The Pros and Cons of Gender-specific Toys

October 30, 2014 at 12:55 pm

gendertoysThe concept of gender is much more fluid in the modern times. While the biological designation of birth gender may not be easily changed, the societal effect of gender orientation is something that has been discussed over and over again. Who can really say what categorizes as a girl’s task and a boy’s task? Society has impacted upon us these constructs – but more people are challenging these roles as we know it.

A male human being at birth may be distinguished by his anatomy, but it would be presumptuous to assume that someone else, aside from the person himself, should know his gender before he does. However, as there is need to put these data into hospital files, we still resort to the same two boxed categories: M and F.

Now that the fight for equality has become more prevalent, even children’s toys have become involved. Marketing strategies for genderless toys have been widely spread. Even some department stores combine the shelves for toys, so that children will be able to see all the options before choosing whichever toy they like. Reports of raising children as gender neutral have surfaced. Is it time to do away with gender specific toys?

 

Pros

Inclination

Study shows that children naturally incline toward gender specific products. Babies who haven’t been influenced by anyone yet tend to pick toys associated with their own gender. Gender-specific toys are useful for children who know what they like.

 

Identity

Young children relate to kids of the same gender as discussed in this article which tackles the biochemical theory of gender identity. This transcends to the toys they play with. Some kids will be more comfortable playing with gender-specific toys because they will feel more at home with these.

 

Cons

Limits

It has been argued that limiting toy choices for a child also limits his perspective on life. Since a boy is not trained to play house, he does not practice nurturing and domestic skills. Girls who focus on makeup toy sets may not realize that other objective fields can be fun as well.

Each toy teaches children different things –much like the American doll you bought with your American Girl coupon you found here can teach your kids about history and following life goals, no matter if they’re male or female.

 

Stereotyping

Youngsters develop their gender identities before middle childhood. These are normally based on how they are raised. Adult models show them what it’s like to be a boy or a girl, and some adults even specifically mention that to them. This results to stereotyping of gender roles, such that there are life options limited only to men and some only to women.

Research by the National Association for the Education of Young Children has shown that toys associated with boys are associated with violence and danger, while girls’ toys just like the dolls on this list are connected with physical attractiveness and domestic skills. They concluded that toys that are considered gender-neutral are more conducive for the optimal development of the child’s cognitive skills, among others. Strongly gender-typed toys may foster negative gender attributes.

 

Ultimately, selecting toys for our children is a matter of interfering with their inherent wants. Whether we consciously remove gender-specific toys from their playthings, or we unconsciously let our children play with these toys, parents create an effect that we can’t really be sure about. Only after the kid has grown up will he be able to tell if the experience affected him or not. But then again, maybe he will not be able to tell – after all, he won’t know what he missed.

The Chance To Be Heard

September 8, 2014 at 7:05 pm

gengapMuch has been said about the generation gap between the older “baby boomers” and the younger “millenials”. Truth be told, perceived gaps or opposite perspectives between generations have always existed. There has been a tendency for the older crowd to stick to the traditions, philosophies and realities they have gotten used to during their time, while the younger one tend to explore and embrace changes.

Conflict is almost unavoidable when you have two or more competing schools of thought battling it out in different venues of public discourse and interaction, whether it is in the community, academe, business, and even the home. There are advantages and disadvantages to both the progressive and change-intensive ways of the young, and the traditional, conservative standards of the old.

But should this conflict hinder progress and development, or is there a way we can harness both elements and combine them for better results? Successful organizations and entities have found a way to balance their core values and traditions with the changing patterns and trends of modern times. On the other hand, those that have chosen extremes of tradition or modernity have too often limited themselves too much to even become relevant.

Take a moment to think about your favorite fast food restaurant, and try to remember its menu choices from a few years ago or your childhood. Are the menu items exactly the same as before? Most likely, while they have retained much of their core offerings and established products, they have also phased out others that have not been as successful, while introducing newer food items that are the trend in the industry these days.

This same principle goes with recording artists in the music industry. The biggest names and top-sellers have evolved over the years in order to reflect changing listening preferences and tastes. Now that electronic dance music is all the rave among younger listeners, you see established music acts in other genres delving into EDM as well in order to adapt and reach out to the market, all without necessarily abandoning their original style.

For the younger people, it is important to listen to the opinions, perspectives, and insights of their elders. Older people have been through more, so they have more experiences to share and lessons to impart. Because of the changing times, not everything they espouse may necessarily be useful for today’s generation, but most can certainly be adapted and become valuable lessons for millenials.

gengap2If you have older people or seniors in your daily circle or sphere of influence, grab this opportunity to communicate with them, learn from them, and find out what insights they can give you about the world back then and how different it is from today. This is a chance for you to grow wiser and have a deeper understanding of the industry or community you are in. Look into ways to constantly stay in touch with your elders, such as buying the best cell phone for seniors like these ones for easy access and mobility. Be considerate and keep in mind that seniors have needs different than that of the younger generation, so it’s safe to say that the best cell phone for seniors would be the simplest one to use.

The best listeners become the best leaders. If your goal is to be the leader in your career, occupation, or any other endeavor, you should also take stock of what elders have to say, listening to their wisdom in order to apply their best practices in your own life.