"Girl" toys versus "boy" toys a good thing or a bad thing?

[deleted account] ( 19 moms have responded )

First off I think boys and girls should be allowed to have what every toys interest them.

What frustrates me is that I have noticed while shopping for toys for both my son and my hone day care are the gender specific toys.
Fisher Price has been pretty bad for this. For example they offer a singing and talking tool bag for boys and a bright pink singing and talking purse for girls.
They offer all pink stacking rings, shape sorting blocks, chew toys, phones ect.

Yes I realize I could easily get pink stuff for my son he really wouldn't care.
BUT why are they marketing toys that way? Why are they forcing Pink to be a "girl's colour?"

It also frustrates me when parents won't let their boys play dress up, house, have dolls or any other "girl" type toys because it will make them weak or become homosexuals.
It won't do either.
It also frustrated me when I occasionally came across a closed minded teacher in one of the centers I worked at who would admonish the preschool boys for putting on the dresses in the house center. They weren't wearing for any other reason other then that they liked the way they looked (we had a lot of cut down old bridesmaid dresses and such that were very sparkly --all children love sparkles). She would tell them that they were being bad. (She would be the teacher I refer to in my Bad and Naughty post).

Why do you think in this day and age toy stores and companies are still segregating our childrens' toys by colour?
Maybe I would be less aggravated if the same stores and companies offered tools, cars, trucks and yes even weapons in the colours of fuchsia and hot pink.


Amy - posted on 05/02/2010




Unfortunately this world is still full of sterotypes. Children would never know the difference in "types" of toys if it weren't pushed in their faces. It is absolutely natural for boys to play dress up and girls to use tools. As a matter of fact, the Head Start where I work, the doll house is mostly used by boys. They work through thier struggles through the little people. This is very typical and should never be discouraged. As far as that teacher you mentioned, she should not be allowed to be a teacher at all. You should NEVER tell a child they are bad. EVER! That is the most absurd thing I've ever heard of. This woman must not have much education in early childhood. Ugh, I feel like finding this woman and firing her myself!

Lindsay - posted on 04/26/2010




Since I have a boy and a girl close in age, this has never really been an issue in our house. We have toys geared towards both genders as well as gender neutral toys. They both play with all of them. My daughter is very much into the typical girly things regardless of being constantly exposed to both. My son tends to play more with the typical boy things. They do however often mix and play with both. I don't make an issue of it. They are free to play with anything in the home, and they have fun playing with what they like! =)

Haley - posted on 04/25/2010




This is a hot topic for me too! I despise it. However they have gender nuetral toys and that's what i buy. I but her toys that will expand upon her creativity and prompt her to explore her environmnet! Never have i purchased dolls. they teach girls to take care, and while that is a good thing to learn. I don't want her to learn that as her sole roles "girls do these things and are this way because it is in our nature" NO! You can be and do whatever you want when u grow up! Gotta teach that early!

Jaime - posted on 04/24/2010




It really is too bad that we have colours associated with gender because it only becomes an issue when we're older and we learn that society has placed labels on everything--including our gender! I mean if you think about it, male and female are not the only gender...how do we account for hermaphrodites? Or, how do we account for transgendered people? What colour do we use to assimilate their gender? I think that's the real issue when it comes to "gender specific" colours.

When Gray was first born I didn't have a soother for him because, like a fool I thought "nah, I'll just tough it out"...but after a week it was clear that he needed one. So off I went to the drug store to get him a soother and all they had were packs of 2, with two colours--white and pink! I didn't even care, I didn't even think twice about it...it was a soother and I needed it. But boy did I ever get comments about it constantly. "He's a boy, he shouldn't have a pink soother" "He looks silly with a pink soother in his mouth"...to which I said "How exactly does he look silly?" and "He doesn't associate pink as being a girl's colour so it doesn't matter to him". I refuse to associate pink or even purple as strictly a girls colour. When I was talking to my cousin about my son's first birthday she asked me what he wanted...well he's 1 and he can't talk to be able to tell me, so I told her that he had a lot of trucks and cars already but he didn't have a doll and I thought it was important that he have a doll too. She refused to buy him a doll because she said that her husband wouldn't approve and she wasn't going to force him to buy a doll if he was against it...wtf? Luckily I have friends that feel the same as I do about gendered toys and she bought my son the "Lots to Love" baby that came with a soother, bottle, bib and potty---and ALL PINK! Well my son and his friends all love the baby and play with her constantly...even more than the tool bench, trucks and mega blocks that are strewn all over his bedroom. It just reinforces the fact that children are a clean slate, and they pick and choose their toys according to no particular influence. Children learn by example in all facets of life...so if we want our boys to grow up to be attentive, affectionate fathers that are willing to participate in all duties of child care, then why they hell won't we let them play with dolls? With girls it's a bit different because there's not so much of a stigma attached when they play with trucks and dirt. For some reason it's cute when girls want to play in mud puddles and then get dressed up for afternoon tea...but if a boy does it, we automatically assume he's going to grow up to be too feminine and possibly gay???

