About toys, boys, and girls

This isn’t an epic discovery or realisation but-

Toys are not just something to play with. Playing with toys, how we play with them, what exactly we play with can potentially be life defining. I don’t want to be quick to jump into conclusions, but I’ll use me as an example. I’m just going to talk about the gender aspect of toys- I’m not what you would call ‘feminine’ or ‘girly’ (what do they mean anyway and does that even matter?). And I think of the toys that I used to play with when I was younger: Yes there were barbie dolls (but mine was Baywatch Barbie- Barbie to the rescue! rather than, Barbie loves to dress up!) and Baby-All-Gone, but there were also guns, Hot Wheels, Lego, Power Rangers figurines (my favourite) etc.

I was in Toys R’ Us with friends and a friend pointed out how toys are segregated according to the category of ‘BOYS’ and ‘GIRLS’ (very pink section, by the way). Here are some examples:


Swords (plastic- not for real)
Action Hero figurines, masks, etc.
Nerf guns
Any sort of guns or weapons
Tools i.e. Wrench, Ax, Screw driver kit


Baby All Gone (I find it funny that children are playing with babies)
Play Doh
Anything cooking related
Soft toys

And how easily it is for us to differentiate toys according to what gender role they fit in. Two questions I had:

1) What if toys were never segregated according to gender but rather just by their types or function?
2) Why is it that (in my opinion and observations) girls playing with guns and cars and action hero figurines don’t seem as ‘strange’ as boys playing with Barbie and Baby All Gone? Which could also mean: Why is it that girls being ‘tomboys’ are less picked on than boys being ‘effeminate’?/ Why is cross-dressing for girls more acceptable than for boys?

Why shouldn’t we buy Barbie dolls for our sons? (Not implying that we should, but again, why shouldn’t/can’t we?)


6 thoughts on “About toys, boys, and girls

  1. I used to play those masak2 tools during one of my father’s corporate vacation…

    Turned out that I had to give away my set to a girl, becoz it’s a preferable toy for her…

    I was so pissed off I cried… =\

  2. Well, goes back to the whole…. what defines masculinity and feminine…
    This culture? Very male dominated.

    I had great toys, I was also a great toy. :P

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