Should Toys Be Separated??

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Staff

A young boy is playing with a stack of toys.

     As a young girl, I was never really into dressing up Barbie dolls or playing with plastic ponies. I was more drawn to toys made for boys like remote control cars and Hot Wheels. Mostly because they were much more fun to play, and I could do more things with them. However, toys aren’t marketed that way. While I saw toys as things to play with, toys were separated into pink and blue aisles and labelled as “for girls” and “for boys”. However, I didn’t really see it as a child. For me, I don’t mind that toys are separated by gender, but I do mind if people restrict children from getting toys they want to play with.

     In the beginning, toys weren’t separated by gender. Up until 1940, toys were rarely marketed to any gender and if they were, it was very subtle. It was only at the turn of the 21st century that marketing became more visible. 

    I don’t really see a problem with toys being separated by gender in stores like Target because it does make the store more organized and  neater. People will argue that separation of toys makes children subconsciously think that girls are supposed to only like pink and boys are only supposed to like blue but when I was a child, I didn’t really think of that. I would just wander to whichever toy aisle I wanted to go to. 

    And I noticed that it wasn’t just me either. Never have I felt that I was isolated from getting toys that I wanted. I never felt discriminated against in the boy section for getting toy cars or wanting a Lego set made “for” boys. In fact, when I was seven, I played a wrestling video game against a 12- year – old boy and I had won. Instead of him and his friends making fun of him because he got beaten by a girl, they were making fun of him because he got beaten by someone way younger. 

   I believe that children don’t really understand that specific toys “belong” to specific genders and if they were able to, they just buy whatever they want. 

    However, I realized that most people are more lenient and accepting towards girls getting things made for guys rather than guys getting things made for girls. I found that older people were opposed to buying their sons tea sets and the phrase, “don’t buy him dolls because it’ll make him gay” was something that I heard a lot. And this is the mentality that I don’t agree with. 

    Why am I, a girl, allowed to get toys made for boys and sometimes be praised for it while boys are shamed for buying girl things? It doesn’t make any sense. 

   People will say that separating toys in stores leads to children becoming confused and thinking that girls are only allowed to play with dolls and boys are only allowed to play with cars. However, the toys themselves aren’t the culprit. As a child, it never occurred to me that I was only limited to “girl toys”.

    In the end, people should let children be children and allow them to get whatever toys they want, regardless of their gender. Banning toy separation is only a band-aid solution and doesn’t address the root of the problem which is that it’s the environment the child grows up in that makes them believe they are supposed to be categorized in gender roles. And if we can’t fix that, the problem with forcing gender-roles will never be fixed at all.