I don't really pay much attention to the gender norming that is constantly going on because I figure with my influence Gray will grow up to be a confident man, regardless of his sexual orientation or chosen profession.

Just something to think about. I have an aunt and cousin who are both pipe fitters (plumbers) and I have an uncle that is a nurse...my aunt has a boyfriend, my cousin is married with two kids, and my uncle is also married with two kids. Their jobs don't dictate their sexual orientation anymore than the colour of a kids toy/soother/shirt will dictate his/hers.

Charlie - posted on 04/23/2010




A little interesting note "At one point pink was considered more of a boy's color, (as a

watered-down red, which is a fierce color) and blue was more for

girls. The associate of pink with bold, dramatic red clearly affected

its use for boys. An American newspaper in 1914 advised mothers, "If

you like the color note on the little one's garments, use pink for the

boy and blue for the girl, if you are a follower of convention."

It would also seem that Nazi Germany had something to do with the

association of pink with femininity:

"Catholic traditions in Germany and neighboring countries reverse the

current color coding, because of the strong association of blue with

the Virgin Mary...the NAZIs in their concentration camps use a pink

triangle to identify homosexuals. (The yellow star of David is the

best known symbol, used of course to identify Jews. The German system

was quite complicated, using various symbols an colors to identify

criminals, political prisinors, an a whole range of other groups). The

NAZI's choice of pink suggests that it by the 1930s was a color that

in Germany had become associate with girls."

According to Jo B. Paoletti and Carol Kregloh, "The Children's

Department," in Claudia Brush Kidwell and Valerie Steele, ed., Men and

Women: Dressing the Part, (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989). -

In the United States: "The current pink for girls and blue for boys

wasn't uniform until the 1950's.

Oh and my local store sells pink and floral tools :)


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[deleted account]

Its not so much blue and pink with me its my daughter wanting to do things thats seen as only boys things to do like football or toys like cars thats looked down on by other parents because my daughter isn't being a girly girl that gets me mad.
Since the day my daughter had an interest in toys she loved a mix of toys she loved cars and prams ,teddys rather than dolls and as she grew older she just had a great mix of both toys and interests like football which she has been told is for boys and one day she was looking at boy wrestling figures and a young boy said you cant look at them there only for boys.Her face broke my heart.

My daughter is her own unique self and i encourage it from the way she wants to dress to the toys she wants to play with but not guns i dont allow her to play with guns.I think us as parents need to not push our feelings of boys with only boys toys and interests and girls the same because you can be holding your child back from being truly happy and do you really want that.
People may call my child a tom boy but its cool she will grow up to know her mom never held her back or stopped her from being her,being a care free child to play and explore how she wants.

Lindsay - posted on 05/03/2010




I LOVE the pink toys for my daughter! If I can get the same toy in pink instead of the gender neutral I always do! Whats funny is now my daughter goes straight for those items too! She has the usual girl toys, but my husband is into Nascar so she also plays with cars too. She also has a puzzle that the pieces are different tools and she likes to follow daddy around with the "hammer" and whack stuff when he's doing projects.

We have never gotten negative comments, everyone who sees her playing with her "vroom vrooms" knows it's because daddy likes to watch them.

[deleted account]

*nods* I had great issue with many of the staff and the supervisor at this center. It was actually what led to me making the switch to doing home child care.
Especially after they fired me for refusing to work over ratio. In Ontario we have legislation that determines how many children we can be left alone with in a child care center. The ratio for the classroom I was head teacher in is one staff to eight kids. Because they didn't want to pay an extra staff to cover breaks they tried to convince me to work over ratio through lunch to nap time with just me and 15 children (of which two had diagnosed special needs/behavioral problems).
Needless to say I put a call into the authorities who preside over these things after I was let go. In the end they were forced to close and more reputable center bought the place reopened.

Meghan - posted on 04/25/2010




that's a good point Haley, we have all been saying there isn't so much pressure put on little girls but yeah, girls are supposed to be nuturing and gentle. I don't think there is as big a stigma on it it but there def is a stereotype

Cortnie - posted on 04/24/2010




I do not get one comment about my daughters loving to play with trucks i just think there is to many pressures put on boys

Cortnie - posted on 04/24/2010




I agree with you my son plays dress up . I go and buy the costumes when they are like 2-3 bucks and they last till next halloween. he loves playing dress up with my 2 girls . It keeps him involved in things. He rather be involved than not involved. My son plays with dolls and trucks . he will drive the dolls around int he trucks and my daughter rather play with this trucks . toys are toys and kids will be kids.

