HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Good Reads (Forum) » You Can Give a Boy a Doll...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 06:07 PM

You Can Give a Boy a Doll, but You Can't Make Him Play With It

Christina Hoff Sommers - The Atlantic

Is it discriminatory and degrading for toy catalogs to show girls playing with tea sets and boys with Nerf guns? A Swedish regulatory group says yes. The Reklamombudsmannen (RO) has reprimanded Top-Toy, a licensee of Toys"R"Us and one of the largest toy companies in Northern Europe, for its "outdated" advertisements and has pressured it to mend its "narrow-minded" ways. After receiving "training and guidance" from RO equity experts, Top-Toy introduced gender neutrality in its 2012 Christmas catalogue. The catalog shows little boys playing with a Barbie Dream House and girls with guns and gory action figures. As its marketing director explains, "For several years, we have found that the gender debate has grown so strong in the Swedish market that we have had to adjust."

Swedes can be remarkably thorough in their pursuit of gender parity. A few years ago, a feminist political party proposed a law requiring men to sit while urinating—less messy and more equal. In 2004, the leader of the Sweden's Left Party Feminist Council, Gudrun Schyman,proposed a "man tax"—a special tariff to be levied on men to pay for all the violence and mayhem wrought by their sex. In April 2012, following the celebration of International Women's Day, the Swedes formally introduced the genderless pronoun "hen" to be used in place of he and she (han and hon).

Egalia, a new state-sponsored pre-school in Stockholm, is dedicated to the total obliteration of the male and female distinction. There are no boys and girls at Egalia—just "friends" and "buddies." Classic fairy tales like Cinderella and Snow White have been replaced by tales of two male giraffes who parent abandoned crocodile eggs. The Swedish Green Party would like Egalia to be the norm: It has suggested placing gender watchdogs in all of the nation's preschools. "Egalia gives a fantastic opportunity to be whoever they want to be," says one excited teacher. (It is probably necessary to add that this is not an Orwellian satire or a right-wing fantasy: This school actually exists.)

The problem with Egalia and gender-neutral toy catalogs is that boys and girls, on average, do not have identical interests, propensities, or needs. Twenty years ago, Hasbro, a major American toy manufacturing company, tested a playhouse it hoped to market to both boys and girls. It soon emerged that girls and boys did not interact with the structure in the same way. The girls dressed the dolls, kissed them, and played house. The boys catapulted the toy baby carriage from the roof. A Hasbro manager came up with a novel explanation: "Boys and girls are different."

http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2012/12/you-can-give-a-boy-a-doll-but-you-cant-make-him-play-with-it/265977/?google_editors_picks=true

44 replies, 4775 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 44 replies Author Time Post
Reply You Can Give a Boy a Doll, but You Can't Make Him Play With It (Original post)
undeterred Dec 2012 OP
Warpy Dec 2012 #1
HockeyMom Dec 2012 #5
RainDog Dec 2012 #18
surrealAmerican Dec 2012 #7
john-davidnj5 Dec 2012 #44
Lucky Luciano Dec 2012 #2
Ash_F Dec 2012 #3
niyad Dec 2012 #4
lolly Dec 2012 #15
niyad Dec 2012 #20
lolly Dec 2012 #21
Mass Dec 2012 #6
lolly Dec 2012 #16
undeterred Dec 2012 #19
Igel Dec 2012 #23
undeterred Dec 2012 #26
TrogL Dec 2012 #24
Shrek Dec 2012 #25
undeterred Dec 2012 #27
Confusious Dec 2012 #29
TrogL Dec 2012 #30
Confusious Dec 2012 #28
obamanut2012 Dec 2012 #33
Kalidurga Dec 2012 #8
JI7 Dec 2012 #10
Kalidurga Dec 2012 #13
JI7 Dec 2012 #9
Speck Tater Dec 2012 #11
undeterred Dec 2012 #12
CTyankee Dec 2012 #22
kimbutgar Dec 2012 #14
Taverner Dec 2012 #17
nomorenomore08 Dec 2012 #42
OhZone Dec 2012 #31
nomorenomore08 Dec 2012 #43
obamanut2012 Dec 2012 #32
undeterred Dec 2012 #37
obamanut2012 Dec 2012 #38
undeterred Dec 2012 #39
obamanut2012 Dec 2012 #40
Starry Messenger Dec 2012 #34
obamanut2012 Dec 2012 #35
Starry Messenger Dec 2012 #36
nomorenomore08 Dec 2012 #41

