Shopping for Children this Christmas?

As Christmas fast approaches I’m overwhelmed by the amount of Christmas shopping I have to do! I can’t believe how expensive presents are and with so many children in my family, children’s toy shopping seems to be the worst of it all! Something which strikes me the most is the amount of children’s toys that are conforming to gender stereotypes. After this years clear publicising of this issue over the news, online and on tv programmes this is something which has not only been heightened in my mind but others too, so I have been surprised how much of it I have seen over the past weekend. As a trainee teacher, this issue is something which affects my job greatly, as if you can keep up to date with what children are buying and playing with, you can make your lessons more relevant and fun.
Is this really what we want our children to be reading. Why can’t a girl be clever AND gorgeous and why can’t a boy be gorgeous AND clever?

This morning, I watched Russell Howard’s piece from his show on Facebook today and love the way that he portrays the issue in a way people can laugh and agree with his points (watch it here) especially when he says that girls can become superheroes. I work in Girlguiding and can definitely agree that girls can be superheroes (and frankly anything they want to be), so why can’t supermarkets, children’s shops and online retailers acknowledge this too? Not every girl wants fluffy pink toys or sparkly hats with derogatory slogans over them. And it’s not just girls with this problem, why do boys have to settle with blue remote control cars or green science sets for Christmas, what if they want Santa to bring them a pink kitchen set..? Is that really a problem? Some of the most famous chefs in the world are men, are you telling me that at the start of their careers if you gsve them a kitchen to cook in that was pink, they’d have cared or just got on with the job? At the end of the day, it’s just a colour, do we really have to label something as natural as gender with a colour?

What does this picture say about our childrens toys?

I appreciate that there are loads of gender neutral toys and books out there now, especially with the change in opinions over the past few years but what I don’t understand is why all children’s toys can’t be gender neutral. I was brought up with Barbie dolls and princess dresses to role play in but my parents also had me at football matches on holidays and gave me musical instruments for Christmas. If it was something I was interested in (providing it wasn’t ridiculous, dangerous or expensive) nothing was off the table and they never let gender stereotypes get in their way when bringing me up. Many parents take this opinion now and just have a focus on giving their children what they want and experiences which they can remember for years to come. Do you agree this is the way forward or should we just conform to gender stereotypes because it’s easier?

I love christmas shopping and I won’t let the nonsense of the toys in the shops stop me from doing thing I love!

I suppose my main aim for writing this post isn’t to highlight the fact that gender stereotypes exists because there is no argument there, but to bring to your attention as a reader what to look out for when Christmas shopping this season. If you are shopping for children’s toys, think broadly and although I appreciate it may be difficult in some cases, try not to take the classic stereotypical approach when choosing which presents to buy this year. Think more about what the child will use, play with and like the most, and ultimately don’t feel like you have to go to the ‘boys’ or ‘girls’ sections in place or online when shopping. Although this is an issue has been brought to my attention as a teacher and as a family member, I love Christmas shopping and I will not let this stop me from buying what I think the child will like the most. And most of all it will certainly not stop me annoying all my family members playing Michael bublè very loudly in the car on the way to the shops (because surely that’s the best bit about christmas)…

KRW. x

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I am a stereotypical 22 year old girl from the Highlands of Scotland who really loves tea. I am studying MA in Education and loving every single second of my course. When not studying (pffft..) I work with Girlguiding as a digital champion vlogger, peer educator and advocate. My posts will be random and about all manor of different things!

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