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MUMSNET 23 Do your children only play with gender-specific toys? MUM KNOWS BEST

ToyNews asked Mumsnet and Facebook users whether they allow boys to play with ‘girls’ toys and vice versa...

“I got a baby doll for eldest DS when our second was on the way, he quite liked playing with all the accessories and you could put a dummy in and out of its mouth, etc. They also both have soft cloth dolls. They don’t play with them much.” Combinearvister

Yes 21% No 79%

Are you happy for your children to play with guns, swords and war-related toys?

“I feel sad that dolls and craft activities are seen as girly. He [son] loves craft activities and we have them out on the dining table all day every day because of how much enjoyment he gets out of them. DH cooks and looks after DS so I don’t see dolls as a

girl toy, just a toy that mimics the behaviour of adults and encourages nurturing and kind behaviour.” R2PeePoo

“I think it matters more that what they play with is age appropriate than whether they are perceived to be for a specific gender.” TheOneWithTheHair

“I know some dads who won’t let their sons play with dolls as they think playing with dolls will turn them gay. What a load of rubbish.” Theonewiththenoisychild

“I think there is far too much emphasis these days on what is a female toy and what is a male toy. Kids are kids; they play with what they want, when they want.” Ladfromsgirl

Yes 35% No 30% Some are okay, some are not 35%

from that as any of the boys do, and why wouldn’t she?” We also asked parents whether they were comfortable allowing their sons to play with toy swords, guns and other war- related toys. This split opinion somewhat, with 35 per cent saying they were fine with it, 30 per cent saying they didn’t allow it and the remaining 35 per cent saying it depended on the toy. ‘Hebiegebies’ tells ToyNews: “I don’t allow guns. A stick or fingers make a gun if they really want to play shooting games.”

However, ‘Feedthegoat’ has come round to the idea: “DS is six and yes, he loves lightsabers and Nerf guns, but so does my friend’s DD. It is based on the fact that our husbands love Star Wars and

encouraged it, not based on their gender. “I wasn’t keen at first as things can get out of hand if you don’t keep a close eye out, but generally I think it is harmless enough.”

‘Borntofolk’ has mixed views: “Swords

are okay. I’m not wildly keen but he’s got a couple as part of pirate/knight dress-up sets and he plays quite nicely with them. We don’t allow guns in general.” So it seems that modern kids are much less pigeon-holed into gender categories. The boys are happily playing with dolls, while many of the girls have cars in their toy boxes. And parents are more than happy for this to happen.

Research based on 32 Mumsnet and Facebook users’ responses

“There are a lot of toy makers that make things and then do a pink version to please the girlies, but both of my daughters like the colour blue and fight over their

brother’s toys.” Sozklee

“We always had cars/trains, etc as well as dolls at home, but now our daughter is older and at nursery she has started to say that dinosaurs are for boys and things like that. She is now such a stereotypical girl and everything has to be pink, glittery and in the shape of a princess.” Facebook User RK

“I don’t want my kids growing up being told they should behave a certain way because of their gender. I just want them to be themselves and be happy. As

long as he’s not hurting anyone, who cares?” Facebook User SG

“I really dislike gendered toys. My children (girl and boy) have plenty of Lego and Playmobil, and both like to play cars, dragons, dolls. I refuse to buy gendered

gifts for birthday parties.” Mousymousyafraidofdogs

APRIL 2012

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