Toys Don’t Make the Girl
The types of toys kids play with don’t dictate their sexuality
Maggie turns two years old this month. It’s hard to believe that two years have already come and gone since she was born. I still remember changing her first diaper in the hospital, fumbling around with the sticky tabs, using far too many wipes and lathering up her entire butt with diaper ointment. Now, I can change her diaper with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back. Seriously, there should be a game show with motherly tasks like this!
In honor of my little munchkin’s birthday, we shall be throwing a birthday bash with a few of the friends she’s made along her two-year-old journey. Plus their parents, of course. My mother is also making the trip up from Atlanta to join in the festivities. Naturally, my wife and I have been asked more than a few times what Maggie wants for her birthday. I don’t really know what to say. There are certain toys she likes to play with more than others, though. It’s interesting—watching your child gravitate toward toys without any concern if they are gender appropriate.
As I interact with other moms and their kids, I realize that it’s just not that big of a deal anymore whether your son plays with dolls or your daughter plays with trains. It’s so refreshing to allow our kids to be who they are and like what they like. It’s refreshing because I know firsthand what it feels like playing without that freedom. I never liked dolls. I never liked anything girly. I loved LEGOs®—let’s be honest, I still do—and I drooled over my older brother’s extensive G.I. JOE® collection.
My older female relatives didn’t approve of this. They tried to influence my interests by buying me dolls and purses and other girly stuff for birthdays and Christmases. My mother wasn’t as blatant about it, but she would still try to steer me in a more feminine direction as often as she could. By the time I was a teenager, I was so brainwashed that I used to hide my masculine toys from my female friends. I’d hate to see Maggie go through that. She loves trains and building things. Imagine if she felt she had to hide those things so that she wouldn’t look weird or abnormal in front of her friends. It makes me shiver—and not in a good way.
“Gender assigned toys” is an archaic concept in today’s world. It just doesn’t fit. Boys who dress up in their mother’s clothes at age three can end up collecting toy cars at age five. Or vice versa. It doesn’t mean a thing. And just because Maggie loves trains and isn’t currently interested in dolls, it doesn’t mean that she’s going to end up gay, either. But it also doesn’t mean she won’t. Basically put, sexuality isn’t influenced or dictated by the types of toys you play with as a child. They are just toys.
I’m eager to see what Maggie will get for her birthday this year. I’m secretly hoping it’s a lot of LEGOs®—but only so I can play with them, too.