I know this video of a young woman berating corporate gender stereotypes has been making the rounds, but I just had to post it myself. I first saw it thanks to a posting on Facebook that my wife showed me and then peeped it over on Topless Robot, the Village Voice’s pop culture blog that I sometimes write for and my pal Rob Bricken runs.
As the father of a little girl corporate sponsored gender stereotypes and preconceived notions of what boys and girls should be weigh on me. I grew up without too much of that stuff and, while I mostly played with action figures of the Transformers, G.I. Joe and He-Man variety, I also had a My Little Pony. I don’t remember where it came from, if I asked for it or was given it, but it was there in all it’s purple glory. It wasn’t one of my favorite toys, but I do remember playing with it. Maybe I would have played with it more if I hadn’t been programmed to like “boy stuff” instead of “girl stuff” by my beloved television.
I personally don’t believe that one kind of toy is for one kind of person. I like action figures, but I had friends who were more into trucks and cars or building toys like Legos. I had a few of those toys, but you wind up knowing what you like. If my daughter wants to play with action figures–which will not be in short supply considering daddy’s many boxes of them in storage–that’s fine by me. Same if she wants dolls. Now she plays with a series of toys that don’t really have much gender identification, most of which are brightly colored animals and the like. My wife and I have even done a pretty good job of mixing up the sexes of her toys so some have boy names and others girl names.
The only problem I see with keeping things open for our daughter is potential backlash from other kids and parents. You can be as forward thinking and try to give your kids the best example possible, but sometimes they just want to be “normal” and fit in. The power of peer pressure can be intense and I understand that, but I also think that, if you can give your kid a good foundation of open-mindedness then they will be better equipped to handle an increasingly crazy world.