Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Thomas Is from Mars, Hello Kitty Is from Venus

It's occurred to me that there's a bit of a dearth of girl toys in our house.

Allie has a few baby dolls and a doll stroller, but beyond that the toy population consists of typical boy or gender-neutral toys: trains, cars, blocks, puzzles, more trains, more cars.

This is partly for philosophical reasons -- I've tended to toe the party line when it comes to typical girl toys, and I always avoid the Aisles of Egregious Pink when I'm in the toy section of a store. I'm not a purist by any means; hence the dolls and doll stroller. But still. It's been easy so far since Allie is so young and has never expressed a preference for a particular type of toy. She loves playing with trains as much as she loves pushing her stroller around.

So far, so good. But her 2-year birthday party is just around the corner (well, October), and the Barbie question will have to be faced. I've expressed my anti-Barbie sentiments to our families, always in a light-hearted manner and in a sincere attempt to avoid offending anyone. (The Barbie and Disney fans among us are quite fervent!) Mostly, I think they tend to regard such stances as just plain wacky -- overreactions about an issue that really doesn't matter all that much.

Does it? If Allie turns out to love Barbies and princess stuff, I don't seen any point in trying to squelch that. But it makes me angry to think that Sean can choose among Fix It, Drive It, Build It toys while Allie might be consigned to toys in the Dress Up, Be a Princess, Make Jewelry category. Problem-solving versus fluff. Action versus passivity. Thomas the Tank Engine versus Hello Kitty.

On the flip side, I haven't yet had to deal with the toy gun dilemma. I guess one of the pluses of Sean's not knowing too many other boys is that he hasn't been exposed to the world of weaponized play.

I'm curious -- how do you feel about stereotypical girl and boy toys?