Understanding the socially-constructed nature of gender opens the door to the concept of gender-neutral toys, a concept that many Canadians should remember this holiday season.
A photo that has circulated widely in recent weeks, believed to be from Lego manufacturers to customers stating that, “the urge to create is equally strong in all children. Boys and girls. It’s the imagination that counts. Not skill. You build whatever comes into your head, the way you want it. A bed or a truck. A dolls house or a spaceship. A lot of boys like dolls houses. They’re more human than spaceships. A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than dolls houses. The most important thing is to put the right material in their hands and let them create whatever appeals to them.”
Which toys a child plays with should not be pre-determined based on if they are assigned the gender of male or female by society. Girls may want to play with dinosaurs and tool sets while boys may want to play with dolls or Easy-Bake ovens.
These realities reveal that it makes little sense to put toys into gender-based categories, and that it is better to create one category of toys for all children, freeing them from the rigid norms of society, and removing the artificial limits placed on their imaginations.