Monday, 30 November 2009

Gender Generalization - Right or Wrong ?

Right, so LOs are turning 2 next Saturday. Wooohooo !!!
Having a simple (but not small, as my Cypriot husband's family is quite big....) family lunch at my in-laws. Tried figuring out a good venue for the party, or maybe even doing it at home but in the end opted for the in-law option because it would be much easier for everyone, especially the LOs great-grandmother, as they all live on the same road !!!

Anyway, this post is not so much about the party planning but more about their presents.
Up until recently, I have been buying rather gender-neutral toys for both of them and sometimes even clothes so that they can share most things. Why not, it is not that they even mind....besides, I am not much for the pink for girl and blue for boy mentality.

Now when they are 2, their individuality and characters are becoming more developed and DD is becoming increasingly girlie and DS increasingly boyish. When we go to local playgroups, DD loves spending her time in the play kitchen "cooking" and DS will be at either the workbench playing with the tools,nuts and bolts, or he'd be playing with cars. I find this rather amazing, as at home they play with the same toys, I treat them exactly the same, they have the same friends etc. but somehow they are so different and they do excatly what they are supposed to do as a girl and as a boy.

Anyway, so coming to buying their birthday presents, I am facing a "dilemma" because although DD loves toy-kitchens and DS loves work-benches I didn't want to buy them exactly those two things (but I did BTW, as I believe this is what they would actually love getting) because I don't believe in or agree with gender generalizations.

I then received a call from my BIL, telling me that he bought a football kit for DS and wanted to buy dolly or something for DD. This made me angry.
I went on to have a whole conversation with DH, who also thinks football kits are for boys and not girls, about it. He thinks girls should be "girls" and boys should be "boys" and thinks that by me allowing my son to wear pink or even a skirt, or play with so called girl's toys if he wished, meant that I wanted him to be gay ! What ?!

OK, I did buy a stereo-typical girl's toy-kitchen for DD and work-bench for DS but not because of their gender but because this is what they choose to and enjoy playing with. If , let say DS wanted a pink toy-kitchen then I would have bought him the kitchen, not the work-bench. Is that wrong ?!

I so wish that I could tell everyone no presents on their birthday because I know what it will be .... cars and trains for DS and soft toys/dolls for DD (I really hope she won't get a Barbie !!!) but I guess that would be kind of mean as DS does like playing with cars/trains and DD with soft toys/dolls. I just don't want them to become "trained" to be or like certain things because they think the are suppose to...

Argghhh !!! How can we teach our children to do what they would like to do and not just what they are "suppose" to do when at such a young age, they already get pigeon holed in what is gender-specifically right or wrong for them !

Have you got any thoughts/comments on this ? Do you buy strictly boys toys for your boys and girls toys for your girls ? Maybe you think this is the way it should be ?

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