Gendered toys

#1

Excuse typos and brevity, on phone at school at the end of the day! Had a head desk moment with my ta today. We had various toys out on tables for the party this afternoon - cars, polydron, popoids, lego , small world animals etc. Ta says “it’s a shame we haven’t got any girls lego”. My eyes nearly pop out. I explain we have non gendered toys, tge lego is for boys AND girls, and in fact there were plenty of girls who had a great time playing with the cars. I explain that I disagree with toys being for girls or boys etc etc etc. Ta says “it’s a shame we don’t have any girls lego…” as if I hadn’t said anything at all. Aaaaaaaaaaargh!! How can I do anything in school that will have a positive impact when there are people like that - she’s a mother with a girl and boy and you know the messages those kids will be getting at home. It all feels rather depressing.

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#2

I sympathise. I’d find that really very frustrating. Maybe send her to http://www.lettoysbetoys.org.uk/

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#3

If this comes up again … I know it’s tempting to rant, but people are passive. Ask the question. What do you mean? If you don’t get a good answer, ask, “do you think Lego is for boys? Why do you think that?” And so on. If you let her talk, she’s forced to articulate - and defend- what she thought. She may surprise you.

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#4

Thinking afterwards, I should have politely asked her if she thinks girls can’t play with the normal Lego. I find it difficult to discuss these sort of things in person as I feel very passionately about them (though the TA doesn’t seem to notice!) I shall definitely take your suggested approach next time (if there is a next time - we’re swapping TAs after Christmas, hurrah!) 

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#5

The trouble is I think her reaction would just be “It’s just nice for the girls” with little more than that as, bless her little cotton socks, she’s not the brightest button in the box. Other discussions have ended up this way as I don’t think she’s ever had to, or wanted to, challenge or defend her ideas. She just thinks like that so that’s that. I shall definitely still try asking if there is another time, though.

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#6
The trouble is I think her reaction would just be "It's just nice for the girls" with little more than that as, bless her little cotton socks, she's not the brightest button in the box. Other discussions have ended up this way as I don't think she's ever had to, or wanted to, challenge or defend her ideas. She just thinks like that so that's that. I shall definitely still try asking if there is another time, though.

All the more reason to prod people. I had an interesting (and pretty much unrelated) chat about giving stuff to people begging. Someone said that they go and buy folk a sandwich rather than give money “because that’s useful, right? And they’d only go and spend money on drink/drugs”

Now I don’t like that - I think it’s patronising, assumes addiction issues in all street people, it’s judgemental, and it places the donor in the position of “deciding” who is worthy of a donation. I think you either give folk money with no strings attached, (which is what they’re asking for) or you don’t. I make a monthly donation to shelter so I don’t feel the need to make the choice.

Anyway, the point was that I just asked her “why do you think giving food is better?” “But it’s their life - why should you be the one to choose what they spend money on? What if they already ate, and need money for soap? What if they do spend it on booze - don’t you buy booze?” And so on. I was very annoying, but challenging her to confront the tacit assumption she was making that all homeless people have drink problems - an extremely common narrative, if you prod people. And to be fair to her, she did say that she’d never thought of it like that before and I’d given her food for thought.

The “But why?” strategy can be very effective sometimes.

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#7

I’d like to be better at that sort of thing, so very useful, thank you :slight_smile:

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#8

Interesting article discussing issues relating to gender bias and neutrality in children.

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#9

Another interesting article explaining how gender divides in toys are much worse today than they were in decades past. It’s US-centric but I think it’s probably applicable to much of the western world. I love the final paragraph!

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#10

Really rather depressing that things were better 40 years ago in the seventies. 

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#11

And yes, that last paragraph is brilliant and the perfect rebuttal to a certain online friend I have who would argue that her daughter loves pink and people shouldn’t try to prevent that. It’s not about saying no to pink, but saying yes to all for all genders!


An interesting aside - if we had a truly gender neutral society (not that I think that is either possible or even necessarily desirable) I wonder what impact it would have on transgendered people. 
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#12

Perhaps a bit of a derail, but I came across this today.


http://makezine.com/craft/artist-upcycles-dolls-by-giving-them-makeunders/

The artist repaints second-hand Barbie, Bratz and other dolls she finds in charity shops, so that they look more ‘natural’. Thought they looked quite sweet.
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#13
Perhaps a bit of a derail, but I came across this today.

http://makezine.com/craft/artist-upcycles-dolls-by-giving-them-makeunders/

The artist repaints second-hand Barbie, Bratz and other dolls she finds in charity shops, so that they look more 'natural'. Thought they looked quite sweet.

They’re… Deeply…weird.cant put my finger on it, but they’re odd.


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#14

It could be that the proportions are odd for the painting. Or that we’re used to dolls with big eyes?

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#15

I much prefer the make-undered dolls. They remind me of a particular type of doll… gargh, can’t remember what they are. I think they were made in the UK and are no longer made. My best friend when I was small had some and I loved them as they were less cartoonish than other dolls. 


Also, was it here or somewhere else that had a link to an article about a doll made to be realistic; they gave it to a group of young children and videoed their responses - they all loved it. Damn my rubbish memory! Aha, an easy Google, that one - Lammily
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#16

Are you thinking of Sindy - the British barbie? My mum had one which we inherited but it got lost years ago.

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#17

No, had a few of them. The ones I am thinking of were larger, and had a variety of skin tones. Doh, that’s going to annoy me until I find out what they were!!

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#18

SASHA DOLLS!! That’s them! Looking at pictures of them now they are ever so slightly freaky.

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#19

Oh, I’ve not heard of them, but they look a bit like one my sister had. They aren’t the same - my sister’s was one that you could make ‘talk’ using different discs and it had hair which got SOOOO tangled. I spent hours brushing it only for my sister to mess it up within minutes. It might be why I shaved the hair off my only doll!

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#20

I hated dolls as a kid. They disturbed me. I was bought a doll with pram, so I threw the doll out and put the cat in the pram instead. 

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