Thursday, December 13, 2007
It’s getting harder to shop for toys for my kid every year. It’s not just because every single cheap toy that we average earners can afford seems to come with a bonus service— free lead poisoning. Actually, I used to play with cheap, lead-coated toys when i was a kid and look at what that made me— insane and loving it.
Although I still do worry over the paint messing with my child’s cells and making a better monster out of her, my real problem is the issue of gender toys.
My daughter loves playing with cars, action figures and basketballs. We didn’t teach her that. She does have at least three feminine dolls that she has so neglected that dust has now made dreadlocks out of their hair.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with my daughter’s toy preferences but my blood boils over when people call my attention. Society says girls should play with little tea cups and anatomically impossible dolls in pink tutus.
I was wondering, if my daughter absolutely refuses to host perpetual tea parties for rewinds of Ken and Barbie’s wedding, preferring instead to fight crime with Batman and Robin, would that make her any less female? Would she suddenly forget that she doesn’t have balls and insist that she can grow facial hair just as well as her father?
Honestly, I’m afraid that society’s stress on gender toys might confuse her about what she really wants for herself. She can grow up preferring to be a member of the third gender but I want her to make that decision not because people told her she wasn’t a normal girl.
Believe me, I’ve been there. For a time I thought I wanted to be a guy just because I played with G.I Joe and Voltes V until I met my husband who could spit farther than me, looked more manly than me and shared my passion for little katana-wielding plastic toys that could bend their knees and arms. So then I wanted to become a girl because he liked girls who liked boys and not girls who liked girls and would compete with him for the attention of other girls (whew!).
I want my daughter to know that she can still be female if she wants to even if she likes racing cars and shooting hoops. But gender toys are a reality so I would have to deal with that. At least my daughter likes pink over any other color. Maybe I can just buy her pink wheels and Barbie with a pink broadsword.