Sometimes I can’t help but wonder about the differences between boys and girls. As my youngest grows older I am often reminded of the things that her brothers used to do, whilst noticing the things that they didn’t do. Although to be honest, I’m not sure what could be gender related differences and what is simply because she is a different person.
One difference between boys and girls that definitely exists is the gender specific marketing of different toys and clothes. More about that later…
Is it even helpful to think about the differences between boys and girls? (Yes I know that I started this chat!) When a friend innocently made the remark below I was too surprised to reply. She is lovely and obviously it is just as relevant a point of view as any.
“We want boys to be boys and girls to be girls.”
But, do we? Do we really? Or, do we want to show them the world and support them as they work out who they are and what they want to do? And indeed play with.
The lovely lady made this remark when I was talking about how my boys used to play with their baby dolls (by hurtling them down slides 😂😂). She was probably just being kind or looking for something to say. Either way it really got me thinking.
I had thought that boys and girls were luckier nowadays; that there is less pressure to conform and be a certain way. That a freedom exists to choose toys, activities, clothing and favourite colours. That gender stereotypes are a thing of the past and that we have almost stopped looking for the differences between boys and girls.
Surely in the 21st century the world is more open for everyone. I bought both boys baby dolls and only ever met praise. Job done? Maybe not…
As my boys grow older they are starting to talk more and more about boys’ things, girls’ things, boys’ activities and girls’ activities. So I am wondering if the pressure never really went away.
Girl Mum versus Boy Mum.
The feeling that some toys still seem to be off limits for boys irritates me. Overhearing my husband tell the boys that they could have a fairy garden for Christmas if they wanted one left me feeling proud. The fact that the advert made them feel like that seems unfair. It is also frustrating that there don’t seem to be as many boy clothes out there, especially on the sales racks!
Flimsy fabrics and the captions you get on girls’ clothes really get my goat (what does that saying mean?!) . But I feel like “boy toys” are open to both genders – you don’t need a pink hammer to join in. On the other hand, completely pink baby sets can perhaps be off putting for some boys. Somehow it rightly or wrongly gives out a message?
To be honest I’m just starting to explore what I think and would love to ear different views. Jo at Me, Them and the Others has written a fabulous article about her awesome daughter, who likes lots of boys things – check it out here.
So, I have good news for those of you that saw my previous little box/post about boys’ and girls’ toys back in October (on Instagram). @myfairygardenuk have said a boy fairy is on its way!
And if you’re wondering – the boys did get fairy gardens for Christmas. Santa deciding to buy them “a girls’ toy” was the perfect endorsement! This has strengthened my resolve to make sure that they feel confident in following their interests. Would it be too bold to say that any ideas of differences between boys and girls should be largely ignored?