Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gender binaries and children

Beware workers of fast food chains. If I happen to overhear you asking "Would you like a girls toy or boys toy?" Youre going to get an earful. Likewise, if you automatically give little girls Barbie toys and little boys Transformers, prepare for a speech. It is NOT difficult to ask "Would you like a Barbie toy or a Transformers toy?" A few more syllables in your sentence wont kill you. And the little girl who wants the race car or the little boy who wants the Little Pet Shop dog wont feel like embarrassed. When my nephew was younger he really enjoyed dolls. We were at McDonalds once and he got some "boy" toy in his meal but he knew that they had Madame Alexander doll for toys as well. So we went up to the counter and this awesome three year old put the toy he got on the counter and told the worker he wanted a doll instead.
Recently the kids came home from Burger King with crowns. Those crowns were a big part of my childhood, I remember being almost more excited for a crown than a toy when we went to Burger King. So when the kids came in I told them how cool they were... and then I took a closer look. The crowns I grew up with, that existed for years, were a uniform gold with colored jewels and the logo on them. Not anymore. Now they are decorated with the cartoon characters that promote the restaurant. But theres another difference. And its a big one to me. There are now "prince" crowns and "princess" crowns. Alex's crown was the same basic shape as the original, but Josie's was shaped more like a tiara, thinner and coming up to a point in the middle. There is NO reason for this! Kids of all ages and genders used to play with the gold crowns, I doubt there was EVER a complaint that they were too masculine. And its NOT about womens-lib and making sure that the girls are equal. With one design everyone was equal. Now, theyre segregated. This makes me think about Egalia again and wish that we could have more of that perspective here. To open peoples minds and let our kids grow to be who they really are, without the stressors of gender.

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