Response to undeterred (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 06:17 PM

1. Smart parents give the kids what they want.

I remember in the "raising androgynous kids" era of the late 60s and early 70s, parents would give a variety of toys to both sexes. Little girls would wrap a Tonka truck in a blankie and little boys would grab Barbie by her feet, point her head at you and yell "BANG!"

I'm talking preschoolers here, kids who really hadn't had a chance to be inducted into the larger kid culture. I hate to admit it and so did my friends with kids, but some of this early stuff seems to be hard wired.

However, there is a huge amount of deviation from the social norms even with the very young kids. It also has a limited lifespan and a lot of the kids I knew who were rigidly sex typed as children have grown out of it into adults with non traditional jobs.

The best thing is to watch your kids and listen to them and get them what they like. It saves money and aggravation and, as when my parents found a full Betsy Wetsy doll in the middle of their bed one Xmas night, property damage.

The next year, I got the chemistry set I asked for.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 06:32 PM

5. I didn't see that in Head Start

Maybe because they were poor boys and had younger baby siblings and their Momma, and DADDY. expected them to pitch in and help with the babies of the family, and the household chores.

Maybe it is a POOR versus Middle/Rich Class rather than a GENDER thing, and a LEARNED behavior from adults, just as prejudice is also.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HockeyMom (Reply #5)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 03:17 PM

18. I played with a car and track set all the time

when I was younger. I asked for it. I'm female.

I also played with dolls and stuffed animals.

My sons played with dolls, stuffed animals, plastic animal figures and star wars sorts of things.

I'm not young, but in my neighborhood, a lot play wasn't gendered. Both boys and girls played "war" and other chasing/pretend fighting games, too. Both genders made mud pies.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 06:42 PM

7. I agree with most of your post, but ...

... I must take exception to the idea of "hard wired" toy preferences. Babies and toddlers absorb far more from our culture than you might realize. That would seem to me the most likely explanation for stereotypical behavior in preschoolers.

I know my own son did play out story scenarios with barbie dolls, and my daughter did set up construction areas with toy trucks. They also played in more gender stereotypical ways. I doubt that they were very atypical for young children.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 12:07 AM

44. good post

 

I'm with you 100%

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 06:20 PM

2. A man tax? That's pretty fucked up. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 06:22 PM

3. I had a stuffed rabbit in grade school.

He knew karate.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 06:26 PM

4. of course boys play with dolls--only they are called "action figures".

many years ago, there was a short story I read, about an experiment in rearing a child without ANY of the gender markers--nobody except the parents knew whether the child was a boy or girl-- was reared completely without the stereotypes--could not tell by the hair, the clothes, the name--what the child played with, anything. fascinating.

even before preschool, kids are already exposed to the stereotypes--it starts with that disgusting pink/blue crap. as a consequence, I hate the colour pink unless it is in flowers and sunsets.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to niyad (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 01:20 PM

15. "X: A Fabulous Child's Story"

I think this may be what you read. It's by Lois Gould--about a child whose parents don't reveal its gender.

It's copyrighted, so can't print the actual story, but there are lots of reviews and discussions on the web.

http://www.pinkisforboys.org/2/post/2012/2/x-a-fabulous-childs-story.html

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to lolly (Reply #15)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 08:35 PM

20. YES!!!! that is the story, and I thank you.

Last edited Mon Dec 10, 2012, 09:48 PM - Edit history (1)

and, in the link you gave, there is a link to the entire story. How wonderful to read it again. so, once again, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to niyad (Reply #20)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 10:16 PM

21. You're Welcome!

n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 06:38 PM

6. "boys and girls, on average, do not have identical interests, propensities, or needs"

Neither do two boys or two girls.

This is a totally offensive crap that you posted. All it show sis that, in the US where gender models are still prevalent (and were still 20 years ago), kids tend to follow societial stereotypes. (this is probably true in other places, but this is the example I see in the article).

