Of Barbies and barbells
Mother & Baby India|November 2021
Akhila Vijaykumar takes a look at the various toys that children play with, and how they could be influencing outdated stereotypes or behaviour patterns in your child
Akhila Vijaykumar

Children learn and develop through play. Toys based on action, construction and technology help children gain problem-solving and spatial skills, and encourage them to be active. Toys focused on roles and imagination help growth of social skills. When toys are gendered, they deny both genders one set of vital skills. Girls role-play and imagine scenarios with dolls, doll houses, cooking sets, makeup sets, oven sets and other household-y things. Boys build and run around with sports equipment, chemistry sets, tool kits and building blocks.

PINK VS BLUE—HOW GENDERED TOYS ARE HURTING BOTH BOYS AND GIRLS

Across the world, gendered toys limit childrens’ interests. Little girls are restrained to flowers, fairies and princesses in pink and fuchsia hues. Little boys may have toys in all the colours of the world, but can never actually choose pink on their own.

Research and debates the world over throw up concerning findings that say the ‘pinkification’ of young girls is leading to more gender bias in critical think, self-esteem and body issues. While toys for boys facilitate competition, control and dominance—traits that are once again proving to be troublesome when expressed to violent extremes by boys and young adult males.

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