I thought the video displaying the Barbie Liberation Organization was incredibly interesting. It reinforces the idea that children learn about their gender roles from a incredibly early age. Although they may want to play with the opposite gender’s toys, society heavily influences them to play with very specific toys. In the video, a boy exclaims how he actually liked the GI Joe with the Barbie voice because it seemed less violent. However, the movement also received backlash.

This reminds me of a article I came across a few weeks which was talking about a young boy named Caiden who wanted to be Elsa for Halloween. His preschool classmates made fun of him and told him only girls could be Elsa. His dad encouraged Caiden to be anything he wanted and took him to buy his Elsa costume. Caiden asked his dad to be Anna and his dad immediately agreed. Caiden’s parent aim to “abolish gender stereotypes.” They are allowing their son to be his favorite character for Halloween, regardless of gender roles.

A psychologist in the article states, “boys aren’t born with the love of blue any more than girls are born with the love of pink. This is something kids are taught over time.” This example demonstrates that children are socialized to like certain gendered toys. Today girls are socialized to love Frozen, while boys are socialized to love Ninja Turtles. However, Caiden is a great example of defying gender stereotypes and being true to himself.





5 responses »

  1. lagray700 says:

    I think it’s so sad that we are so hung up on what gender can be and can do very certain things. The thing that is so hard to explain to people is that these gender roles aren’t natural. We have created these boundaries and rules for which gender likes pink and which likes blue- they are social constructs. Also, when people challenge gender roles, why are we so afraid? What’s the threat?

  2. hannahginsberg says:

    I think its so interesting how gender defines what we can and cannot do at such an early age – or at least the idea of what we can and cannot do. I remember being a kid and the girls always had the pink toys and the boys the blue and my best friends favorite color was blue and I was confused because she was a girl thus in my mind her favorite color had to be pink because all girls loved pink. I am really happy that as I grew up I learned that was in fact not the case but its interesting because these gendered messages are everywhere – they are in our coloring books, storybooks, games, toys and television shows and can truly be brainwashing. I think its amazing that this young boy dressed up as Elsa.

  3. mollyhaas16 says:

    This is great — thanks for posting! It’s scary to extrapolate this article to the theme for our semester. If it’s becoming so mainstream to accept that gender is constructed, perhaps — hopefully — we’ll reach a point when we can all acknowledge that the image of violent black men is an absolute construction (and so on).

  4. amihk says:

    I love how the boy’s family went against the gender norm! People learn many of the gender roles when they are a child, and I think if we change how kids are strapped into these norms, by making the education institutions, classrooms, and students more flexible there will be more people with an open mindset and hopefully make some changes in this world.

  5. doriebailey says:

    This reminds me a lot of this really cute video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srnaXW9ZgZc) about a little girl complaining about how girls are socialized to be drawn to pink toys with princesses and such, while boys are allowed to pick toys involving superheroes and lots of other colors besides pink. Target recently decided to phase out “gender-based” signs in their stores, and the backlash has been INSANE (http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/08/living/gender-based-signs-target-feat/). Older generations have become increasingly vocal about this change in policy, with many complaints focusing on the “but how will boys and girls know what is for them?” argument. It’s mind blowing how deeply ingrained socialized gendered behaviors are within this society, but the positive feedback this change has also been receiving is definitely a good sign.

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