For the record, my two sons played with dolls and loved that (even though we never bought them dolls), and my niece played with guns with them and loved that too. I hated dolls and loved legos (at a time when legos were seen as a toy for boys).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mass (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 01:23 PM

16. Christina Hoff Sommers has made a career of this

Just as Caitlin Flanigan has established herself as the "women should stay home or their men will abandon them" author, Sommers is the go-to gal for books and articles on how feminism has caused untold misery to little boys everywhere.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to lolly (Reply #16)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 07:15 PM

19. I just think its fun to hear that Swedish men would sit down to pee

in the name of equality.

Imagine the ruckus if we asked American men to do that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Reply #19)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 09:43 PM

23. Should go the other way.

Require women to stand to pee.

It's all a question of who wants to be equal to whom.

Or we could just say that legislating for the bathroom is worse than legislating for the bedroom.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Igel (Reply #23)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 07:03 PM

26. Its quite messy when women stand to pee.

We don't aim.

Hence the common bathroom wall saying "If you sprinkle when you tinkle please be neat and wipe the seat".

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Reply #19)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 03:47 PM

24. I like sitting down to pee. Easier on the prostate.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TrogL (Reply #24)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 06:32 PM

25. Tell me more

Serious BPH issues here.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Shrek (Reply #25)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 07:08 PM

27. Left Party wants men to pee sitting down

The Left Party in Sörmland is taking a stand to ensure men take a seat when emptying their bladders in the county council's own toilets.

According to the party, there are two very important reasons for the proposal encouraging men to sit instead of stand when they urinate.

One reason has to do with hygiene and a desire to ensure that no one who uses the toilets at the county council's offices will be required to walk through puddles or residue left by stray urine which happens to splash out of the bowl and onto the floor when male employees pee standing up.

The Left Party also cites medical research it claims shows that men empty their bladders more efficiently when they are seated. The improved bladder evacuation not only reduces the risk for prostate problems, according to the party, but also helps men who sit rather than stand achieve a longer and healthier sex life, the local Folket newspaper reported.




http://www.thelocal.se/41358/20120611/#.UMkb8XfkJ1E

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Reply #27)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 07:48 PM

29. Jesus, I sure am glad we solved

War, hunger, poverty and all the other plagues of mankind.

Now we can get on to the more important points of equality like sitting while peeing.

Which advances equality how.. ?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Shrek (Reply #25)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 12:30 PM

30. Standing, you've really only got one workable position.

If you need to spread a bit you end up hunched over and I start to get worried about my cell phone falling out of my pocket.

Seated, it's easier to get into whatever position is needed to ease pressure on the prostate.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Reply #19)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 07:34 PM

28. If a guy wants to do it that's fine

Pass a law forcing me to do it, thats another thing altogether.

"To achieve equality, all tall people will now have their feet cut off!"

It doesn't do anything for equality, and it's just fucking stupid.

Exhibit A of a movement jumping the shark.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mass (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 05:38 PM

33. Hoffs Sommers is a Right Winger

Who should not be allowed as a legit source on here. It is disturbing how often DUers use her as a legit source on gender issues.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 07:54 PM

8. You can give girls dolls as well,

some of them will gleefully cut all their hair off and call em GI Jane.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Kalidurga (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 09:06 PM

10. how many girls haven't pulled the head off barbie or some other doll ?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JI7 (Reply #10)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 01:29 AM

13. I don't know any who haven't.

I did that as well, but mostly I just gave them hair cuts. Long hair looked weird to me.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 09:05 PM

9. i worked at places which sold things mostly girls bought but some boys would want

there were many young boys who would want these things but if the item had some shiny/sparkly thing on there some parents would start saying how they can't have that because it's only for girls.

what boys and girls decide to play is often because of things like the above. a boy might have played with a doll if he had not been told early on that it's not for him. a

one time a mother came in with her son and daughter. they went to get manicures and she got it for her son also. then they bought what are some would say are "girl" necklaces. but she bought if for her son also. more parents need to be like this. as kids get older they would have certain preferences, but why force them into a certain way at such a young age ?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 09:20 PM

11. I played with my little sister's dolls.

 

