More and more people are starting to raise their children to be gender-neutral because we are educating ourselves and learning that what we learned in childhood about gender and sexuality is a very limited view of the world. If you’re part of Generation Z or a Millennial like me, we’re the queerest generation.
That’s why more and more people who have kids today aren’t putting labels on their kids. They allow their kids to play with the toys they want and dress in the clothes they want. Because at the end of the day, they are just pieces of plastic and fabric and in no way dictate their child’s identity.
Raising your children to be gender-neutral does not it will make them queer, trans, or even non-binary. And you can’t make someone queer; you are born as such. It simply means that your children may want to be open with you about their gender identity and sexuality. Without further ado, let’s jump into this blog and learn about some of the benefits of allowing your children to play with gender-neutral toys.
One research that surveyed around 7000 parents and kids (aged 6 to 24) in the United States, Japan, the UK, China, Russia, Czech Republic, and Poland had some pretty interesting finding that we’d like to delve into. This study found that girls are generally less supportive of gender biases than their male counterparts. Just a side note, the study, uses the binary of male and female, so we can’t know the opinion of non-binary people on this specific subject.
The researchers found that 82% of girls think it’s OK/alright for boys to practice ballet and girls to play football. However, only 71% of boys believed or rather were “OK” with this statement. They also found that 74% of boys and a stark 62% of girls felt that certain activities were meant for “just” boys or girls.
The parents in this survey also imagine a main having a certain job whether they have sons or daughter. For me, this shows how gender binary is entrenched in certain people’s minds, and we ain’t saying that gender-neutral toys can fix this, but they sure as hell can help in changing their fixed mindsets on gender identity and expressions.
Men are 6 times more likely to think men are more likely to be athletes and scientists. While women are more than 8 times are likely to think of engineers as men rather than women. However, girls are more likely to think that men and women can have the same kind of jobs.
They don’t enforce stereotypes
We need to remember that toys are just toys and that there is no hidden agenda behind them until you start labeling them as boy’s or girl’s toys. Giving labels to toys makes our kids internalize certain values that aren’t helpful to any of us and only continue patriarchal ideologies about gender roles and identity. Gender-focused toys can unknowingly perpetuate stereotypes, and we want or at least thrive to move away from this.
We need to realize that gender is a fluid spectrum and that it isn’t as binary as we were taught it was. With gender-neutral toys, we allow our kids to choose the toys they want to play with instead of restricting them to the toys we believe they should be able to play with. We allow them to explore their interest, and we also aren’t putting them in pigeonholes that society has created that they ought to follow depending on their gender.
Promotes experimental thinking
It is also important to note that gender-neutral toys, especially those that are geared toward STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, And Math), encourage open-ended play. They can also teach kids the importance of trial and error, and this will allow them to experiment and make mistakes. Gender-neutral toys also encourage children to question the world around them and how things work in the world, they inhabit.
This allows them to develop their critical thinking and may even teach them to be more inquisitive without being afraid of failure. This is an important tool that we are providing our children at a young age because a lot of teens are afraid of failure, and we need to teach them from an early age that failure is an integral facet of life and that one point or the other we are doom to fail in life.
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