“boys” toys played with in “girl” style…….

…….and vice versa!

Now I should preface this with the fact that I don’t go in for gender stereotypes at all however I am well aware they exist. Handbags and fairy wings are bought for boys in our household as well as for girls just as trucks and cars are bought for girls as well as for boys!

My interesting observation lately (at least I think it is interesting! 😆 ) has been what looks like the gender stereotypical way my children play with toys that are not specific to their gender!

Work with me on this! 😉

So, Isabelle and Samuel’s cousin gave them a heap of monster trucks and cars on the weekend. I was playing with Isabelle with them today…..she LOVES them!  I was revving them and crashing them into other cars/trucks/objects in the games room and getting quite into the huge monster truck wheels mounting her shoes (that were off and in the middle of the floor) and crashing over them. Isabelle pulled me into line quickly! The trucks were all named (Jake, Jade, Anchor, and Angy) and they did NOT want to crash everywhere they wanted to go to the post office to post some letters. They didn’t want to crash up the curb when they got there or rear-end each other 😆 they wanted to park neatly and chat to each other and then they wanted to go for coffee (we NEVER do this – we are not a cappuccino/baby cino family!).

Then I watch Samuel. He puts on high heeled shoes, he slings a pink bag over his shoulder and he marches to the front door. He waves and says “bye bye, work” and pretends to open the door. Then he scuttles form the door to the big toy car in the lounge room and hops in, throws his handbag down, and makes revving noises as he “leaves for work”

I am just fascinated by the fact that I have these 2 beautiful children who really to the best of my knowledge haven’t been specifically exposed to gender stereotypes (any more than the average child out and about in today’s world) and are more than happy to play with toys that are stereotypically not associated with their gender yet they play with them in such a girly or such a masculine way.

How does this happen? Is it inate? Is it the very small amounts of TV they watch? Is it watching older children in the family? Is it me? Is it my husband?

It doesn’t matter, it’s just interesting………I think! 🙂

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Julie on September 14, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    It is very interesting isn’t it. The other day H was playing with some trucks. They were lined up in neat lines facing one another chatting LOL. No bashing and crashing there either. I think that they do mimic us and the other adults around them For example, Daddy is the one who plays the rough and tumble games in our house, and H honestly believes boys are rough. It’s something that I constantly challenge but she’s quite set about this being the way the world is (well her world anyway). I frequently notice the girls “playing” real life scenarios and find it quite fascinating really.


  2. I think it’s hilarious how both my boys (C nearly 3 & H just turned 1) both starting making car sounds before they were one without us even teaching them or having really played with cars with them! My mum was wondering what sounds little boys made before there were engines!?! 😉


  3. Very interesting post. My husband & I try to maintain a very gender-neutral home. Both children play with blocks, cars, doll house & dolls, dinosaurs, kitchen…we feel childhood is all about exploring the world and learning, learning, learning. But we have notice distinct differences in the manner in which our children play. Perhaps it is age difference, but our girl plays out scenarios, loves organizing,and takes up a smaller amount of space when she plays. I don’t know how to describe it, except to compare it to her brother who takes up the entire house when playing, and is fascinated with noise-making, moving, crashing objects.

    I think some of it is innate, some of it is learned through media influences. We don’t allow Disney princesses or weapons into our home. Luckily, my kids are still at ages that I have a lot of control over what they are exposed to. On the first day of preschool last week, my daughter was the only girl who did not have a princess or pink backpack — she choose a handmade yellow bag with fuschia and green spiders…


  4. I think it’s both. Partly innate and partly environment. I wouldn’t underestimate how much they pick up from tv and other folks, even if parents try not to impart gender stereotypes. And even when we try not to, we may not be entirely successful. After all, we’re steeped in those stereotypes. That said, I do think it’s partly innate. Untangling how much is nature and how much is nurture is the tricky part.


  5. Great blog. We posted it on our website, http://www.truechild.org.


  6. Posted by Miatta on September 15, 2009 at 6:39 am

    I have found this too. My girls have cars, but a car game involves the mummy car, the daddy car and the baby car…..


  7. Posted by Jess on September 15, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    That all being said, at Playtime today it was the girls (i.e. 16-18mth olds) who were “brooming” around the room with the ride-on cars. The boys (about 2 year olds) were the ones running around squealing.
    Watching the slighty older kids and I can definately see the “girls” play and “boys” play coming out.


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