How else could I test my model guillotine?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Speck Tater (Reply #11)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:01 PM

12. I did not want the Barbie Doll House

I wanted (and got) the Barbie Theatre... so I could use the dolls to act out all kinds of dramas.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Speck Tater (Reply #11)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 02:22 AM

22. I once hanged all of my doll house figures. I used yarn. I can't remember why I wanted to

hang them. Perhaps I was mad at them for some reason but they all "died." I could have used your model guillotine...but it would have been hard to "reprieve" them once my fantasy thing had played out...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 12:15 PM

14. My son wanted a doll house but my husband wouldn't let me buy him one

So I got around it by having my sister buy him doll house furniture. My son loved that furniture and there were creative scenes throughout our house. Finally my husband realized it wasn't a bad thing. My son also got into hot wheels. My son didn't turn out gay and still loves going to furniture stores.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:57 PM

17. A man tax is not only sexist and predjudice...

 

It is also anti-feminist

And it is against parity

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Taverner (Reply #17)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 11:19 PM

42. I agree. Even as a theoretical deterrent, it's like the proverbial sledgehammer.

nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 04:56 PM

31. What about all the straight male adults currently playing with these -





Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to OhZone (Reply #31)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 11:20 PM

43. That's hilarious! And awesome...

And it just goes to show that toys - of any kind - are nothing to be afraid of.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 05:36 PM

32. Christina Hoff Sommers should be a banned source here

She is a self-IDed RWer who works for RW think tanks, and is gleefully known as an "anti feminist."

She is a Right Wing source.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #32)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:29 PM

37. The article is in the Atlantic

I thought it was a good read. And I don't think its progressive to ban people.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Reply #37)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:38 PM

38. So, it is progressive to use a known RW conservative as a legit source?

Yes, it IS progressive to not lend legitimacy to such sources. that you suggest otherwise.

It doesn't matter it's in the the Atlantic. So what.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #38)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:49 PM

39. Well why don't you post the list of sources that meets your approval so we can start following it.

God forbid we should actually discuss something written by a right winger. Our naughty bits might fall off.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Reply #39)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:55 PM

40. So, you are stating right wing sources are okay to use?

Especially when the source is not IDed as such?

Just wow.

Sommers is literally no different than using Mr. Bell Curve or David Dukes, or any of the many anti LGBT sources out there.

I also don't get what genitals have to do with any of this.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 05:39 PM

34. Christina Hoff Sommers, in group tied to ALEC, the American Enterprise Institute

http://www.democraticunderground.com/11399362

Very right-wing. More information at the link above there.



"Sommers explicitly identifies herself as a "libertarian." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy categorizes Sommers' equity feminist views as classical liberal or libertarian and socially conservative. Sommers has criticized how "conservative scholars have effectively been marginalized, silenced, and rendered invisible on most campuses." In an article for the text book, Moral Soundings, Sommers makes the case for moral conservation and traditional values."

http://www.aei.org/scholar/christina-hoff-sommers/

"Christina Hoff Sommers, a former philosophy professor who taught ethics, is probably best known for her critique of late-twentieth-century feminism. She is also known for her extensive writings, among them Who Stole Feminism? (Touchstone Books, 1995) and The War Against Boys (Touchstone Books, 2001). Her textbook, Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life, a bestseller in college ethics, is currently in its eighth edition. She recently edited The Science on Women and Science (AEI Press, 2009) and is preparing a second edition of The War Against Boys."

AEI has ties to ALEC: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=American_Enterprise_Institute

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #34)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 05:52 PM

35. There is a post in Meta bt Cerridwen

You might want to post this there, too!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #35)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:01 PM

36. Brilliant suggestion!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to undeterred (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 11:17 PM

41. As usual, I think the real problem is trying to force people into these little boxes.

Both genders, so far as I know, exhibit the full range of human behaviors and ideas, whether those are coded "masculine" or "feminine." And I don't think that any of these "gendered" behaviors/ideas, in and of themselves, should be discouraged, regardless of the child's (or adult's) gender.

So basically, what I'm saying is, if the kid wants to play with dolls, let him play with dolls. And by the same token, if he wants to play with trucks, let him play with trucks. Same goes for girls.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread