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Boy looking at doll house

If I bought it, I am sure he would play with it.

Even though I have no intention of going out and buying The Boy the $325 doll house that he seemed to fall in love with at the  SF Green Festival, I just want to know why I can’t.  Well, aside from the fact that I am not about to spend that much money for it.

It doesn’t make real sense that in a world where women go to work and being a stay-at-home mom is sometimes neither a desire nor an option, girls are the only ones that are taught domestic skills through play.  Our boys are likely to grow into men that need to help support families both by work and full participation in the household management and child rearing. (Okay, at least that is what I want for my boys)

I don’t want my sons to not know how to comb their daughter’s hair, or prepare a healthy, nutritious and tasty meal.  They should know how to shop, clean, iron, and do laundry.  Yet, if they are led to believe that these things are for girls, then how do we expect them to later understand the concepts of shared responsibility, equal obligation and “your wife works just as hard as you so why is it her job to keep the house, too?” and “you got home from work first, so why isn’t MY dinner ready?” (we are setting them up for trouble, I tell you.)

And while our sons are playing their war games (as if girls don’t go off to war) or racing their cars (I have a female mechanic) or flying their rocket ships (can we say “female astronaut”?), why are our girls expected to be in the toy kitchen, cleaning the play house, or feeding and diapering the doll baby?  Are we not sending the message that this is what their life is to be? “You can be whatever you want to be, darling, but make sure you can cook, clean and take care of the kids, too.”

The company that sells the dollhouse that captured my boy’s attention has the Discovery Spaceship and Lift Off Rocket fashioned to be the boy’s version of a playhouse. It is too bad that I didn’t know about this company before my son’s rocket ship birthday party.  Although, this toy was just the kind of thing that I was trying to find as a present, it doesn’t make sense to suggest that your gender dictates which present is most appropriate (at least in this case).  My boy liked the dollhouse, he didn’t see the rocket ship, is it my job to point him in the other direction when both offer a valuable opportunity for learning through play?

Unfortunately some archaic sense of male and female roles still applies in toy manufacturing, marketing and sales.  Even though I refuse to shove my son into a box that does not fit him, even though I am confident that him having a dollhouse would not shape him into anything that he is not, even though I think it is wrong to apply a gender preference to these toys, he will not get his dollhouse (not that he asked for it anyway) but only because that is not the battle I am choosing with papa.

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