Should we really be teaching toddlers that looks are all that matter?
These days, it seems like little girls act way more grown up than I did when I was younger. Even in their toddler years, they already know how to use cell phones, have a penchant for wearing mini high-heels and do all sorts of adult-like things that I feel like I didn't even know about when I was the same age. And now, a blog called the Alpha Parent has captured this trend by listing a ridiculous multitude of "beautifying" toys for young girls.
Seriously, I didn't even know this many little purse/handbags/pretend lipsticks existed! Now, the question is, are these toys even appropriate for kids?
Lately, there's been a lot of controversy over gendered toys that gear girls towards stereotypical "female" interests like makeup and cooking and boys towards the opposite. And though they might not mean to, these toys inarguably do the same thing. Decorated almost exclusively in pink with pictures of bows and flowers, it's almost like the manufacturers are screaming "GIRLS, THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR YOU TO LOOK PRETTY."
Still, there is a part of me that wants to defend these toys. After all, it's natural for kids to want to mimic their parents doing their everyday things… and seeing as most parents don't want their children using their actual items for play, is it really a big deal for them to have a fake compact or a pretend cell phone like mommy's?
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I think in the end, it's all about drawing a line at what is appropriate. To me, toys like this are fine…but only on a few conditions. I definitely don't think young girls should be playing with only these kinds of toys 24/7 without exposing them to other possible interests.
But more importantly, I also don't think parents should be pushing these toys on their girls if they're not interested…or for that matter, having an all-out freak out if their boys are interested. After all, like I said before, it's perfectly age-appropriate behavior for babies and toddlers of BOTH sexes to be drawn to their parent's "grown-up items." As long as people understand that and allow their children to explore different methods of play with a balance of gendered and gender-netural toys, then why not?
Image via Fisher Price