Wednesday, December 12, 2012

gender-swapped toys

It's a small step but significant for humanity (or at least for us feminists) that a toy store in Sweden has published a toy catalog where the traditional gender roles have been swapped. As seen in the picture, boys are depicted playing with "traditional girl toys" such as a dollhouse and a doll, while a girl is depicted playing with a Nerf gun, which is typically a boy's toy. I am glad that slowly but surely we are dismissing traditional gender roles and acknowledging that WE are the ones who put labels on objects. Why can't a boy play with a doll? If our expectation is that boys will one day become fathers, shouldn't they have the same experiences girls have with dolls so they can "practice" being a parent? That is what's expected from girls since a very early age.

As happy as I was to see this picture, the way I came across it was not necessarily pleasant. A Facebook friend posted the picture and the news along with his thoughts on the subject: "Por eso hay que estar bien aferrados a Dios" (trans. That's why we have to hold on tight to God). Now, I am a Christian and I believe in God, but I also understand that the Bible and some of the practices depicted there are dated. We are talking about a book written a couple of thousand years ago. Yes, in those times men were the head of the family and women were to be subjected to the men, and yes it was a patriarchal society, although we still have those nowadays. Everyone is entitled to their own ideas of how children should be raised, but God doesn't have anything to do with this. Why would someone say that we need to hold on to God just because boys are playing with dolls and girls are playing with "boys' toys"? Unless he made this comment specifically about playing with guns (in general), which may lead to violence, I don't see the point in mixing God or religion in this situation.
I think it is great that children can play with the toys they choose and not feel bad about it. As long as they are safe (and I mean that their lives or the lives of others aren't at risk), we should encourage children to break the boundaries of gender and enjoy what they like.

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