When it comes to toys for my daughters I err on the side of choice rather than being completely gender neutral. They have both cars and a buggy to push about, both pirate and princess costume. My 3-year-old flits between all options, play is free and natural and uninhibited.
After thinking about gender and play recently (see the ‘Oi! Sexist Marketing! On Yer Bike!’ post from the sidebar) I thought it would be fun to ask her the ubiquitous ‘what would you like to be when you grow up?’ question. After first flatly answering ‘taller’ (why wouldn’t she – it’s a reasonable response to a question about growing?) she had a think on it and responded seriously:
“Mummy, I want to be an Oompa Loompa!”
So there! Despite my concern that she doesn’t automatically turn to a limited gender stereotype normalised and forced upon her by children’s marketing, she in fact wants to be part of a minority group living in indentured servitude to a fiendish and eccentric chocolatier.
Sadly she also decided later that day that Veruca Salt was a role-model rather than a lesson. Charlie and his friends have been deleted off the plus-box until she’s a little older
*now out of orange face paint*