the bathroom and apply my mineral foundation for me with a brush he will then brush some on his face and laugh , he loves the tickely feeling of the brush .

I dont deny or embrace , i let cooper freely explore the world as he see's fit , role play and exploration are an incredibly important part of a child's development and the way WE as adults portray gender specific roles and how we treat children in that time of exploration makes a huge difference in their attitudes towards gender specifics and equality in the future , i believe it is adults who make a bigger issue of gender specifics than children especially fathers with their boys , children havent built the sexual hangups that adults associate with gender specific toys , clothes and interests , i do believe boys and girls are hardwired to like certain things , they have different ways of thinking and learning that draw them to certain things but in the end it is the adults who label and pigeon hole certain activities and interests which is sad .

Johnny - posted on 06/07/2010

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I've never really thought about which gender toys are, I just care that she's going to enjoy playing with them. She loves trains, bulldozers, trucks, and buses and right now couldn't care less about her doll or her tea set. But she does love cooking in the kitchen. I don't think of that as a gender based activity in this day and age though. I just want her to play with toys that activate her imagination, allow her to be creative, and are lots of fun. I try very hard to avoid branded toys (like Disney movies or Dora stuff).

Her room is painted "Serenity" which is a shade of green. We chose it when we didn't know what gender the baby was, but I am still very happy with it. She's got lots of "animal/jungle" themed stuff. I do like to put her in pretty dresses once in a while, but mostly she's in jeans and sweats. A fair amount of pink stuff but not purposefully girly though, it's just what they have in the store. I have been known to buy her stuff from the boy's side of the store.

As she gets older, she is free to choose her gender. She's stuck with her sex, but if she feels masculine, I will allow her to choose that for herself. I would worry about bullying, but I think the damage is worse if we force a gendered identity onto our kids. Although admittedly I'd be a little stressed if she turned into a "princess" or a "macho man".

C. - posted on 06/07/2010

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While I don't really have a set limit as to what toys my son is or will be allowed to play with, there are certain things I never want him to play with (ie: play makeup, nail stuff, etc).. That, to me, is different than letting my son play tea party with my niece if she so desired to ask him to play along. And if I ever have a girl, I don't mind if she plays with my son's toys as long as she is not too young for them (like if they have small parts, etc).

I remember growing up, my brother would bring his GI Joes and we'd have our Barbies and we would all play with both! Mix them around and everything.. Nobody cared.

Suzette - posted on 06/07/2010

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My little girls room is going to be decorated in purples and pinks but she's going to have girl toys and boy toys. I didn't have both until we were away from my biological father, for some reason he thought I needed to have the little girly stuff. I was happier to play with GI Joes and cars than I was to play with Barbies and baby dolls. I definitely plan on allowing my daughter to pick out whatever she wants instead of forcing things on her. She's going to have a little bit of everything and so will our son, if we have one later he'll have the options of picking what he wants. Hubby will just have to deal with it!

Sunny - posted on 06/07/2010

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My son is 3 and loves pink and purple! lol
I really couldn't care less. He has a favorite watermelon pink top (which is actually industry boys) and he has pink and purple toys, although most of his toys are trains (he is thomas the tank obsessed).
I am a ballet dancer a he will be starting class soon, he loves it but i still think he is a bit too little.
He is a boy through and trough though. I mean really who cares if he likes pink? My favorite color is green, what does that make me lol?

Joanna - posted on 06/07/2010

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It is funny about guys... My husband wants to buy our daughter a mini dirt bike SO bad, but if I ever brought up the idea of sending our boy (he's imaginary, we just haven't had him yet, lol) to ballet class, he freaks out!

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I never intentionally wanted my daughter to have gender specific toys, but it happened anyway. Most of her baby toys were neutral. She had a good mix of girly clothes and yellow and green outfits. Then her first birthday happened! She got a baby doll (from someone else, we got her a bookshelf) and that was it! She couldn't wait to get that baby out of it's package and has played with it ever since. She's got a good collection of classic little girl toys, dolls, stroller, kitchen, tea set, but no princess or barbie crap yet. Well just one barbie that was given to her this past Christmas but she sits at the bottom of the toy basket. She just sort of naturally gravitated towards all things girly...including dresses and hairbows! When I dress her and fix her hair, she immediately runs to her daddy to hear him say how pretty she is. He didn't initiate this tradition, she did! Sigh! Couldn't hold off the girlishness forever I guess!

