As many of you know, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with humans, especially the wee ones. I find the youngest generation highly entertaining and still very alive to the wonder and magic in the world… And then they ruin it all when they start to sing, try to pull on my nose, or vomit on my shoes.
This complicated relationship probably goes back to the fact that Fae folk used to steal human babies. And thus, there is probably some lingering cultural resentment hardwired into their tiny sugar addled brains. We, of course, don’t do that anymore. Partially because of market economics, but mostly because you adults have managed to royally screw ’em all up and we simply cannot afford the mounting therapy bills. Case in point, the recent flap over children’s toys, their gendered division, and confusion over color.
Let’s start with the last, as it is easiest to deal with. As any good cosmetologist knows, color is a personal thing. Some people look great in orange, but most people do not. Flowers come in almost every color there is, as do bugs, but rainbows are stuck with just the big seven and then always in the exact same order. And while you may find your own child to be as special and rare as a rainbow, I assure you that they are not. Regardless, color need not be such a rigid predefined thing.
Oh, but I hear the sheeple sing, singing the songs of ignorance… “Doesn’t pink mean it is for girls, and blue mean it is for boys? You can’t break from that! How will I know what gender the baby in some random stranger’s stroller is if they aren’t color coded? How will I know which fork is ok for my son to use? How will my daughter ever be a trophy wife if she does not embrace Mary Kay at an early age?”
First off, you are wrong. Get used to it. Secondly, it is none of your danged business what gender the stranger’s baby is. It is not your baby, it is not your business, leave it the hell alone! Third, a fork is a friggen fork. They all work the bloody same! It doesn’t matter what color the handle is! Sheesh people! And lastly, shame on you!
I get that makeup is a fun thing for girls, but can also be quite useful for guys as well. Besides, instead of trying to set your daughter up to make a good wife, set her up to be a strong independent woman. Let her know that she doesn’t even need a man to be successful and happy, but will be able to pick and chose among those SHE deems suitable. Of course given the fact that you are so worried about color instead of lets say… education, self confidence, or general social behaviors also means that your best bet for that kid would be to put her up for adoption right now. Seriously. Stop parenting, you are not cut out for it.
And to you, the chest beating, beer guzzling, trophy wife seeking fathers, news flash: Assigning pink to girls and blue to boys has zero to do with sexual identification. It was something clothing companies did arbitrarily in the 1940s, possibly influenced by greeting card companies who wanted to get in on the baby shower market and decided that color coding meant more sales. But it did not even hit mainstream dominance until the late 1980s, when pre-birth gender predictions became much more normal and reliable, and then the nursery supply companies got in on the act too. Before all that, most stores actually recommended pink for boys, as it was a stronger color, and blue was more dainty and thus for the ladies. Several other fashion advisers took the stance that pink was for blonds, and blue for brunettes.
But even before all that, kids wore white dresses. Yup, even the boys. A white dress was the cultural norm for children’s clothing until age 6 for all genders up until WWII. It was easy to bleach, easier to change their diapers, and nobody gave one whit to the notion that a child cared at all about being thought of as poof!
Far be it for me to criticize your cultural ignorance without offering better options. So here is an easy solution for these modern times, if you are still hung up and confused by color. Dress them in brown. It hides the poop stains, and it looks great on me! (Wedji says I must make a mention of green here as well, for goblin equality or some crap like that. So sure, if your kid is prone to wiping boogers on his sleeves, violent spouts of vomiting, fond of mashed peas, or you want to lose him in the tall grass, then by all means, dress him in green!)
Moving on. Girls toys for girls, and boys toys for boys, and never the twain shall meet… Personally, I have yet to see a toy that is more fun for kids if they possess the right gender specific body parts. Adults sure, but those things usually don’t show up in the Christmas stockings unless someone had way too much eggnog the night before. Yes, there are rumors about these Harry Potter brooms, but seriously… What in the danged hell are you people smoking? Is it meth? It has to be meth…
TOYS are TOYS! Either they are fun or they are not. Either they are safe for kids, or not. (Though arguable, those two qualifications may work at opposite ends from each other.) I personally know that there are many girls out there that like superheroes, and Star Wars, and sports. Girls that want to be construction workers, or firemen (firepersons just sounds wrong, sorry), or fighter pilots. There are just as many boys out there that like My Little Pony, or Monster Dolls, or stuffed animals. Boys that want to be costume designers, elementary school teachers, or heaven forbid, veterinarians. Kids play with toys to exercise their imaginations, they don’t care what the color is, or what the box says.
Heck, boxes all by themselves make excellent toys! But which gender are those for? Oh no! The box is brown! How do I know if my kid will like it? Why isn’t it blue! The horrors! Or what about roller skates? Or lego blocks? Or Lincoln logs? (ok, seriously, nobody plays with Lincoln logs anymore…) The point is that toys did not use to be gendered, they don’t need to be gendered, and the best ones are fun for everybody! Like lawn darts!
Really, this whole mess boils down to two fears. One, what will others think? And two, what if my kids ends up not like me? First, why in the world anyone put the approval of strangers over the happiness of their own regrettable offspring? If this is you, stop, think about what you are doing, and go sit in time out. And for two, get over yourself. Your kid WILL be different, they will like different things, they will have different ideas, and this is a very good thing! But unfortunately, they won’t be different enough. Don’t worry, if you really are just a craptastic person, chances are that your child will be pretty craptastic as well. Even if you do let them play with a baby doll, which you wont. Because hey, playing with dolls teaches kids how to be nurturing parents. And clearly, that did not work out so well for you.
Really though, stop worrying about kids toys. Let the little brats play! The world is going to be a rather big mess by the time they grow up, it already is and it just keeps going downhill. Worry about things like the sub-par education systems and the fact that there are idiots who think they should be able to walk around your kids schools, parks, and grocery stores with loaded automatic submachine guns. Worry about the nuts who think that vaccines are bad. Worry about the ungodly amount of sugar and grease you pump into these tiny bodies. Worry about the over sexualization of just about everything! Worry about the fact that phones, and tablets, and facebook are raising a generation of kids who don’t know how to actually deal with each other face to face. Worry about that stuff, not what color your kid’s toys are. And then, when you are worried to death, go out and do something about it. Make the world maybe just a little bit better for all the kids.