Should Boys Play With Dolls?
Why is there a stigma about boys playing with dolls and girls playing with trucks? Should toys be gender defined? Don’t we want our children to grow up believing that they can do anything they want to do or be anything they want to be?
These questions are brought about by stereotyping in our society. This comes from antiquated views on our gender roles. That women should be the carers and nurturers and men should do the heavy lifting. But I know plenty of fantastic stay at home Dads, and many women dominating careers in male heavy environments.
Men as Nurturers
We want our husbands and partners to be great Dads, but the foundations for this start at a very young age. Young children learn from what they see and experience. It is natural for our children to want to mimic daily behaviour in their pretend play. That is why dolls are such a popular play choice for young children, they often see their parents caring for babies. They want to copy this behaviour regardless of their sex.
On the one hand there are often comments that there are too few male teachers and too few male nurses in our society. But on the other hand, there is very little encouraging men to take up these career paths. Teaching and nursing are often thought of as career paths for women. But why?
Is it because they are nurturing roles, a trait historically considered maternal? Men are almost discouraged from taking these career paths by the negative comments society makes. You often see jokes about it on television and in movies. “Oh, a male nurse, that’s a bit of a girly job isn’t it?” Cue canned laughter from the audience. Personally I see nothing funny about someone wanting to dedicate their working hours to helping others!
Are Dolls “Girly?”
I say codswallop! Our children should be able to be whatever they want to be and their choices on toys (and careers much further down the track) should not be dictated by gender stereotyping. I vividly remember my 4 year old daughter playing dress ups with her friends at her home educator’s house. They all wanted to be fairies, so donned pink fairy tutus complete with wands, wings and headbands. The friends didn’t care that there was a boy in their midst wearing a pink fairy dress. They wanted to include him in their play and he wanted to join in the fun.
If a group of 4 year olds can see past gender stereotypes, why can’t many adults?!
So I say, let our boys play with dolls. They can foster their love for all things baby at a young age. This will translate into excellent fathers for the future. They may want to extend their love of caring even further and become teachers, nurses or doctors when they ‘grow up’.
We should also let our girls play with trucks, diggers, transformers and super heroes. They have all the skills to succeed in male dominated areas such as engineering and sciences.
So, should boys play with dolls? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.
Gemma is a kiwi Mum of one and is the Editor for The Baby View. She also works with preschool children, loves cooking, loves sunshine, loves chocolate and loses countless hours at a time looking at cute baby pictures on Instagram!