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By Neveen Gohar
“Children learn through play” is a sentence that every parent, psychologist and daycare center owner has said and heard repeatedly for many years. One of the issues that still exist is the baby-like toys that toy companies market for little girls. Those are toys that essentially require the child to feed, dress and often change the diaper of and give medicine to a baby-shaped doll. Some toys go as far as applying teething medications or potty training a doll. Little girls don’t really have maternal instincts, but they do love to care for other people, especially if they grow in a family where they are taught to help with their younger sibling or do things around the house. As a society, this is one of the many things we do to confuse and devastate our girls. We allow them to grow up with the idea that as girls their natural role is to have a family and care for other people and then we scold them in their mid-twenties for not having proper careers or not being feminist enough!
While boys enjoy the sports and other forms of physically active play, girls may not be interested by nature to participate in it. Allowing girls to participate exclusively in doll play, or worse, limiting them to motherly roles creates a gender difference since the earliest days and subliminally implies what the future roles are supposed to be. Some people may see these toys as an advantage because they teach kindness, participation and responsibility or even regard it as a preparation for their future motherhood. I oppose this idea in several ways. First, you can teach your kids, boys and girls, kindness and generosity by other role-playing games, even more effectively if you include siblings of different genders in the same game. This spares your children any gender difference and reinforces the fact that they are equals. Additionally, these toys are marketed to girls who are way younger than the age when they are expected become mothers, so whatever it is they do now will never be a glimpse of what they are supposed to do later. In other words, it underestimates and dramatizes what it is really like to be a mother.
Additionally, when the baby-like toys are marketed to and advertised in television by little girls, it becomes a “girl” thing and boys get the message that it is not for them. Accordingly, they connect taking care of babies with motherhood and see it as “not our job”, especially when they live in a society that shames them into avoiding anything girlish. We are telling our boys that they will never take care of a baby, now or ever, because it is a “girl” thing.
In my opinion, allowing children to play with baby-like dolls is something we can either do for kids of both genders or never at all. We can either teach children that the concept of taking care of babies of not restricted to a certain gender, or avoid the toy altogether until they are old enough to understand concepts without being subconsciously taught something false.
Feel free to comment on my article, give me your opinions and discuss the mentioned issue as extensively as you wish. For more from my words, visit http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Neveen_Gohar