Gendered Gifts

I follow a popular parent page on Facebook. It lists events, outing ideas, and lets parents ask questions (oh, so many questions).

After looking at the question “What gifts are 7 year old girls into?”, I was saddened by the responses. It was a long list of items that amplify the idea of what we are taught as “girly”:

  • “sparkly stuff”
  • “flashy things”
  • “girlie”
  • “spa stuff like bath bombs”
  • “anything sequin”
  • “LEGO Friends
  • “Barbie”
  • “LOL OMG Fashion Dolls”
  • “unicorns”
  • “nails and makeup”
  • “bracelet making kit”
  • “shiny flip up anything”
  • “jewelry and clothes” from two stores I won’t mention that sells everything listed above.

There were nearly 50 comments (out of 61) that repeated the above.

I was happy to see some gender neutral options:

  • LEGO (because really why do we need a separate pink/purple brand – aka LEGO Friends – with different doll-like figurines?!?)
  • Slime
  • Craft supplies or kit
  • Books
  • Music/App gift card
  • Skateboard and helmet (glad that mama reminded parents of the safety needs too!)
  • Puzzles
  • Tickets to an event/show/movie
  • Board games
  • Camping gear (e.g. own sleeping bag)
  • Decorations for bedroom (e.g. art, special light)
  • Pokémon cards
  • Gift of experience (e.g. Museum, Zoo, Science Centre)

So this made me curious, so I searched the same Facebook site for “boy gift” ideas. What did I find? Mostly that second list (LEGO, Pokémon, board games etc). Plus some other great gender neutral choices:

  • After-school activity (e.g. karate, swimming)
  • Sports tickets
  • Snap Circuits
  • Musical instrument (e.g. ukulele, guitar)
  • Customized t-shirt
  • Video game system
  • Meccano
  • Robots/robotics
  • Microscope
  • Stick bots
  • Sports equipment
  • Gift card to play place (e.g. ninja, trampoline, rock climbing)

What did I not see?!?

  • “masculine”
  • “boyish”
  • “army pattern”
  • “primary colours”
  • anything that was gender focused!

NOW, I want you to go back and compare the “girl” list to the “boy” list and think about what we are teaching our children.

Boys can BUILD – Meccano, LEGO, Robotics

Boys can do SCIENCE – Snap Circuits, Microscope

Boys can be ACTIVE – sports equipment/activities

Boys can be CREATIVE – Stick Bots, guitar/ukulele

YET…

Girls can be PRETTY – clothes, accessories, spa stuff, makeup

Girls can be CREATIVE – making bracelets that can make them pretty.

→ → → I’m trying to raise a smart, engaged, curious, active, creative child that identifies as a girl. ← ← ←

The next time you buy a gift for a child, think about what you are TEACHING them. Why are the “boy gifts” about building, science, healthy activity, and creativity while the “girl gifts” are about the superficial stuff? Don’t you want your girl to grow up to be a scientist, an engineer, or a web designer? Don’t you wish your girl to have a healthy and active lifestyle too? We have the same wishes for our children no matter their gender but we are giving the boys a head start.

Please stop encouraging this wedge between the genders.

Am I telling you not to buy the fluffy pink sequin bag for your daughter – nope, because my little one loves the one she owns. You can also read about the “girly” stuff I bought for my daughter’s friend in these two posts: Six Turning Sixteen and the Follow-Up.

Just think about not having EVERYTHING be that way. Wear those sequins proud at the trampoline park. Or the hot pink painted toes at karate class. And please let your boy rock that pink shirt.

Let our kids have the most gender equal upbringing possible.

 

Please share your thoughts in the comments! And remember to follow us and SPROUT a conversation on Twitter – @sproutbalance – and Facebook!

SPROUTING [P]INSPIRATION:
Looking for some ideas on recipes, organization or things to do with your Lil Sprout? Come check out my Pinterest page and the things that inspire me to become more balanced.

 

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