My son is in love with trucks, cars, and construction machinery…every time we pass a bulldozer, train, bus, etc… he excitedly yells the name from the backseat of the car and looks for more.
We have quite a few books about fire trucks, trains, planes, etc… and I have noticed there is such a lack of women in these books. When reading to C he will point out all the boys and daddies in his books and I will try to find the most gender neutral looking characters and pretend that there is a Mommy or a girl in some of his construction books.
We recently found this gem of a children’s book at the library. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a woman featured on almost every page, and doing the same work the men are doing. I love hearing my son shout “Mommy” when he sees a woman driving a bulldozer and crane.
I have a few weeks off from work and I am loving spending my days with my son. We plan little adventures every day but also make sure to take time, slow down and spend one on one time doing art and reading books.
Today we took a trip to … Toys R’ Us…and oh my…SENSORY OVERLOAD. We don’t frequent toy stores and I try to keep the stuff in our house to a minimum. I have always believed in owning fewer quality toys as opposed to loads and loads of inexpensive toys. Thankfully, we have also been blessed with hand me downs and haven’t had the need to do much shopping.
With that being said I was totally overwhelmed with trying to shop in Toys R’ Us with C. Holy cow, there is so much junk! We walked through the store and it was hard to navigate the isles. I was also shocked by the amount of plastic. Everything was plastic, it was difficult to find any wooden toys.
Of course, I couldn’t resit taking a stroll down the gender aisles. Everything was as expected, overly feminine dolls, babies, and dress up clothes and hyper masculine action figures, cars, and sports for boys. I was interested to see that the majority of the toddler and infant toys were fairly gender neutral; kitchens, learning toys, stackers, blocks, etc… there wasn’t a lot of pink and blue designated toys. It was the older kids toys that really started the separation. I made a point to walk C down both the boy and girl isles. Honestly I think he was so overwhelmed by everything around him that he couldn’t take it all in.
We won’t be taking a trip back anytime soon. I only wish I had thought to take photos!
In an earlier post (Gender Roles in our Library) I discussed the importance of celebrating the bond that exists between a father and child as much as we celebrate the love that exists between a mother and child. In noticing a real lack of father dynamics in our books at home I have made it a personal goal to diversify our library at home. I want C to grow up hearing stories and seeing pictures of loving and nurturing fathers. I have just scratched the surface but wanted to share a few gems I have found thus far. Enjoy!
There, There: A sweet book about a bear who continues to stub his toe or scrape his knew but his dad is always there to pick him up, brush him off, and help him back about his day.
Me and My Dad!: A father bear and his child that do everything together, explore, climb mountains, but most importantly they do it together.
Daddy Kisses: A story of various animals that receives kisses from their Dad.
C and I had so much fun at the library this morning. We played and looked at tons of books. I had forgotten just how many children’s books are out there… I am delaying “Gender in our Library: Part II” a couple of weeks because I would like to find a larger selection of books to report back on. We found a few great ones but an hour was about all we could do… so more to come…
In the meantime I wanted to share a lovely website called http://www.amightygirl.com. They do a wonderful job of promoting toys, books and movies for children and girls that are a bit more gender balanced. In short they will save me from visiting the pink and action figures aisles at Target when shopping for gifts. Their tagline is “The world’s largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls.” Happy shopping!
Watching this video reminds me of when I used to nanny for two girls when I was in college. Every afternoon we would watch some cartoons after school. The commercials were so ridiculously gendered. The girls would play with Easy Bake Ovens, dolls, and etc… The boys were sold ACTION toys, water guns, and sports. After a basketball commercial in which boys were shooting hoops, I asked the girls why there were never any girls in the sports and action commercials. They simply responded that it’s just not common for girls to like those types of things. They both loved playing outside and running around just as much as any boy would, yet when watching TV they thought nothing of the way in which girls were depicted. I hope that more of these types of toys hit the market and that girls can be excited about the way in which they are represented in the media…