What helps us identify with our gender? Is there a biological predisposition for boys to be attracted to boyish play in order for them to fulfil a vital role with regards to evolutionary survival or is it a learned behaviour? A boy reaching for a pram is not a precursor to homosexuality; in fact, it's probably a compliment to the parents. There is enough gender confusion in our world, why now do supermarkets feel the need to stress the point in their toy aisles? Imagine you as a child running into your favourite store only to be hit by a barrage of action figures, diggers, fire engines in amongst dolls, hair accessories and pink sticker collections. Boys are generally attracted to certain toys and girls to others...why try and control natural selection by making toys gender neutral? Why and who is forcing the issue? Those barking on about it are merely thinking along the lines of 'on more gender differentiation' but until an in depth study has been conducted in how children end up choosing toys aimed at specific gender, is it really worth bothering with? Political correctness is out of control and instead of finding real issues to address, many seem to have very little to do but interfere with things that just, in all honesty, don't matter all that much. If gender identification is an innate biological predisposition, then we will naturally veer towards gender specific toys. Do shops such as Amazon (and don't get me wrong, I love Amazon) really think that they can dictate to the children of this world what they should be playing with by merely removing gender based toys? What if selection is merely an innate preference? By creating gender neutral aisles, are we not merely just trying to fill our time for the sake of something else to concern ourselves with, something which really does not even matter all that much? Here's a controversial thought - what if little girls really wanted to wear pink and play with dolls rather than choosing an action figure? How dare she try and identify with a stereotype?!?
Boys push prams around. Why? Is it because Amazon has given them the choice to choose a toy which is no longer seen as girly? NO! Boys push prams because of a very simple psychological theory - Social Learning. The theory is rooted in the belief that behaviour is learned. It is learned through what we call modelling or imitation; simply put, we replicate the behaviour of others. A little boy who can now walk has witnessed his mother pushing him around in a pram for the past year or so and is now merely replicating that behaviour. It's off the back of being a passive receptor and merely identify with the mother and her behaviour. Amazon and the like are not going to change that. Whilst I'm hinting (rather strongly) at learned behaviour, I cannot overlook our biological predisposition to fulfil certain roles in society. There is no exclusivity in that statement. Girls’ can fulfil traditional male job roles and boys’ traditional female job roles. If play at an early age is a precursor (known loosely as an Internal Working Model) to going on to fulfil certain roles in society, then let children just get on with it; why stress the point by making gender neutral shopping experiences? I get the irony by the way - "this guy is saying who cares yet he dedicated a blogpost to it!"
Why do shops want to do the parenting for us? If parents want their sons or daughters to follow traditional paths, then so be it. If parents (like myself) are more focused on their child's happiness and don't bother about the gender stereotype of their child's toys, then so be it. We are neigh on being robbed of tradition and basic parental decisions. I don't need a superstore to dictate and try to force me into ignoring male/female toy choices, my daughter can do that for herself.
Now go grab that action figure Lilly; I don't know where you'll find it...it'll be in the TOY aisle I guess :)