Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pink or Blue?

Have y'all seen this yet?

It cracked me up.

But was also very timely.

My son is six and has always had tool benches, trucks, cars, Legos, blocks, and other "wee little manly" toys.

And then we had twin girls.

At first they played with the typical babyish toys and puzzles which are fairly gender-neutral.

But now they are two and Santa loaded up the sleigh with an abundance of girly-girl type toys for them. Among the loot found under the tree was a dollhouse, dolls, aprons, a new kitchen (big brother had one, but it was certainly more of a bachelor pad mini-kitchen whereas girlfriends now have a deluxe pink monstrosity), tea cups, etc.

And do you know what?

My son has had a blast this week making pretend cupcakes, joining his sisters for pretend tea parties, and hanging in the doll house. I'm wondering if it is because it is new and different or if he's been missing out.

As I've purged and reorganized all the toys in the house I'm finding that the twins are loving the bat cave, the Hot Wheels and the tool box.

It got me thinking about school. I like to mount the kids' work onto construction paper when I display it. I had always avoided using pink or even purple for the boys. This year my "alpha male" LOVES pink and requests it whenever there is an option. This has made all of my other boys hope on the pink bandwagon and made me realize that I need to be careful about gender stereotyping.

As we enter indoor recess season, I find that my boys always gravitate towards the Legos and pattern blocks while my girls pick fuse beads, gimp, and art activities. I think I need to mix things up a bit and encourage them to pursue different choices once in awhile. I'm wondering if they are making their choices based on their likes and interests or if peer influence and society play a bigger role.

What do you all think? Do you do anything in your classes to encourage children to break gender stereotypes?

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  1. I've recently started thinking the same thing. I used to avoid pink and purple for the boys but I've noticed my boys wanting those colors more and more. I think "girl colors" are becoming trendy boy colors in the middle school (I teach fifth) and when one wants the pink/purple, they all follow suit. When I gave out notebooks in the beginning of the year (at a penny a pop, thank you Staples!) the pink and purple ran out first, with most going to boys. Now I just buy an equal amount of everything colored and let them choose.

    ps. that video is hilarious!

  2. Thanks for sharing the video---she is TOO cute....and poses a very good question: "Why DO the girls have to buy pink stuff and the boys buy different colored stuff??!!"

  3. I came to the same realization 4 years ago when I finally stopped for a moment and noticed that the house area was full of boys and the blocks was engulfed with blocks. I felt stupid because as a child I always hated hearing that the Legos Wes for my brother.

    Since then I have stopped being gender specific. I use all colors, some times I allow them to choose and other times I just tell them "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit" and that is it. I always love defying preconceived gender roles/ notions with my kids. I love telling them that I don't like pink and I do love green. They are always taken aback. I always feel like a door has been opened for them where they didn't even know it existed.

    Ms. M

  4. I know that the home center in my kinder room is always beloved by girls and boys alike - the same with blocks center. Kids only fall into the gender roles we set for them.....Earlier this year I had a boy very matter-of-factly tell the class that only boys can be police. Well, one of my VERY quiet girls stood up and told him that her mom is a police officer - he still didn't believe her!

  5. I had this discussion with my husband, as all of our friends are starting families. I think it is perfectly acceptable to give a boy a baby doll. If his dad can hold and feed a baby, why can't he. At school, I do not encourage gender stereotypes. In fact, a few years ago I had a male student who liked to wear nailpolish. He was into Metal and Hard Rock and many of his idols wore nailpolish. I spent a half an hour talking with him about nailpolish and picking out shades with him from a bag of polish that I had for students who liked to earn time to paint their nails.

  6. That little girl is so cute and smart! I was one of those kids who loved cars and other "boy" type toys. But I had an older brother so what ever he did, I wanted to do. I think we have to be careful we don't pass our stereotypes, prejudices and fears onto our own kids and students. Thanks for making us think.
    2B Honey Bunch

  7. I've noticed a lot of the boys in my class love to play in the kitchen area more than the girls do. This year as a kindergarten we have 75% or more are boys. I try not to gender stereotype in my class. There are always boys who say that girls can't do stuff or certain colors are only girl colors, and I try to dispel this with them. Although my favorite color is purple. I have a couple of boys that like purple too. I try to encourage my kids to play and do whatever they want regardless of gender.

  8. In my kindergarten classroom, when we have centers, I make sure every child visits every center once before they are allowed to "revisit" a center. (I keep a checklist, which can be a pain, but it works.) I've found that lots of boys end up really liking the Barbie and Polly Pocket centers and will return to those centers once they've been through all the others!

  9. My own son (who is two and has an older sister who is 4), loves to play with balls, trucks, and legos. But if his sister is dressing up in princess outfits, he is the first one to run to the closet to get a princess dress to put on.

    I think it is all about availability of materials and encouragement to play with other things. Kids in the class are the same way. I think if we encourage them to choose things that are typically for the other gender, they will...and they will enjoy it.

    Teaching in Room 6

  10. Love that video! It's so true! I have had boys throughout the years who love pinks and purples and girls who would jump at the chance to play with the blocks and the cars. You just never know. I have been caught keeping the pink construction paper for the girls, but I may open that door as well. "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit." =)

    Kinder Kraziness


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