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Hazel

Gender Specific Publishing

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http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/genderspecific-books-demean-all-our-children-so-the-independent-on-sunday-will-no-longer-review-anything-marketed-to-exclude-either-sex-9194694.html

 

I found this article very interesting, especially the point about Dahl's Matilda. I never bought my boys gender specific books and certainly didn't read them gender specific books - at least, not knowingly. My taste in books and films leans towards the more 'boyish' as do my interests and I suppose that would have influenced what I chose for my boys. Anything pink, glittery and fluffy actually turns me off and I wonder if that would have been the case still had I had girls. Would I have chosen more girly books for my children had they been girls? I don't think so because I tended to buy books for the boys by authors that I liked - Julia Donaldson, Oliver Jefferies, Lemony Snicket, J K Rowling, Roald Dahl ...

 

Childrens' books should be just that - good stories well told - the same criteria I look for in my reading. I do despair of the way books and TV is increasingly geared towards girls in a way that boys' interests aren't. The idea that wee girls want a make-up party, hair party, pink everything - the Barbification of everything. It's obscene.

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I agree entirely, Hazel.

 

We had 3 girls. They are now 30, 32 and 34 years old – strong minded independent women with their own young families. We are all fighting this ‘pink’ and ‘blue’ segregation.

 

When our first grandchild was born nearly four years ago, we were quite shocked to walk into a toy shop and find pink aisles and blue aisles. I tried to buy a non-pink plastic tea-set for my grandson and found that nearly all the kitchen-ware toys were pink. All the cars and construction toys were in the blue aisle.

 

Then the market had the nerve to pretend to be addressing the rift by bringing out pink construction toys for girls. Fortunately, they haven’t even seen the market for boys’ kitchen-ware yet.

 

All, of course, is market led, to make parents buy two lots of toys, instead of handing down or sharing. It’s sad, though, that so many parents seem to be buying into the ‘dreams’. I have nieces and nephews who always refer to their daughters as princesses and expect their sons to be cute little Disney monsters. Seemingly intelligent people are thrilled with the pink construction sets and tool-boxes, but this is still wrong.

 

I have nothing against pink, even for boys, but it should be part of the whole mix . The new Lego colours have lime green, purple, brown and pink mixed in with the original brights. That should suit all.

 

We don’t need segregation of books or toys. We avoid the pretty princess books and some of the alternative princess books, favouring good children’s books like you, Hazel. We did find that, although we could find strong male characters, we had to hunt for young children’s books with strong female role models, but they are there.

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Very interesting indeed. When my friends were having children the only thing that I was concerned about with regards to book buying was that it was age appropriate, not gender specific.

 

I once pointed out to a friend of mine that I was thinking of buying a kitchen set for her little girl but refrained because it was sexist and she replied that her little girl would have loved it (it wasn't pink), so you never know. After that I asked what would be appropriate and bought accordingly.

 

I did see an item on the BBC's morning programme a while ago, where a toy manufacturer stated that he had tried selling toys in green and yellow gender neutral colours and they sold substantially less than pink and blue. To the extent that they were forced to go back to manufacturing toys in pink and blue.

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Gosh, what an interesting topic!

 

I'm a little bundle of contradictions. I am very male - competitive, forceful, domineering. I am very comfortable in my masculinity. But I love the colour pink and used to be very sad that it was the preserve of girls (it was not ever thus - there's a Victorian manual for child-rearing that asserts that the strong colour of pink is for boys and the weaker colour of blue is for girls) and I loved playing with friends' doll houses when I was young. I was fascinated by these miniature worlds.

 

Now, as an adult, I love cooking. Calliope and I both cook, but I think I take more pleasure from it. When I was at university, I experimented with long hair and make-up whilst wearing jeans and Dr Martens boots. I have no problem with breaking gender stereotypes and don't see this undermining my masculinity. If anything, I believe it asserts it. 

 

But, as for books - I have a morbid fear of chick-lit and for many years that meant I avoided books by women and books with feminine covers. But I have overcome that and now probably read as many books by women as by men - but reading books by women was a big psychological hurdle. 

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The stereotyping is so endemic it is almost impossible to get around. Already, little Edgar's wardrobe is nearly all blue or white, largely through the gifts we have received. He doesn't care.

 

Lady L junior has cars and construction toys, and yet is very fond of pink and Barbie too. Mind you, she is only slightly less fond of snails, and collecting creepy crawlies is seen stereotypically as a pursuit of little boys. Go figure.   

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for a child who knows what boys should be like, the stereotypes, but it is difficult for them to be different to who they really are.

