The other day I was browsing through the clothing section in Walmart looking for some cool graphic tees when I realized something. As a female some graphic tees are not meant for me to wear. I know you’re wonderring what the hell does she mean but let me explain. Certain chracters from pop culture are gender assigned for example pokemon. I love pokemon been watching it since I was a little girl but a majority of the time pokemon tees are usually found in the male section of the store.
So as I thought about it many items that we buy especially for our children are designed for genders and even reinforce gender stereotypes. Let’s take a look at Toys R Us ,the most popular toy store in America. It has everything toys,games,bikes all things kids and preteens love to indulge in. However the toys inside are gender based and buying your kid an item that doesn’t belong to their gender will give you some strange looks.
The Toys R Us near me has a pretty interesting setup. The section for young girls is colored pink while the boys section is designated with the color blue. Now as I begin to explain the toys help reinforce what girls should do and care about as well as the boys. The first group of toys in pink aisle number one is babydolls. Now these cute little things such as Baby Alive help to reiterate to young girls about the importance of motherhood and caring for your offspring. A parent can buy the baby and all its acessoceries such as diapers, car seat,stroller,baby bottles, clothing,bath time set,bed and many more. Now that is alot for a little girl but she needs to know how to be a good mother because as females we are expected to eventually marry and bare children.
Next is the barbie,bratz,moxie,monster high,disney princess & ever after high dolls. Dolls are played by many young girls are often scrutinized by parents for their apparel and high heels but these have a purpose. Dolls help set in the girls mind about fashion and looking good I mean why else are they referred to as fashion dolls, the Bratz slogan is a passion for fashion . However barbie is a bit better because she is the only barbie with a bunch of careers ranging from doctor to president, her own house and car ,Barbie is miss independent.
As one continues in the girls aisle, easy bake ovens,fake brooms,vacuum cleaners,shopping carts,makeup ,dress up are all things considered feminine and expected of females. Now what do the boys have? Well the boys have hot wheels,transformers because guys really like cars. Dress up clothing of ninjas,elvish warriors,pirates,knights,miltary which reinforce the notion that males are to protect. Then of course there is the avengers,wolverine,spider-man,superman,batman -all of these are superheros and help with the idea of protecting the damsel in distress. Notice in the girls section there is no black widow,wonder woman,supergirl or any other female superhero why? because you’re female just sit there and look pretty while the big strong man saves the day.
Boys also have the option of getting a fake chainsaw,lawn mower,leaf blower,hammer,nails etc which reminds boys that you are the man you fix things while the girls with their playhouses are inside cooking and cleaning with their pots and brooms. I will not lie in kindergarten during playtime in the house I was the wife and had my male friend be my pretend husband and he would come home and fix his dinner -oh yeah i was the perfect 1950’s housewife.
There are more but I think you get my point (hopefully) but I notice growing up that yes times are different and that this isn’t the middle ages or the 1950’s but that doesn’t mean that what is considered feminine and masculine has changed. Toys help reinforce these notions and parents help reiterate them at home even as your child grows up what is expected of him or her is determined by their gender and for those who feel as they were born as the wrong gender complications may arise because it does not fit into the box society has placed.