Saturday, 23 February 2013
Boys can play with 'My Little Pony' too?
Milo has been in need of new slippers for nursery (the kids at Milo's Kita/nursery/daycare all have to wear them) for a little while now, so Thursday Alfie, Milo and I headed to the local Deichmann to get a new pair. From pick up at nursery, to waiting in the queue at the post office, to looking for slippers at the shop, Milo was so well behaved and such a darling that when he saw a few cheap toys hanging in the shop and asked for one I said ''yes'' for once. His choice from the selection was a 'My Little Pony', the one pictured above. I have a feeling this choice was heavily influenced from the advert for 'My Little Pony' that we'd seen two days in a row on TV in the morning. I am even more sure about this as Milo has named the pony Barbie. Yep Barbie! The other advert we'd seen on those two morning was for Barbie of course and so I think Milo mixed up his brands a little. It happens.
Now, I have previously written about my belief that all toys should be considered unisex. Whilst there may be some parents who are uncomfortable at the thought of their boys pushing a doll's pram or their girls playing with a football, I am not one of them. As a child I did have 'Barbie's' and I did have my own 'My Little Pony' toys but I much preferred to play with my brother's 'Transformers' and I loved my Lego pirate ship and Robin Hood people as much as I loved my Sylvanian Family collection.
Nowadays, my heart drops a little every time I walk in to a shop and it has clearly separated displays shouting ''boys toys'' and ''girls toys''! Why should a shop feel the need to tell me what toys are appropriate for my boy? This is why I am happy to buy my boy a toy that is highly aimed towards girls without a second thought.
The following morning Milo told me he wanted to take his 'Barbie' (the pony remember!) to nursery so that he could show it to his best friend. Why not? I thought, so along came 'Barbie' the pony and Milo's Spiderman car that he'd decided to bring as his toy of choice for his nursery's toy day (when each child can bring one toy from home). I could see how proud Milo was to show his best mate his new pony toy and then, his friend uttered some words that really stung me. ''But that's a girls toy!!!'' he yelled. I quickly interjected and said that boys can play with them too but I suddenly felt bad for Milo. Luckily he didn't seem too perturbed by the incident but all the way home I was thinking to myself; am I setting my boy up to be openly disparaged by encouraging his openness to stereotypical 'girls toys'? Is my agenda to stop this ridiculous branding of toys going to cause my son ridicule? It kept whirling around my head and I wasn't sure what the answer was.
Then, in the afternoon I went to pick Milo up from nursery to take him to his sports activity with his friend. I decided to bring along his little pony despite what had occurred that morning and to just go with it. Still a little unsure, I pulled it out of my bag and saw the delight on Milo's face as I did so. Then, to my surprise, his best mate grabbed the pony and started happily galloping it through the air. Aha! Not just a girls toy afterall!
If, like me, you are frustrated with the way brands and retailers are attempting to separate toys for the different sexes, why not check out Pinkstinks UK or Pinkstinks Germany and join the fight for the gender-neutral branding of toys!
What do you think about this subject? Does your boy or girl like toys that are generally stereotyped to the other sex?
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