It’s not unusual for families to assume a child’s personality long before the baby can even protest. To this day, many parents want to know the gender of their baby before it is born, as their rooms are often painted pink or blue, and clothing and toys is purchased as well: princess dresses and tiaras for girls, blue dungarees and dinosaurs for boys.
Whatever toys we use or clothes we wear, our baby and toddler years of life are important in the development of our personalities, supporting us through teenage years and even adulthood. Assigning gender has a powerful influence on our view of ourselves, our future hopes and our personal opinions of other items such as makeup or football. Fortunately, times are changing, and our generation are living in times when genders are becoming less restrictive, giving children the right to, for example, wear different clothes or play with different toys.
Helping with this step up are Mattel, who just released a set of customizable gender neutral dolls. Unfortunately, the opinion of them is controversial. While some welcome ‘the dolls of the future’, others think that we should stick with barbies.
“The only females in our house are mom, our dog Sadie and our cat, Bell. That means we don’t have any dolls. There are lots of balls and trucks and cars and Nerf guns scattered throughout the house and the yard. When it comes to our kids’ understanding gender issues, I want them to understand that gender is a matter of creation, not preference. Human beings are created, and we are created as male or female.’
Todd E. Brady is vice president for university ministries at Union University.