 

there is also peer pressure. like ridicule if they

- be friends with girls

- sit with cross legs

 

so this would to exclusion and ostracising for boys who don't follow the

peer pressure to be what their parents think boys should be like.

 

i think it is a good idea by the independent and i hope it helps.

Edited by iff

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there's a Victorian manual for child-rearing that asserts that the strong colour of pink is for boys and the weaker colour of blue is for girls)

 

Wasn't it because the pigment to create pink was more expensive than the pigment for blue and therefore only boys were seen as deserving of the extra expense?

 

I find the Lego angle interesting. Lego recently introduced 'girls'' sets which featured pink bricks in addition to the normal range of colours. The new sets also had more 'girl' themes such as a vets, pamper parlour...Now these are far less interesting than the more dynamic boys' sets like police station, agents, Batman...but to me, the boys' sets are just as much of interest to girls where the opposite isn't true. Girls can play with the boys sets which are more playable and extensive, but I can't imagine a boy who'd want to play with a pamper parlour. Girls' toys are so much more restrictive and I feel that the way they are marketed too reflects that. And that applies to a lot of gender specific products.

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Hazel, you may not want your boys to show a lot of interest in girly stuff or they may have to endure lots of teasing and bullying at school unless things have changed radically.  

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I also think this is fascinating. I've just made up a listening assessment for my S4 based on a TED talk by a young lady called McKenna Pope, who campaigned against gender-specific marketing in toys when her brother wanted a toy oven, and she was shocked to see it only came in pink and purple.

 

The older kids like writing about this topic - I've had a few very good essays from big sisters who are horrified how much it has changed even since they were that age - barely a decade.

 

But I am guilty of this. A couple of years ago, I borrowed some toys from friends for my nieces who were coming to stay. They had lent me a sparkly bike, a pink scooter and some dolls. Their visit was cancelled, but I went ahead with the planned barbecue.

My friend's son, then 5, felt intimidated by the older kids and wanted some toys to play with. He was pestering me, and I was busy with drinks and food. "Oh, Daniel,", I said, exasperated, "I've only got girls' toys!"

My friend, a mother of 4 boys, was horrified, and I was quite shocked at what I'd said! The wee one scooted up and down the garden quite happily on the sparkly purple bike.

 

In terms of books, I know it has been an issue for my sister and my older niece, now 7. She's just getting into real books, but she's not too impressed by the offerings - either cliched fairies and ponies, or bogies and underpants. I'd like to buy her something for her upcoming 8th birthday, but I haven't found anything that's not just a cliche.

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I also think this is fascinating. I've just made up a listening assessment for my S4 based on a TED talk by a young lady called McKenna Pope, who campaigned against gender-specific marketing in toys when her brother wanted a toy oven, and she was shocked to see it only came in pink and purple.

 

The older kids like writing about this topic - I've had a few very good essays from big sisters who are horrified how much it has changed even since they were that age - barely a decade.

 

But I am guilty of this. A couple of years ago, I borrowed some toys from friends for my nieces who were coming to stay. They had lent me a sparkly bike, a pink scooter and some dolls. Their visit was cancelled, but I went ahead with the planned barbecue.

My friend's son, then 5, felt intimidated by the older kids and wanted some toys to play with. He was pestering me, and I was busy with drinks and food. "Oh, Daniel,", I said, exasperated, "I've only got girls' toys!"

My friend, a mother of 4 boys, was horrified, and I was quite shocked at what I'd said! The wee one scooted up and down the garden quite happily on the sparkly purple bike.

 

In terms of books, I know it has been an issue for my sister and my older niece, now 7. She's just getting into real books, but she's not too impressed by the offerings - either cliched fairies and ponies, or bogies and underpants. I'd like to buy her something for her upcoming 8th birthday, but I haven't found anything that's not just a cliche.

How about this MM ? http://www.amazon.co.uk/Railway-Children-Wordsworths-Childrens-Classics/dp/1853261076/ref=sr_1_160?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1395081511&sr=1-160

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Thanks, luna. It might be worth looking at the classics, but are there modern equivalents, or are they all gender specific now?

I do not know but I've always fancied this one myself : http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Gruffalo-Julia-Donaldson/dp/0333710932/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1395086720&sr=1-3

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In terms of books, I know it has been an issue for my sister and my older niece, now 7. She's just getting into real books, but she's not too impressed by the offerings - either cliched fairies and ponies, or bogies and underpants. I'd like to buy her something for her upcoming 8th birthday, but I haven't found anything that's not just a cliche.

There’s an interesting blog called ‘A mighty GIRL’ that has a book list – or rather, several book lists, as the ‘Best of’ section lists them under different categories. There may be something to take your fancy.

