Jun 092008

My toddler daughter loves trucks; she’ll gleefully point them out on the street and in books until you’re sick of the word. So just before her birthday, there was me in the toy store looking at truck-related toys for her (trucks, trains, cars, other assorted toy vehicles) trying to pick out something that didn’t entirely duplicate what she already has. Behind me, I heard a customer ask the clerk for help. The conversation ran along these lines:

Customer: Hi, I’m looking for a toy for a two-year-old.
Clerk: boy or girl? Not that it should matter, of course.
Customer: it’s a girl.

At which the customer was taken over to some other aisle, far away from the trucks and trains and related toys, despite the claim that “it shouldn’t matter”. I was in the toy store for a while, and she never did make it over to what I guess was considered the “boy” side of the store. My daughter loved the trucks we got her, and likes having the truck book that her grandmother gave her for her birthday read to her (to cries of “truck! truck!”). I just hope she doesn’t notice that every driver of every truck in the book is a man.

  10 Responses to “Girls and Trucks”

  1. I’ve tried to encourage an interest in “boy things” in my girls as well. I was delighted over the weekend when my youngest chose bedding with cars on it rather than hearts or flowers. But the eldest went for the purple sparkly butterfly. My youngest chooses Thomas the Tank Engine magazines every time. The eldest wants Barbie or Disney Princesses.

    I’m afraid I think it’s an age thing rather than a personality thing. The eldest didn’t care about whether something was a boy thing or a girl thing up until around age three, then suddenly it’s all unicorns and princesses and fairies and butterflies and pink, pink, PINK!

  2. I have a daughter, now sixteen, and have also watched friends daughters grow up. Some were “girly” from the start and stayed that way, one of them now has a hip street fashion/soft punk look – very cool, my daughter likes dresses, fairies, pink and dances ballet and has a wicked intellect.

    All these young women are “feminists” – don’t you dare tell them they can’t do something because they’re a “girl”, ‘cus’, verbally they’ll go up one side of you and down the other.

    The big important stuff is in how you present the world to them – the rest of it is innate.

    P.S. Somewhere deep down inside the genome I’m sure there’s a nucleotide for why boys make guns out of their Lego and morning toast.

  3. I’ll admit I didn’t let my son get a bright pink Barbie hat when he was three and wanted one. Pink, yes. Barbie? Not so much, whether for a son or a daughter.

  4. My daughter went through a race car phase. And by race car, I mean dragsters and funny cars. Nothing thriller her more than a day at the drag races.

    Now, she’s such a girl — dolls, ponies, butterflies. Oh, and knights. She’s a knight.

    I preferred the drag racing days, but she’s a cute knight.

  5. My daughter (just turned 3) loves trucks. and princesses. and pink pink pink. And all her favorite books have boy heroes. sigh. And she tells me she’s a boy.

  6. I’d be quite happy for our two girls (8 and 10) to play with whatever they want, but they have largely hewed to typical girlie stuff. However, the younger one is crazy for pink, while her older sister hates it. I’ve come to think that, while there are general averages, some of which are culturally imposed, individual kids generally like what they like and hate what they hate, and there’s not much you can do about it.

  7. I’m happy for the kids to make their own choices, I’d just rather that the choices weren’t pre-determined for them. I’m glad to see that more packaging shows picture of boys and girls enjoying whichever toy is inside these days, that’s an improvement, but there is further to go. As an example, little boys seem to like playing with toy kitchens just as much as little girls do, so there’s no point in making the pictures on the box unisex. And doll strollers should come in different colours as well: I know little boys who fight with their sisters over who gets to push one even if it is pink.

  8. We’ve tried to raise my seven-year-old boy the same way. There’s no discouragement from things that are “pink” or toys typically considered “girl toys”. I think he’ll get enough of that pressure from the outside world, and at least I can say we haven’t enforced those stereotypes at home. Oddly enough, I think that’s already started to happen now that he’s been in school for a couple years…he routinely tells me he wants something really “girly” and looks at me for a response, as if it’s supposed to be shocking.

  9. I have all boys, and they’re definitely into the ‘truck’ category of things. However, one of my sons loves and cares for a stuffed toy (‘stuffies’ is the term for such things in these parts) with every nurturing instinct that exists in the human genome. Anyway, on a whim one evening the boys and I made a book – a multimedia ‘internet book’ – with said stuffy as protagonist. What a creativity-fill, father-sons bonding experience that night.

    Ducky Finds His Quack: http://wittman.org/story/dfhq/

    I guess I’m telling this story as a blog post comment here to say _embracing it_, making something your own, transforming it into something new can make distractions like gender-bias quandaries fade into the distance.

    Thanks for the serendipitous discussion (for the curious, I got here by these hops: podcast > twitter > summize.com > wikipedia)

  10. Hi well from my experience ever since I was small I always liked boy things much more than girl stuff, you know. I mean its better and more fun, like barbies oh god no…. Trucks, yes plz!! lol 😀 well I’m 16, I was tomboyish when I was younger but not so much anymore…. I’m gonna get a job before my 17 birthday(which is in nov. 11 BTW) my mom and dad said they’ll help me buy a truck *since I will be going to college a few months after my b-day* I’m gonna get a Ford F-Series xDD and lift it up too lol… Everyone in my family likes big pick up trucks so I guess thats why I like em’ as well….. Well the point is that your daughter shouldn’t stop liking something just because its more for “males” or whatever. She likes what she likes and it doesn’t matter what other say… even if she does notice that its mostly guys driving them… theres still girls driving them 😀

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