Childhood Toys

1798 Words 8 Pages
Pink Aisles Making Life Blue: How Separation of Toys by Gender Affects Children
I want to be a superhero when I grow up! I want to look just like Barbie when I grow up! Children are always imagining up futures for themselves. They look to their parents for guidance and those parents give children toys to encourage imagination and development. Toys teach toddlers and children new and exciting concepts from building to music to fantasy. Toys are an amazing tool for teaching children the building blocks of important skills they can utilize for the rest of their lives. Since toy diversity encourages well rounded learning, it would make sense that parents would want children to play with as large an array of toys as possible. Only, somehow, that
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by Nareissa L. Smith, is how boy toys give a particular advantage in learning “spatial skills” which are necessary for “success in the hard sciences” (Smith 1001). Smith discusses a study that connects playing with blocks as a child to performing better on standardized tests and having better spatial skills later on (Smith 1003). Although this is just one skill, it is a very important skill if society really values Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) jobs (which have recently been booming in demand). Although biology may play a role in which skills are hardwired into each gender’s brain, the article argues that “if girls play with toys that teach spatial skills at an early age, the gap in achievement can be closed or eliminated” (Smith 1003). Separating toys by gender gives boys an unfair “advantage on spatial tasks in adulthood” (Smith 1003). So by keeping boys in blue aisles and girls in pink, society is creating a huge gap in their abilities to excel in certain jobs, which can negatively affect children’s lives as they …show more content…
A study on monkeys showed that even primates with virtually no societal bias regarding human toys tend to stick to these gender gaps; boy monkeys liked cars and girl monkeys liked dolls. The Huffington Post asserted that this may be due to an evolutionary need for chimps to “fulfill their ancient gender roles” (Wolchover). This makes perfect sense. Humans used to be hunters and gatherers. Men required spatial skills to hunt while women often used social skills to care for children and build community. It really is a good argument… for monkeys and nomadic tribes of the past. The issue of this counterclaim is that, despite an evolutionary predisposition, there is no reason at all for first world countries to continue to impose these differences on children. It is as though parents are primates; trying to survive at the cost of freedom and self-expression. But it doesn’t have to be that way. As explored above, skills that may be biologically gifted to a certain sex can be taught through toys. Plus, nowadays, the pros of being well-rounded far outweigh the cons of not being specifically adept for gender specific roles. Society has grown and changed, and now allows men and women to share the burden of caring for and feeding their family. Anyone can be who they want to be; a bread-winner, a caring parent, both or neither. Gender roles no longer give children an advantage in life; they only strangle children’s opportunities for

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