Tag Archives: gender

Another throwaway comment

My last post dealt with how a teacher dealt, in my opinion, wrongly, with a request for advice from a parent. Today I relate another anecdote showcasing the throwaway comments with which, without realizing, we burden our children with stereotypes. Continue reading

Advice, Guns and….Gender

There are a lot of throwaway comments that have ‘gender issues’. ‘Boys will be boys’ is a classic – used to explain all kinds of behavior from a love of toys cars to sexual harassment.

Today, however, I was present during a conversation when a concerned mother asked a pre-school teacher for advice. Her 4 year old son had some playmates who had recently become interested in pretending to use guns (using props if no toy guns were around). The son was not showing any interest in this sort of play, and the mother was concerned that he would lose friends if he didn’t play these sorts of games. Continue reading

The Colour Puzzle

From the front lines of the gender divide in Toyland, I bring you this new report.

Recently, I wanted to order some personalized puzzles for BabyBoy and BabyGirl. There are several companies out there which will make a puzzle out of the letters of your child’s name, which I thought was both cute and mildly educational. Continue reading

If parents can stop it, why don’t they?

blue milk

Whenever you hear a parent criticising the sexualisation of children in the media, or pretty much saying anything critical about marketing for children, you won’t have long to wait before you’ll hear the very snappy retort – “if you didn’t buy it they wouldn’t sell it”. Individual parental responsibility – an argument exquisite in its simplicity and condemnation. An argument which on one hand acknowledges the potential dangers of marketing but which on the other sees absolutely no role for collective responsibility. An argument which measures the collective outcomes in terms of individual success – good parents and bad parents. An argument which tells you that the problems you’ve got with the sexualising of children are really problems with your own failure to adequately insulate your children. But it is a seductive argument, even for parents because it allows us all to wag our fingers at the bad parent’s moral inferiority and simultaneously congratulate ourselves. No matter how badly you’re doing there will always be a parent failing more spectacularly than you.


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