One of my dear friends, whose boys are 10 and 7, has waged an ongoing battle with a number of fast-food chains in town.
Nothing gets her blood pressure up like ordering a kid’s meal and having the cashier ask, “Boy or girl toy?” She is very emphatic that her son should be able to choose the My Little Pony toy, or her niece the Transformers widget, without being “labeled”. (She reports that the fast food chain headquarters state that the question should be phrased as “My Little Pony or Transformers?” but that rarely happens in practice.)
I love to dress our girls in pink and purple and buttercup yellow dresses. I think that’s half the fun of having little girls! And they have a couple of dolls, and it’s so sweet to see them cuddle their “babies”. But at least for every doll, I’d be willing to bet they have a dump truck or fire engine, and the vast majority of their toys are gender-neutral blocks, nesting cups, and stacking rings.
The girls’ room is painted a soothing green, and they dressed as pumpkins – not princesses – for their first Halloween. I’ll be fine with painting their room a sickening shade of bright pink, and letting them pretend to be Cinderella one day, but I want it to be of their own accord. I figure they’ll get there soon enough without me “suggesting” it to them at this young age.
I recently bought the girls a ride-on / push toy. I had the option of a bright pink and purple one, but I instead chose the one in primary colors. The girls loved the toy, and I sent Hubby to the store to buy a second one. He came home [with a bright pink and purple one] and asked me, “Why did you buy the ‘boy’ one? Didn’t you see the ‘girl’ one?”
Huh??? Don’t tell me that Dear Hubby has succumbed to the color-gender stereotypes!
I didn’t go so far as to make him return the bright pink toy, but we had a good conversation about the options we hope to offer the girls as they grow older.
I certainly don’t want to deter our girls from playing with dolls and make-believe pots and pans. And I hope they’ll enjoy accompanying me for mani-pedi’s and tea and crumpets one day. But I also want them to appreciate that their mama is no stranger to a hammer and screwdriver, and she can negotiate a mortgage refinance with the best of them.