Riana - posted on 04/24/2010




Much as I agree it is simply unavoidable. Girls will be girls (I have been waiting 8 years and Annika still has not grown out of her pink 'stage' so don't hold your breath Dana!) and Boys will be boys (in fact they don't even need toys as long as they have water and sand and something to jump on and off they seem content!) Boys and girls are naturally soooo different that it is simply unavoidable!

I find it most intriguing when my kids are sleeping - Annika rolls into a neat little ball and lies dead still till she wakes up, Kobus is al over the place kicking and rolling and often wakes up upside down. It is just amazing how fundamentally different they are!

But I do agree that the world needs strong woman and gentle men. Hats off to you for buying Josh a baby Meghan! I love it.

[deleted account]

I have a GIRL and I hate that EVERYTHING is PINK.......ENOUGH PINK ALREADY! Sheesh! Gender neutral colors please, with a splash of pink and blue here and there! LOL! I'm honestly surprised the toy companies are still marketing toys this way.....get with the times people!

Roxanne has 2 lil' mini toy cars......an orange muscle car and a blue truck like her daddy's and she keeps them with her carseat! She loves them!

Jessica - posted on 04/23/2010




That issue has ALWAYS bugged me! And yes I'd say it is more socially acceptable for girls to be tomboys than boys to be "girly" or whatever. Drives me nuts. And like how in all the commercials or ads I've ever seen for toy kitchens- there are ALWAYS girls playing with them! I'm going to try to get Kieran a wide range of toys to play with so that he can choose what things he likes best- and if he wants to play in a toy kitchen with a doll then that's fine with me!

[deleted account]

I look at it that we're not being soft on our boys, but we are helping them to become more well rounded human beings who are considerate and affectionate with their friends and family.

I'd write more, but my Monkey has decided start to be trouble hehe.

Meghan - posted on 04/23/2010




I am pretty sure my ex would flip his lid if he found ouy Josh has a baby. Needless to say, I don't pack it for him when they have a visit! And my guess is if a girl played with boy toys no one would say anything derogative about it...being a tomboy is a little more acceptable than being a "friut"..(sorry if that offends anyone I am just trying to get my point accros) I hear a lot of stuff from men saying I am to soft with Josh...and I need to toughen him up. Maybe because I choose to use a lot of gentle communication and kind words rather than spank or yell at him..We do get on the floor and play rough sometimes and for the most part he is very "boy like" He loves boobs, he loves cars and, he loves to jump and climb on things and if he doesn't end up being a basketball or football player (or even working in a factory making footballs or basketballs) I will be amazed!! But he is very cautious and can be pretty sensitive at times-if I do raise my voice to him you would think that I have beaten him by his response. He has been around nothing but woman for almost a year and I am not into playing cars and wrestling with him all the time.

[deleted account]

I know!!! I mean, yes we have a lot of "boy" toys here for my son - trucks, blocks, balls, tools, etc. I did have one doll (a male doll at that) and my partner didn't like it. I know at daycare he does tend to play a bit with the tea set and doll pram and stuff like that, which I think is great as he doesn't have this stuff at home.

Meghan, I also get the comments about "oh, he'll turn out gay". I wonder if a girl playing with "boys" toys would get the same comments??? (Anyone with daughters out there, have you had these comments?).

The other thing I've done at daycare is set up the "family play" area right next to the blocks/cars area, to try and encourage some of the gender cross-over... but I have to say, at daycare I haven't noticed any 'I'm a boy so I have to play with the blocks', the kids just play wherever they want to play.

I personally avoid the 'pink' aisle in any toy shop, and would probably do so even if I had a girl! It's too bright, it hurts my eyes lol.

Meghan - posted on 04/23/2010




Me and Jaime-Leigh where just talking about this!!

My son does have a lot of "boy" toys...he loves trucks and basketball and what not but he also loves my purse, so I gave him one of my old ones He also loves having his hair done..lol. He goes to the bathroom and pulls the curlers out and gets me or my mom to put them in for him. He also has a kitchen, which he loves and I admit I have put him in a dress ONCE!

I told some people at work that I found an old doll of mine and Joshua LOVES it. He calls it Baby Etty (Betty) and he cuddles her and gives her kisses and even feeds it! So a bunch of the guys where laughing and saying he was going to be gay because he has a doll...um, pretty sure it a. doesn't matter to me what his sexual preference is and if he is going to be gay it wont be because of this andb.I think it teaches him to be gentle and more affectionate. Now whenever he see's a baby he is very gently and pats them on the head and gives lots of kisses. But I have seen him drive a truck over his baby too...we just say, that's not how you treat babies and he stops andkisses her.

Bottom line, I don't care what toys my son plays with-esp since it helps me to get some stuff done around the house sometimes!

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