Why boys should play with dolls

No one is surprised about seeing dads with strollers anymore, yet biases with toys persist.

As Black Friday deals approach, I’ve been spending time thinking about my 7-year-old’s Christmas wish list. Thankfully, it’s short and sweet: a Beanie Boo, a Hess truck, Star Wars LEGOs, a LeapPad, a baby doll.

The fact that this is a boy’s list might spark some surprise, since it includes a classic “girl” toy, a baby doll to nurture. But today we’re on the cusp of a new children’s culture in which delineations between so-called girls’ and boys’ toys — between dolls and diesel trucks — won’t exist.

My son spends equal time playing with boys and girls and delights in playing house and video games alike. “Toys are for everybody,” he insists with admirable stubbornness.

But not everyone sees it that way. This summer, I appeared on the radio show NightSide With Dan Rea to discuss Target’s decision to stop labeling toy aisles for boys or girls. People from across the country phoned in, incensed. Many callers claimed that those of us who supported Target’s decision wanted to make “boys and girls the same,” arguing that we were promoting some kind of unisex, androgynous dystopia. […]

Read more at The Boston Globe.

Rebecca Hains, Ph.D. is a media studies professor at Salem State University and the author of The Princess Problem: Guiding Our Girls Through the Princess-Obsessed Years, a book meant to help parents raise empowered, media-literate daughters. 

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