Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Being a Boy or Girl Is Not a Disease

By Christina Hoff Sommers

If you are thinking of giving your daughter a Hello Kitty tea set or your son a Transformer, you may want to reconsider. There is a growing movement to abolish the pink-blue divide in children’s toys. It began with a few fringe Internet activists, but has gained steam.

Last year Target announced it would remove gender labeling in its toy aisles. This spring the White House hosted a day-long summit on the hazards of boys’ and girls’ toys. Gender-specific play apparently limits a child’s life prospects and may even endanger the nation’s economic future. Could that be right?

Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Obama, opened the White House gathering by reminding participants that “changing culture is not necessarily easy and doesn’t happen overnight, but we can do it if we work together.” Scholars and activists committed to Jarrett’s vision shared their findings and insights. Representatives from companies such as Mattel, Disney, and Lego were present as well. Their role was to absorb the lessons and to explain how they planned to help break down gender stereotypes so “children could dream without limits.”

This summit was not a response to public outcry. In a 2015 market survey, only 28 percent of Americans agreed that “The toy industry perpetuates gender stereotypes and should be marketing every toy to both boys and girls.” But public opinion may be changing. Among millennials, 40 percent agreed.

Children Are Not Gender-Neutral

The media is full of excited stories heralding the revolution in children’s play. This recent headline in Time is typical: “The Next Generation of Kids Will Play With Gender Neutral Toys.” But children are not gender-neutral, and they famously resist efforts to make them so. If 40 percent of millennials think otherwise, that’s probably because they haven’t had kids yet.

Parents and teachers should certainly expose their kids to a wide range of toys and play, and teach them to accept kids who enjoy gender non-conforming toys. When toy companies rigidly classify certain toys as girl-only or boy-only, that may create a stigma against those who cross the line. Overt signage is superfluous anyway. So let’s hope other retailers follow Target’s example.

But the crusade promoted by the White House is not about tolerance for non-conformers. Its goal is to re-socialize the majority of gender-typical children toward gender neutrality. Jarret is right that it won’t be easy. With few exceptions, children are powerfully drawn to sex-stereotyped play.

Parents who read too much Judith Butler in college and view gender as fluid and malleable may be startled by the counterevidence their three-year-olds provide. The usually eloquent Julia Turner, editor of Slate, became tongue-tied a few weeks ago when she tried to explain a mysterious development at home: Her little twin sons were obsessed with wheeled objects—particularly cement mixers. Parenthood, she confessed, had “complicated” her worldview. Turner kept affirming her loyalty to the gender-is-a-social-construct school. But then, referring to her sons’ insistent boyishness, she uttered four heretical words: “There’s a there there…”

Read the rest here.


  1. "Parenthood, she confessed, had “complicated” her worldview. "

    Yeah, it has a way of doing that. I've had group's of boys and groups of girls at the house for various parties and sleep-overs - sometimes at the same time. Totally different, from the rough and tumble males with their football and airsoft games, to the close-knit females dressing up the dogs and setting out a picnic spread. When it's time to eat (if not a table meal), the boys usually gather their food and play video games, while the girls all sit and watch movies about animals.

    And it stays different into adulthood. These nutjobs with their ideas have tried all this before.

    1. Yup. And every single time they get proven wrong but does that stop these fucking nutcase idiots? Nope. They just double down on their stupidity. Such arrogance. They just REFUSE to admit that maybe, just maybe, boys and girls are different. DUH!

  2. I do not understand the reason behind the drive toward androgyny.

  3. Mere speculation on my part, but one reason might be a case of psychological projection for some. Perhaps as a young children they wanted to be tomboys, or boys preferring the company of girls, and they were mocked for it or prohibited from acting that way and most likely felt anger toward these people. These same intentions and attitudes that were directed toward them in childhood they project on to the toy makers because that childhood problem and associated feelings are still unacknowledged and unresolved.

    1. I would further speculate that if they did search inward for the problem they would see that they still see themselves as victims, which they were if what I speculate above is true. And so they project this victimization on little girls whether or not this is true for any particular girl. As adults they have the ability to face the truth about themselves if they want to, which in this case is that they are no longer victims, and that children and their parents are not at the mercy of the toy maker; rather the opposite is true that toy maker is at the mercy of the children and their parents. If he doesn't cater to their likes, if what he thinks are their likes, or what he wants their likes to be is wrong then he loses a sale.

      In short these crusaders are power hungry.

  4. There's a simple reason,IMO,why these people insist on gender neutrality,in spite of the obvious. This is for them part of their leftist secular religion. If history shows anything it is that mankind is by nature a religious creature. Western countries were once founded on a Christian identity which maintains strong gender distinctions. For many people, part of rejecting western Christianity means rejecting western gender roles and gender identity. As people become more secular and less Christian in identity they will still seek to fulfill their religious needs with new doctrines as they create for themselves a new religious society. Gender neutrality is, for these people, a small part of it.