Friday, 23 May 2014

A girls place....

Having three boys I have always found myself wistfully looking at lacy dresses and thinking how nice it would be to be able to buy them. When my children are invited to a little girls birthday party I have always loved to peruse the girly sections of the toy shop and buy the girliest present I can find.

But something has radically changed in me the last twelve months. I realise that my stereotypical notions of gender roles were partly the reason I allowed myself to be abused for so long. I felt that it was my place to be in the home, that it was his place to deal with the finances, I believed that men did struggle more with emotions and were more prone to lash out and needed understanding for that and I allowed him to tell me that a good wife would “submit” and put her husband first, even before the children.

Worse I realise that in many ways I passed some of these notions onto my boys. Not long after we moved into our new house my dryer stopped working. At one point I’d have considered fixing it a man job, left it to him, and eventually bought a new one because he would have just not done it. However, now I was on my own I knew I had to step up to the plate and reclaim my independence. I googled how to fix it and set about doing it. As I was unscrewing the back of the dryer my four year old looked at me and said “you’re doing a man job mummy” it was a massive wake up call to me to re-educate my boys to make sure they didn’t grow up with the same attitudes as their father.

Recently they went to a little girls birthday party. I vowed never to pass on notions of what girls and boys should like or be like to a child ever again, so this time I wasn’t looking for the girliest present I could find, but instead a toy that any four year old would enjoy. This time last year I’d have referred to myself as a crazy militant man hating feminist for doing this, it’s amazing how much can change in a year.  I headed for the toy shop.

When I got there I found it clearly demarcated- boys on one side, cars and superheroes and weapons and loads of other fun stuff in an array of bright colours, on the other side, girls toys- I didn’t really look what it was, but noticed it was an aisle in only one colour- I think you can guess what that colour was!

I had decided that as my children love Lego so much, and as I loved it so much as a child I would buy her some Lego, so I ignored the ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ aisles and headed straight for the Lego. I’d noticed they’ve introduced a new Lego Juniors range, aimed at four year olds with easy to build models and easy to follow instructions, I figured I’d get some of that.

When I found the Lego it was again separated into boys and girls- Lego! Probably the most Unisex toy on the market! Even the Lego aimed at four year olds was available in red boxes with cars and pink boxes with princesses. It’s a big disappointment to me, I never had pink Lego, I never had minifigures with boobs, I had regular Lego, I played castles and pirates and cops and robbers with my Lego- why do todays girls have to miss out on all this fun in favour of shops and princesses! Bleugh.

My sons immediately picked up a pink box and said “this one is for her” I asked “why?” they replied “because it’s girl Lego” I questioned again “why is it girl Lego?” they replied “because it’s got girls in it” (at least they didn’t say “because it’s pink”) I asked them which Lego they would like to play with, they picked up one with diggers in it, I said “I’m a girl and I’d prefer that too, lets get her that one” and we did. I hope she liked it.


  1. Good for you! In that particular shop I once congratulated then, rather tongue in cheek for having soap making and perfume kits on the boys aisle,knowing they had done it because they were classed as science kits.

  2. The Lego one is interesting actually. Back in the 70's it was advertised as a toy and shown with girls and boys on the box. However toyshopsthen didn't distinguish in the same way and I don't recall seep rate areas of shops like we get from the likes of Toys r Us or The Entertainer.

  3. I have posted this post on The Entertainers page asking what they think to getting rid of the pink floor and signs saying "boys toys" and "girls toys" but I haven't had any response.....


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