 

http://www.amightygirl.com/books

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There’s an interesting blog called ‘A mighty GIRL’ that has a book list – or rather, several book lists, as the ‘Best of’ section lists them under different categories. There may be something to take your fancy.

 

http://www.amightygirl.com/books

Thanks, angel!

I will have a good look and share it with my sister. But I had a thought - Asterix or Tintin?

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There must be a disposition, though. We have both a daughter and a son, at about the same age, and tried not to raise them gender-specific. They were supposed to share the toys, for example, or distribute them equally among each other. Yet our son from early on claimed all my old matchbox cars for himself, granting to his sister not even a single one (while the daughter is adamant that the PC in their common room is hers only), when he has to wear a pullover in pink he complains that this was a girl's colour and he has against all inspirations he received from us dedicated himself to as "typical" a boyish topic as pro football. Considering that my grandfather has been a sports journalist by profession, there is certainly some genetic trait re-emerging here?

Edited by Romanike

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In terms of gender coloured clothing, I was a governor at a London primary school with a very low-income catchment area. Several of the young boys wore barbie pink anoraks or barbie pink trainers - obviously hand-me-downs from older sisters. It was common enough that there didn't seem to be any stigma in the playground. 

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There must be a disposition, though. We have both a daughter and a son, at about the same age, and tried not to raise them gender-specific. They were supposed to share the toys, for example, or distribute them equally among each other. Yet our son from early on claimed all my old matchbox cars for himself, granting to his sister not even a single one (while the daughter is adamant that the PC in their common room is hers only), when he has to wear a pullover in pink he complains that this was a girl's colour and he has against all inspirations he received from us dedicated himself to as "typical" a boyish topic as pro football. Considering that my grandfather has been a sports journalist by profession, there is certainly some genetic trait re-emerging here?

Having only daughters, we were surprised that our grandson gravitated obsessively to cars and trains. We did briefly wonder if this was a gender issue, but he also plays with his doll and his little sister is just as car mad. Of our own three girls, close in age and brought up together, one was car and football crazy too. so, I like to think that it's down to our uniqueness not our gender and celebrate this.

 

I just happened to see this article on Yahoo this morning.

It is such a shame that individuality isn't generally celebrated. I know that it's not easy to curb bullying and it could have been just a stop-gap until all was sorted, but this certainly seems wrong. .

 

Gosh, what an interesting topic!

 

I am very comfortable in my masculinity. But I love the colour pink and used to be very sad that it was the preserve of girls (it was not ever thus - there's a Victorian manual for child-rearing that asserts that the strong colour of pink is for boys and the weaker colour of blue is for girls) and I loved playing with friends' doll houses when I was young. I was fascinated by these miniature worlds.

 

Now, as an adult, I love cooking. Calliope and I both cook, but I think I take more pleasure from it. When I was at university, I experimented with long hair and make-up whilst wearing jeans and Dr Martens boots. I have no problem with breaking gender stereotypes and don't see this undermining my masculinity. If anything, I believe it asserts it.

That sounds good to me.

 

I think many men like pink and it's not just pastel shirts any more. One of my sons-in-law is a great fan. His guitar and ukulele are both quite vibrant shades of it. A friend's little boy recently chose the pink Lego carry-case and his sister the blue one (I would like to see orange and lime green for a change though).

 

Like you, my husband loves cooking more than I do. . . I've always done the decorating though. Thankfully, most couples are now free to share life without having his and her household tasks now. I wish all had that freedom, but we know from Ting that this is not so.

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While it is widely accepted that girls may wear trousers, what about boys that want to wear skirts (and are not native to Edinburrough)?

Edited by Romanike

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While it is widely accepted that girls may wear trousers, what about boys that want to wear skirts (and are not native to Edinburrough)?

 

I've seen on the fashion pages in the newspapers where a designer has men in perfectly nice looking skirts, sort of on the line of a kilt but with not so much material, worn with shirt and tie, looked o.k. but I think very few men would have the self confidence to wear them.

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It's even worse with boys, I'm afraid. Isn't it somehow sexistic again that a girl will much easier get away with boyish clothes, habits or behaviour these days than a boy would with girlish?

Edited by Romanike

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Probably true but maybe women have realized that they don't need to be forced into an old fashioned idea of what women can or can't do. It took a while before it became obvious that women could handle more than housekeeping and child rearing and now it's good to see that some men are quite comfortable in being a house husband if the economic situation requires it. In my Mum and Dad's time the roles of male and female were more rigid but as they got older it wasn't unusual for Dad to help with the dishes and the housework. So I think there may be a lot more sharing now of previously considered 'women's work'. I don't really expect this to carry over into men wearing 'girly' things but who knows!

Edited by momac

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