This is something that has been bothering me since we started buying Christmas presents. Why are we constantly told that girls have to have pink, fairy, princess toys and boys are to have the rugged, building, car toys?
I cannot think of one catalogue that didn't adhere to these frightfully outdated stereotypes. For example, at Asda we were offer a choice of "Off the peg" Christmas clothes. For girls we were told to buy Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverley t-shirts coupled with Hannah Montana perfume and X Factor jewellery. For boys we were offered Toy Story clothes. Now correct me if I'm wrong but isn't one of the main characters in Toy Story a strong, female? Thus so, why is it beyond thought that my four year old might like to wear a Buzz Lightyear top or Woody wellies?
Then we come to Early Learning Centre. I wanted to buy my daughter an expansion pack for her wooden railway. I went onto the website and searched by age and gender. For my daughter I was offered a cleaning set, an apron, a doll's highchair.
Sainsbury's before Christmas were running a special on dressing up clothes - for my girl I could buy a fairy, or a nurse. For a boy I could buy a cowboy or a doctor. Because heaven forbid a female could actually be a doctor!
I have a girl - a girly girl sometimes. She likes dolls houses and baby dolls. She also likes Lego and railways and animals. Her favourite Playmobil is Victorian and dinosaurs!
She is a person in her own right. A small person, yes, but she can make her own mind up about what she wants to play with. I don't want to take her into a toyshop and let her see a "girls section" and a "boys section". I want her to see a toyshop - one where she isn't subconsciously steered towards a section decorated in pink.
Let our children choose - they know what they want. Let boys play with prams if they want, let girls have construction kits. Because you know what? It doesn't matter - how can it matter. They are children and see a toy and want to play with it. Let us do them the courtesy and allow them to without pandering to gender stereotypes - they will have enough of that as they grow