The fight against gender stereotyping is at the forefront of feminism. We want women and men to have equal opportunities not only in our career choices but also in our education, our passions and our dreams. As parents we are screwing up our kids in a million and one ways but the longer we can help them believe that their gender doesn't matter, the better.
There are fierce campaigns against the colour pink, the traiditonal feminist Public Enemy Number 1. Also for a movement against gender stereotying, there can be a little leaning towards man-hating. I prefer to embrace the positive - let everyone enjoy pink. Let's celebrate projects like A Mighty Girl and Toward the Stars. And let's be realistic, we all have imbuilt prejudices based on gender stereotyping - let's work on those rather than pretending they aren't there.
Here are some posts you might like:
- Would you send your daughter to a girls' school?
- Stories for girls? Stories for boys? We all like dinosaurs and tutus in my house!
- On princesses
- Besotted with boys
- Reclaiming pink
Let Toys Be Toys Campaign
Let Toys Be Toys is asking retailers to stop limiting children’s interests by promoting some toys as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys. Toys are for fun, for learning, for stoking imagination and encouraging creativity. Children should feel free to play with the toys that most interest them. Isn’t it time that shops stopped limiting our children’s imagination by telling them what they ought to play with? The answer is simple – we’re asking retailers and manufacturers to sort toys by theme or function, rather than by gender, and let the children decide which toys they enjoy best.
- Sign the Let Toys Be Toys petition.
- Tell retailers what you think. See the Let Toys Be Toys Contact Retailers Page for tips and contact details for some major toy retailers.
- Donate. If you feel strongly about this issue, please make a gift to support the cause.
Consumer affairs Minister Jenny Wilmott has argued that we are harming children's career chances and even the economy by segregating children's play, see news item here.
Let Books Be Books
Children are listening, and take seriously the messages they receive from books, from toys, from marketing and the adults around them. Do we really want them to believe that certain things are off-limits for them because of their gender?
Just like labelling toys for girls or boys, we think these book titles are limiting and restrictive. It's time that publishers Let Books Be Books and leave children free to choose their interests for themselves. Sign the Let Books Be Books petition now.
What about manufacturers?
I'm also interested in contacting manufacturers who make gender specific toys or toys that present gender stereotypes as the norm. Everyone recognises Barbie and Disney princesses but there are a lot more subtle ways that gender stereotyping is prevalent in toys.
letter received a lot of publicity worldwide.
Le Toy Van produce wooden dolls called budkins that follow 1950s stereotypes; male doctor, policeman, pirate, cowboy, knight; female nurse, fairy and cleaner!
There is definitely some letter writing to do here. I'd be interested to hear if you have any particular bugbears!