For the first 15 years of my life, I was an only child. Then that all changed when my mom had my little brother Robert. He is the cutest, most stubborn 2-year-old that you'll ever meet. It was not until he entered my life that I became fully aware of the gender norms that are forced onto boys, especially when it comes to toys.
For some reason, our society believes that toys need to be categorized by gender. It's frowned upon when it appears a child "is playing with a toy that they shouldn't." Those comments, along with the belief that gender designates which toys children play with infuriates me.
However, I am lucky to be part of a family that does not agree with that notion. My mom had taken my brother to Sesame Place to celebrate his friend's birthday. Now, my mom loves Sesame Place and she could not leave without getting my brother a toy. So they went to the gift store and my brother went for Oscar the Grouch. The two of them head into to line, to go buy the toy. Then all the sudden my brother throws Oscar the Grouch on the floor and runs to get the toy of Zoey, a bright orange glittery character with a light pink ballerina outfit from Sesame Street. He hugged her and would not let her go.
My mom was absolutely OK with it and brought it. When she came out of the store, she made sure to state to the people she was with that my brother got Zoey the doll and there was nothing wrong with it. She sent a picture my dad and he felt the same way. That toys don't mean anything.
The toys any child plays with can't give you insight into their sexual orientation, gender, behavior or anything else. They simply don't mean anything and I think we need to stop assigning so much value to toys. They are just toys.