Dolls for Girls and Cars for Boys? Not Anymore!
Dolls for girls and cars for boys? Not anymore! With so many toys that challenge our stereotypes, are simply fun, or spark a child¹s imagination, we don¹t have to pigeonhole children into specific toy preferences. As a mother of two kids, I play with both dolls and cars with my boys, who are 1 and 3 years old.
Why do boys play with cars and girls play with dolls? It’s a question most of us have asked at some point. Dolls, which appear to resemble babies, are thought to stimulate nurturing and caring impulses. Cars, on the other hand, are associated with independence and power. While all children may be both helpful and competitive at times, it is thought that dolls help girls develop those characteristics more naturally than cars help boys develop such behaviours.
As a child, teddy bears, dolls and most other toys not made specifically for boys were forbidden. It seems that many people assume boys won't touch anything remotely "girly", which is the key culprit of gender disparity in the toy department. Like almost everything else, this belief is completely false. There are plenty of toys that boys enjoy and explore but when they're young they can still be punished for playing with them.
Gone are the good ol’ days where a nice boy was supposed to play with cars, and a nice girl was supposed to play with dolls. The world has changed and it’s time that we open our eyes and wake up.
Play has been a constant in human history, but what we play with may have changed as our culture has evolved. Most often this evolution comes from technological developments, but it can be argued that the gender-oriented toys and games we tend to give boys and girls also play a role in shaping their development.
A study compared 4,000 toys and games marketed in the U.S. and found that one-third of toys were categorized as "girl toys" (such as dolls, household appliances, and grooming kits) or "boy toys" (such as action figures, toy guns, and construction sets).
The researchers found that three categories of play objects were predominantly marketed to girls: appearance and beauty, nurturing play and eraser play. Appearance and beauty toys included (among others) makeup kits, mirrors, clothing irons, brush sets, and pink princess beds with heart decals. Nurturing play objects included things like baby dolls , highchairs , Easy Bake Ovens , and bathroom clean-up kits . Eraser play objects included crafts kits (like jewellery making kits), scrapbooking supplies, art stationery sets , tea sets , and sewing kits .
Three categories of play objects were predominantly marketed to boys: knowledge play; rough-and-tumble outdoor play; weaponry. Knowledge objects include science kits and chemistry sets. Rough-and-tumble outdoor toys include things like trucks , cars , dump trucks, tool belts , compasses , matchbox cars/trucks (the kind you race), farming equipment, tools for soldiering
Technology and even gender roles have changed so much that it is hard to believe that there was a time when “blue was meant for boys and pink was meant for girls”.What is not widely known and appreciated is that these popular-belief explanations for why girls play with dolls and boys play with cars are not at all supported by the facts. A careful review of the most-cited scientific studies in support of these claims will show you that there simply isn’t any credible evidence to suggest that children of either gender generally prefer toys that facilitate more vigorous activity or that such preferences are also innate or due to biological determinism.