Gender stereotypes are the worst am i right? I mean none of us asked to be judged and perceived in a particular way because of the genitals we were born with. We’re boxed and pigeonholed into neat little categories the first moment our parents see that ultra sound. Sometimes it seems like our childhood is dictated by two seemingly harmless colours. Pink or blue.
Little girls are given dolls and tea sets while boys are encouraged to play outside with toy trucks and action figures that sell tales of adventure and action. Of course times are definitely changing and more and more parents are realizing the unconscious ways in which they gender stereotype their own children as the result of learnt behaviour that they have been socialized into themselves.
On the face of it, some would argue, so what if little girls are given dollies and boys monster trucks? They’re just children and that’s the toys we grew up with as well. Of course there’s nothing wrong when you look at it that way, but look a little deeper and you’ll find that pushing your child towards a certain stereotype (i.e girls should not engage in rough play or boys should not play with dolls) results in fencing or boxing them hence limiting the recognition of their own abilities.
This is not only damaging to their self worth and self esteem but also teaches them that there is a very specific way they can act in the world as they grow up. Give little children all sorts of toys, not ones that you may associate with their gender. Gender neutral toys such as legos and puzzles are not only more mentally stimulating but also teach kids problem solving skills.
The implications of rigid gendered socialization are grave and may not only limit your child’s potential but also their desire to explore the world beyond their own perceived stereotypical understanding.
Expose your children to the right kind of media influences, ones that focus on developing skills and learning new things rather than ones that are still caught up with physical appearance and simply having a good time. Yes, television is supposed to be fun but that doesn’t mean it cant be educational either.
That being said, there is nothing wrong with either traditionally masculine or feminine traits themselves. And most times when parents wish to address this issue they focus solely “fixing” traits stereo typically associated with women and girls. Being equipped to deal with emotions or being a good communicator are GOOD skills and should not be regarded as any less important as any other traits.
If your daughter likes the colour pink or your son enjoys getting dirty, you should never stop them from doing what they love. The whole point of this entire debate is to not limit your children in any way.