Lately I visited a reputed stationery store to buy my sons school supplies. I asked the person at the counter to give me a box of pencils. In return he asked, “Boy or a Girl?”. I was surprised and asked him how does it matter. He pulled out two boxes- a pink box with girl written on it which had pink pencils and blue box with boy written on it which had blue pencils !!
In a world where we are trying to achieve gender equality, pencils have a gender… We are not realising these subtle ways in which we are promoting gender stereotype and disparity. If we want ourself to be treated equally irrespective of our gender, we must first implement this with our children.
In adulthood we applaud men who share household responsibilities, who are sensitive towards women. But we get uncomfortable when our son picks a doll over a superhero, or plays with a kitchen set more often than his cars. Can you imagine the confusion they would breed in their head?
“If dad cooks and cleans it’s a good thing, mummy tells her friends, but if I play kitchen set it’s a girly thing to do?”
“Mom drives me around and protects me, but my toy sets only have princesses who need to be rescued?”
Be aware of what message you are sending out to your children. Stop assuming girls only like dolls and pink things. If you have never bought her a set of cars or a tool set how would she even know whether she is interested in playing with them. Stereotypes limit
The purpose of buying toys apart from entertainment, is to help them develop skills. It’s important to know that all skills are important for all. A girl will have to fix a furniture and a boy will have to cook for himself!! Make them future ready, don’t limit their skill development. Make sure your son has dolls and role play sets so that he develops a sensitive attitude and cares for others. Make sure your daughter has cars and superheroes so that she develops competitiveness and belief in her self. Let your children experience all toys irrespective of their gender, give them the same opportunity.
Stop this Pink and Blue. Today it seems only a toy, but tomorrow this will lead to an attitude. Make the shift. Dont shy away from telling your friends that your son likes to play with dolls. It does not make him ‘panzy’ it makes you a parent who is raising a child for an equal world.
Complement your daughters often on what they can do opposed to telling them how pretty they look. Tell your sons they can cry and express themselves the way they want.
Children mirror their parents, nothing teaches them more than experience, let them see work and responsibilities have no gender and toys have no gender. Let them Play let them Be Equal.
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