Yesterday I told you about the moon lamp I’d bought for Elinor and how it was marketed as being good for space mad boys and their dads. This lunchtime I got an email from the company saying they were now aware of this and would retract this message. Result! And so quick. So that’s good.
In the meantime I’d been looking at the Let Toys be Toys campaign who kindly RT’d my blog post. I got a lot of Twitter replies (and a couple of comments) with all sorts of different responses – all of them helpful, and all them as equally valid as my own complaint. So I thought I’d follow up and tell you all about them. One person told me about her mother who makes handcrafted gifts and finds it incredibly hard to source supplies that will allow her to make a good range of things for boys – the rag dolls are all girls, for example.
Another mother told me that her son had a doll taken from him by a girl who told him dolls weren’t for boys. They were both two years old. A colleague in my TUC course told me about how incredibly hard it was to find a toy oven for her son who loved cooking. We should think about what this does to boys too. Let Toys be Toys most read blog post is one that explores this very issue.
On International Men’s Day this year a picture did the rounds on Twitter. It was a list written by a group of nine-year old boys who were asked what they didn’t like about being a boy. Here’s what they said:
- Not able to be a mother
- Not suppost (sic) to cry
- Not allowed to be a cheerleader
- Suppost to do all the work
- Suppost to like violence
- Suppost to play football
- Boys smell bad
- Having an automatic bad reputation
- Grow hair everywhere
Isn’t that the saddest thing you’ve read? A bunch of nine- year olds – nine, ffs – think they’re supposed to be violent. And if you need any evidence of how badly we treat young people in this country, try dealing with nine-year olds who already know they have an automatic bad reputation, just by being there. It’s really awful.
I thought the comment about not being able to be a mother was interesting too. They’ve picked up that we value mums more? Or their dads are at work a lot and they don’t see them?
Anyway, while I’m fighting the good fight for the girls, we should really consider the bum deal this serves to boys too. Who are we serving with this pigeonholing?
*Thanks to everyone who commented or got in contact.