Caitlin - posted on 06/07/2010

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I have two girls and dread the possibility of having 2 princesses, but if they want to be, I wont force them not to. I hate the excessive marketing, for now they are both very young so I have very gender non-specific toys. Megablocks, a few toy cars, some little people, a mr. potato head and blocks/puzzles and some musical toys (xylophone, drum, tambourine etc...) and balls. When it comes to TV shows, my daughter seems to like the imagination movers and handy manny, which is great in my mind, she loves playing with plastic tools (i'm a carpenter - so she sees me doing handy work all the time, and always wants to help.)

The only reason I dread princesses is I was always a tom boy, have no idea how to do hair or makeup or nails and HATE pink. If I had a boy that wanted to play with a doll - why not? I think my husband would have more of a problem with that though, he wanted one of his kids to be into little plastic army men and stuff, only time will tell if one of our girls like that..

HOPEFULLY they are into building though, because I have 100 pounds (litterally) of classic lego pieces for when they get older..

Becky - posted on 06/07/2010

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My husband is a lot more concerned about gender specific stuff than I am. Thus, my sons do not own anything pink. He gets quite bothered if I or my mom even jokingly put a bow in their hair or something like that. I think it's silly, really. And I think there's quite a double standard out there. Men tend to get all hot and bothered about little boys playing with dolls or wearing pink, but have no problem with their little girls wearing a blue shirt and overalls and playing with cars in the dirt.
Other than the pink and hairbows thing, I think we fall somewhere in the middle. Our boys have mostly "boy" toys, like cars and trucks, or non-gender specific toys like blocks and puzzles, but they do have play dishes and food and if they asked for a doll, I'd get them one. I don't see any problem with this. I expect my sons to grow up to take an equal role in household duties and childcare when they have families of their own, so why not start teaching them those skills now? My husband cooks and cleans! Right now, we have only boys, so our activities do tend to be more masculine, I guess. But, if we someday have a little girl, she will be included in "boy" activities with her brothers and they will be included in "girl" activities with her. That is, if they want to be, it won't be forced on them, generally.

Jenny - posted on 06/07/2010

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I'm more free range. I have found that toy stores seem to market gender specific colours and designs, it drives me nuts. I am actively limiting my kid's exposure to marketing but I go to Toys R Us to buy a simple toy bin and my choice is either Disney Cars or Disney Princess. Screw you Disney and gimme some damn primary colour bins.

My daughter is 7 and dresses kinda hippy like. When she did have something pink we tended to pair it with her leather Harley Jacket and cowboy boots. I just want her to be her own person and not what the marketing machine tells her to be. She never took to toys but gravitates to books, art supplies and bugs. The kid is nuts for bugs.

My son is 2.5 and is obsessed with transportation. If a plane goes overhead we've lost him till it's out of sight. He also has an accessory fetish, shoes in particular. We don't encourage or discourage it, we just let him figure out for himself what he likes.

Krista - posted on 06/07/2010

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I'm not going to force either on my son. I won't shove a doll or a tea set into his hands in an effort to "bring out his feminine side". But, if he wants one? Sure. Why not? Right now, I buy him toys that can really be enjoyed by either gender, like blocks, and balls, and those bead mazes

Joanna - posted on 06/07/2010

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Personally, I have NO problem with gender roles, I myself enjoy being a stay-at-home mom while my husband works, things like that. However I don't raise my daughter that way. When picking out toys we don't stay in the girl section, in fact she prefers to go straight to the trucks/cars! She has both pink flower sippy cups and blue dinosaur sippy cups. She loves playing rough with the boys, jumping and climbing. But she also likes having pretend tea parties with her dolls (and sometimes dinosaurs, lol).

I just don't understand how some people get so up in arms if their young toddler/preschool son wants to wear a pink shirt, or play with a doll, etc. I think learning and imagination shouldn't be ruled by gender!

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