By Lena Katz (Correspondent)
Toy manufacturers have been gendering their products for decades. Many say these separate gendered toys are unnecessary, so gender neutral toys are becoming more and more popular.
Ms. Mara Georgi, a psychology teacher at Sharon High School, says that parents already have to endure so many daily battles that come with raising children, that it should not be in their best interest to start more fights regarding their children’s’ toys. “It seems dumb to me to make parents have to fight with a kid who wants an opposite-gender toy when you already need to fight about bedtime, eating spinach, and all the things that actually do help a kid make it through the day” she said.
Jim Silver, the chief executive and editor of TTPM, a website publishing reviews for toys, says that toy manufacturers are listening to the requests of parents and children. “The days of applying a gender to a toy are declining” he said.
Ms. Cheryl Harris, School Psychologist at Sharon High School, says that despite the best efforts of parents trying to give their child an identity with gender-specific toys, they may be doing more harm than good, when it comes to helping their children prosper. “Parents may feel like they’re doing the right thing to help kids figure themselves out, but we’re finding out that it’s much more fluid than that, and kids don’t need to have everything figured out so early on” she said.
James Delingpole, writer of Express, a UK newspaper, says that making toys gender neutral, is simply a social justice movement, and that girls and boys should be allowed to play with their respective toys. “If girl toddlers want to spend their time playing with dollies, and they do, and if small boys want to spend their time constructing things out of Lego where exactly is the social benefit in frustrating their natural urges?” He said.
Brooke Janson, a freshman at Sharon High School, says that toys mold a young child’s identity, and they should not be a separating factor for children. “…it’s good for toys to be gender-neutral, because kids at a young age are impressionable, and they shouldn’t be learning that they’re judged based on the toys they play with. They should be able to choose their own path, and not be separated from other children based on their gender” she said.
Lisa Dinella, associate professor at Monmouth University and Principal Investigator of the Gender Development Laboratory, says that young children may also be missing out on essential cognitive skills if they’re limited to certain toys in the toy aisle. “Both genders lose out if we put kids on one track and they can’t explore” she said.
Joseph Katz, a freshman at UMASS Lowell, says that the issue of gendered toys is being blown out of proportion, and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if toys have a gender associated with them or not.
“It shouldn’t matter whether or not a toy has a gender attached to it. People should just play with what they want, and that’s that” he said.