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Didn’t feminism = choice?

December 30, 2010

Let me start off by saying I know how ungrateful I am about this situation. (OK, that’s out of the way).

Before Christmas, my brother asked me what Bee would like as a gift.  As I am engaged in the (futile, I know) task to bring her up in a equal opportunity non-gender-prescribed way, I suggested that a car of some sort would be great.  I remember from my own childhood how much fun I had with matchbox cars and racetracks, and clearly I am also trying to relive my childhood through all the toys she has (Fisher Price 1970s-style dial telephone anyone??)

And then this arrived:

Kindly meant I know.  And with two boys, it’s an opportunity to indulge in the fun of buying a gift for a little girl.  But could a less-gender neutral car possibly be found?  I’ve not opened it yet.  It’s sitting on the coffee table and The Bee keeps wandering over to me with the box, so clearly she is interested in it (or the box I guess, my problem might be solved!)

What should I do?  Just give it to her, acknowledging that it’s her right as a 21st century female to make her own choices?  Probably.  I’m just worried that this will start setting her taste, culminating in the horror of the vomit of Barbie-pink toys you find in the ‘girls’ aisle at any toy store.

More than likely I will give it to her, but I’ll head to the shops and buying a parking lot of other cars, to dilute this one down a little and give her a full range of choice, rather than just the pink one or nothing.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2010 11:19 am

    Human nature is what it is. We derive our gender roles from it; can’t be helped. Although I’m no fan of Barbies, I let my daughters play with them for a while. They seem not to focus on them when there are a bunch of other toys around. I’ve noticed though, it’s the girls who are tomboys that turn out to be the most girly when they grow up.

  2. December 30, 2010 5:11 pm

    If he was giving that to me, we could say it was retribution for my past as the ‘Bad Auntie’ – but don’t think you’ve done anything to warrant payback!
    I think that despite the fact that *you* don’t like the colour, its still a pretty cute car. And Lady G is far too young to read anything into it other than the bright colours and the fact that the wheels spin.
    Anyway, we may have loved our race cars and Fisher Price Treehouse, but I also recall lots of Barbie dolls, My Little Ponies, and baby dolls in our childhood too – and we both turned out ok!

    • The Barreness permalink*
      January 4, 2011 9:33 pm

      Yes, that’s true. Oh the Eighties – do you remember, my Barbies were called Crystal and Pearl…

  3. Roo's Mamma permalink
    December 30, 2010 7:05 pm

    Roo has this exact car, she got it for her first birthday. And she loved it. And at the same time she loved Beetle’s old beat up blue and red and yellow tow truck just as much. They often went driving together in little car role plays. And that’s the point – it’s just another toy that let’s her explore life through play. Very simple.

    Roo has a house full of cars, guns, race tracks, train tracks and other typically “male” toys and she plays with those just as much as she plays with that little pink car. Or her dolly high chair. Or the IRONING BOARD someone got her for Christmas (I honestly don’t know how she knows what to do with it, having never seen anyone iron, but I digress). She doesn’t care that it’s pink. She cares that it has a little driver and she can make brrrrming sounds and drive it through the sandpit. When you are one, a car is a car.

    I think we need to be careful projecting our adult attitudes on to our children and just let them see and experience joy in as much as they can. I’m sure as far as she can see it’s just a car in a box and she’d like to get at it!

    She’s also lucky to have any car at all, when there are plenty of children in this world (boys and girls) that would love something so cool.

    PS: You know I hear where you’re coming from with the Barbie stuff, but the more you fight it the more it will become your reality. Don’t hate on the pink. It’s out there, you can’t fight it, so save the stress for the battles that really matter.

    • The Barreness permalink*
      January 4, 2011 9:31 pm

      But if I bring up the starving kiddies in Africa now, that gives me nothing to fall back on when she won’t eat her peas! 🙂

  4. katery permalink
    January 3, 2011 3:00 am

    if i were you i would just give it to her. my mom tried to do that with me, and while i’m sure if she had tried harder it would have worked, in our case it didn’t. she didn’t buy me any girlie stuff but eventually other people buy it for you, it’s unavoidable, so the question is, do you want to return all the gifts you get that are not gender neutral, because there will definitely be more,

  5. celia permalink
    January 4, 2011 4:28 am

    I am on the other side with a boy baby. The amount of studly toys invading our house is amazing. I try and buy non-gender specific toys but the big resistance I got from everyone was when I wanted to buy him a doll. Do they think his penis will fall off, or what?

    No Red Rider BB Guns, EVER. I think more important that what you give her to play with is the behavior you model for her. She can be a strong and independent woman that has a pink car if you teach her to be. If you have never read The Paper Bag Princess, it is my standard gift to all baby girls and I think you will like it.

    • The Barreness permalink*
      January 4, 2011 9:39 pm

      I think I’ve heard someone else recommend that – I’ll look out for a copy, thanks!

  6. The Barreness permalink*
    January 4, 2011 9:38 pm

    OK, she got the car. Are you all happy now?? 🙂

    And so far she’s interested in it in spurts – but seems much more into all of the fascinating things I apparently keep in the nappy bag. “Oh, sunscreen, thanks G! And insect repellent. And a hat? And my Myki card? Just what I always wanted!” (Lather, rinse, repeat).

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