Monday, July 25, 2011

Toys for Girls

Lately, I've been thinking that poor Eva Rose doesn't really play with dolls.  She is much more of a tomboy playing with her brothers.  We have a couple of baby dolls, but none of the kids seem to want to play with them.  We have the little people doll house and they play with that a little, but they all seem to prefer running and jumping and other active things.  Or the other big toy are CARS.  My Thomas is totally into planes and trains and cars.  I started wondering if we needed to get more stereotypical female toys and start offering them to both the boys and Eva Rose.  I fully admit that when I found out I was having a daughter, I was thrilled that there would be dolls and barbies and hair things and dresses and all sorts of girly things to play with.  Now I also fully admit that if the boys wanted to play with these toys and any other "girly toys", I would have no problem with it.  My issues is, are we only really providing more of the male stereotyped toys since we have 2 boys and 1 girl who are pretty much the same age?

We went to York this weekend to a cousins house.  She has a couple of granddaughters and there were a bunch of barbie dolls around and Eva Rose started carrying them around the house, not wanting to out them down.  I started thinking that we should get her a barbie doll.  Then I started thinking about whether or not I really wanted to introduce her to the whole barbie idea with the warped body frame, the clothes that barbie wears, and just the whole barbie stereotype in general.  I decided to ask my twins group about getting a barbie doll for Eva Rose, hoping that there may be some alternative to barbie, but something that would be just as interesting as barbie.  Unfortunately, the only ideas I got were really just don't expose her to barbie at all, which is where I was leaning and instead just get a baby doll.  There were a couple of people who suggested more gender neutral toys in general, but I wouldn't mind having a more balanced approach to the type of toys we have in the house not just gender neutral.  Like I said, I have no problem with the boys wanting to play with dolls and since they love cars, I don't want to take that away from them either.  One mom did mention that she thought that barbies were good for little ones because they are easy to carry around.  They have a small waist and are easier for little hands.  This actually made a lot of sense to me.  She decided to get a barbie at a yard sale and just let her daughter have fun versus buying a new one with all the gadgets to go along with the dolls.

I am still on the search for more girly toys to expose all the kids to both male and female oriented toys.  we actually have a fair number of gender neutral items that are more on the educational side of things, but we really don't have a ton of female oriented toys.  Maybe I just need to see if anyone on freecycle has anything they are looking to get rid of so that thee kids can be exposed to more dolls and doll type toys.

Any thoughts on getting toys by gender?  Do you go more gender neutral or do you just expose your kids to both male and female oriented toys without making a judgement on which is better for which sex?  Is that even possible or do we innately try to swing girls towards dolls and other female oriented toys and boys to more masculine type toys?

It's all very interesting being a parent.  I don't want to sway my kids one way or the other based on what I liked growing up or what I didn't like!



  1. Hi Amy!

    I have 5 sisters, so there was no shortage of Barbies in my house growing up... and Cabbage Patch kids, my little ponies, strawberry shortcake, Polly pockets etc... we had them all... and we're all pretty normal;) I have every intention of getting the girls Barbie Dolls when they are a little older and I have no problems with Jackson playing with them also. My sister has 2 boys 12 and 10 and a daughter 6. She loves all of the boys toys and games but she also LOVES dolls, Barbies, dress-up, and all things girly!! I think a barbie is fine, you can get pretty simple and inexpensive ones that come with little cats/dogs or something more age appropriate, rather than some Barbie in a Bikini. Also Disney makes Barbie size versions of the Princess... does she like Little Mermaid or Rapunzel or any of those characters.

    I may be on the opposite side of the fence on this one, but thought you should have one vote for YES... Barbies are fine, as long as she's exposed to lots of other toys too I think it's perfectly normal for a little girl to play with a Barbie doll.

  2. I think people overthink the Barbie thing. Hailey has some of the Disney Princess dolls and I think they're fine. She's exposed to other's not like you're sitting her in a room with a million Barbies and saying, "sit there and look pretty...I'll be back in 5 hours!"

  3. We're not introducing Barbie just yet, but I'm also not saying that she'll never enter this house. I had plenty of Barbies when I was in elementary school, and I don't think it confused me at all as to what real women look like. I imagine we'll probably have some of the princess dolls first and then work up to Barbie if Tiny shows any interest.

    I don't really think about the gender of toys when we buy them. If we only have one of something, they're expected to share it. If we are buying new Hot Wheels, they each get one. Same for baby dolls.

    Perhaps buy 3 baby dolls, one for each kid. That way they can all have the chance to be a mommy or daddy and take care of a baby. Buba has 3 babies, and loves them all just as much as Tiny loves hers. :o)