OK, at the very least, can we all agree that we have no fucking idea what boys and girls are “naturally” like?
Buzzfeed has a great post “16 Ways The Toy Industry Is Stuck in the Stone Age” that you should check out. Here is one photo:
This is a rattle for babies! Babies.
I know its easy to gasp at this post, as great writer Lisa Belkin tweets she did. I went bug-eyed. But, more importantly, we all need to look at how this marketing influences us as parents. No one is immune.
Just today, I went with my daughter’s class to a show at the Contemporary Jewish museum on writer Ezra Jack Keats. Keats’s Snowy Day is the first published children’s book by a white author to feature an African-American protagonist. Much of the show was devoted to the breaking of this boundary, and the all white world of kid lit. Next series of art in the show? A book where Peter, the protag is upset that a baby girl is coming into the family and everything is getting painted pink. His transition? In the end, the boy helps his dad pinkwash the new room.
I felt like it was so ironic that we were just talking about color and breaking boundaries and stereotypes, and then this. How many books we read lovingly to our kids, how many movies do we take them too, that show them, repeatedly, in so many ways that girls wants diamond ring rattles while boys want saw rattles? And the challenge is Keats books aren’t plastic and tacky, they are drop-dead gorgeous.
So how do we find our way out of the gender matrix? A first step, I think, is trying not to point the finger at others, be aware of our own biases as best as we can, and, most importantly, how we may passing those biases on to our kids.