Is That a Boy Brick or a Girl Brick?

It’s a brick.

Anyone who thinks Target was wrong to make the toy section free of gender labeling has never seen my girls play. When Mockingbird was younger, there weren’t “boy” and “girl” Legos anyway. She had different sets, including the medieval castle set had a fire-breathing dragon and knights! That’s what happens when a geek mom buys toys for herself her daughter. 😉 It was all about the dragon anyway.

Diana Beebe, Mermaids Don't Do Windows, MDDW, Diana Beebe's Blog, science fiction, fantasy, young adultThis is how my girls play with Legos. They build intricate houses, boats, science labs (like this one), zoos, police stations, evil villain hideouts. They give the girls jobs and activities that exist in the real world.

They love all the bricks. Well, some of the Lego “Friends” sets are too over the top and cute for them, but those bricks work great in whatever they feel like creating. Who needs instructions if you’re not building what’s on the box?

Kids don’t need labeling to know what they want to play with.

And girls should never feel as if they can’t play with something because it’s science-y or city-ish or super heroes or pirates or Star Wars–just because it’s in the “boy” section.

Enough with the gender bias out there that limits what girls think they can do. In fact, enough with the bias that limits what any child thinks is possible.

What other toys shouldn’t be defined or marketed as one gender or the other?


11 comments on… “Is That a Boy Brick or a Girl Brick?”

  1. Chicky Lugo

    When my granddaughter was 3 I bought her a so called computer. It happens the the only color was grey blue and I bought it. She asked me were there any pink? The answer was no but I asked her to write an email to the company asking why there was no pink computers. There is and will be a gender problem as long as companies do not learn that girls like other things besides dolls.

    • Diana Beebe

      Very true, Chicky! Also, why do the manufactures think everything has to be pink or blue? Green, purple, yellow are great colors. Some girls don’t like pink. 😉

  2. Rachel Cahill

    I think it’s okay for girls to play with girly stuff if they like it. K plays with Lego Friends (girls) and she has tons of regular Lego bricks too. The sets are cute. As far as playing with dolls, there is nothing wrong with a little bit of the motherly instinct being expressed by girls.

    My 10 yr old daughter plays with girl stuff, boy stuff, craft stuff, and loves to camp rugged style. It’s more about how you parent than what they play with.

    My 12 yr old son plays with the boys stuff, but also doesn’t mind playing with some of the girl stuff too when he’s feeling silly. Costumes are funny on boys, but it doesn’t mean he’s a girly boy. He’s a rugged hard working boy who loves to camp and do lots of boy things.

    I say it’s about balance. I don’t think we should be afraid for our girls to be girls and the boys to be girls.

    I think it’s more important for us to raise strong, independent girls that can take care of themselves in whatever shape that takes in the future as a woman and mother. I think it’s a good thing to raise strong, independent boys who can grow up to be good men and fathers.

    The “gender neutral” pendulum is going too far in one direction. Seriously, Sweden is planning to add a “gender netural” pronoun to it’s vocabulary so that there are no males or females.
    Posted by a strong, independent mom who loves to gab with girlfriends and doesn’t mind doing car repairs or be the Cub Master. I was raised playing with dolls but I was also taught to be independent and smart. My parents were never shy about everyone being equal with the housework, including home repairs, car repairs, etc. Like I said, raising strong adults isn’t about what they play with, it’s about what you teach them to think about themselves. There’s nothing wrong with being a woman or a man. Balance….. 😀

      • Rachel Cahill

        Agreed. I just think we’re going too far with this whole “gender neutral” thing. If you don’t want your kids playing with “girl” stuff, then take them to different isles. LOL I never saw limitations.

    • I respectfully disagree. I don’t think the gender neutral thing is going too far at all. I like the idea of a pronoun that doesn’t denote man or woman (wouldn’t that be great in the Bible!) and the toys never used to have pink and blue aisles when I was growing up–in fact primary colors were the big hit! (And babies like primary colors better–because they see them better…or soemthing like that.) Its not that I am opposed to girls playing with dolls or boys playing with superheroes…I am in favor of children being allowed to be children without our bringing our biases to the table. And in this day and age with the hyperconsumerism around pink and blue — and the continuing lag in equality for women in the workplace and violence against women in general (especially online), whatever we can do as a society to promote equality I am for. Bring on gender neutral and let kids choose.

  3. Wow – my kiddos, two girls -two boy, are 24 to 17 now and back when they were into legos – there were no boy/girl. I remember when kid’s meals started the whole boy girl thing – I resented it – I would ask for the toy my child wanted regardless of gender. Somethings are just stupid.

    • Diana Beebe

      The meal toys bugged us, too. Sometimes the “boy” toys were more fun than the “girl” ones. One time, my daughter chose the toddler toy because the other ones didn’t interest her at all. LOL

  4. At SCBWI LA, Shannon Hale gave an amazing keynote about the gendering of children’s literature, and just how quickly kids pick up on “boy stuff” vs “girl stuff” messages. She’s written some great blog posts about it, too.

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