|"Superstar Barbie Fashion Plate!"|
Blue happens to be my favorite color, and so it would be the baby's, too, no matter what gender he/she/it was. If I got pregnant today (I am knocking so much wood right now), I would have an ally in Target.
The retailer recently announced that it would stop categorizing things for kids by gender. Of course, everyone proved the need for the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems by immediately losing their minds.
It's not that selecting a gift for your second cousin's baby is so hard (do what I do -- green onesies for 6-12 months all the way) but that there is a segment of society that is scared of change.
As the Slate article points out, the hyper-gendering of things has resurged in the past decade or so. When I was a kid in the 70s and 80s, things were more neutral. I was the first generation raised on Sesame Street, and on the Street, the kids were pretty androgynous, if you think about it. The famously diverse kid cast wore t-shirts and corduroys and sneakers in colors like green and rust and brown and beige. Kind of basic, but the message was clear: kids are kids are kids.
|Not actual Sesame Street kids, but still proves my point.|
But this makes some people nervous. What's next, they ask? Who will I accidentally offend tomorrow? How do I know where the boundaries are?
The answers: No one knows. No one, if you are polite. The boundaries are all random and they always were. And although we should be wary of pop science, according to this article in New York, more danger comes from labeling toys and games than from keeping them androgynous.
Those who object to non-gender specific items on Target's Facebook page pointed to the stifling and odious influence of the Thought Police and the Big Gay Agenda. If that last one existed, do you think it would have taken until 2015 to recognize that same-sex couples have the same rights as all other couples? And the first one is a reference from a classic book of literature, so good for you!
By the time I had read 1984, it was actually 1984, and I was done playing with toys. So my mom got rid of them. If she threw them out all at the same time, and if someone from today had seen the pile, they would have assumed there was both a girl and a boy living in our house.
First of all, there was all of my Barbie stuff (with many dolls sporting chopped hair cuts and Goth-like Bic pen makeovers). Then, there were my transportation-related toys -- Matchbox cars, a truck hauling a bass boat, a Tonka Winnebego camper.
|I loved this thing!|
This included a Landspeeder (as seen above) for the small action figures, a die-cast Tie Fighter, and a model of an X-wing Fighter that my dad and I made. I probably had some fancy play clothes, which were mostly old bridesmaids dresses and shoes and purses from resale shops, Finally -- Legos. I did not have many of the themed sets, but we had enough to make walking in our basement painful.
|There's a whole lotta non-gender specific in this pic.|
Perhaps it was just a reminder, or maybe it was actually a premonition. A feeling that the issue of how kids get told what they are supposed be will swing back and forth until the last human is extinct.
Today, some people worry that they don't know what or how kids are supposed to be. I'm not a parent, but I think there are two easy answers. First, kids (like all people) are supposed to be kind to everyone. Second (again, like all people), kids are supposed to be what they are. Just wait, and they will tell you what that is.