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  • Toys for children are so rigidly gendered these days...

  • Toys that are marketed at girls maybe less complex...

  • Why sell one thing to a household, when you can sell two?

  • Baby dolls, home keeping, sparkles, unicorns.

  • Pink curvy pens.

  • Anything focused on aesthetics,

  • boys don't have to put up with this do they?

  • Action men, goggles for X-ray vision,

  • giant fist that you put on your hand and punch stuff.

  • Little work stations and stuff, which is yeah, super weird.

  • I mean, these are supposed to be enlightened times, right?

  • So why do we still have so much gendered stuff?

  • Pink is just a theme with the youngest one in particular,

  • I don't know why she started shouting the word pink at me, "Pink! Pink!"

  • Her little beaker's pink, so she'll go, "Pink!"

  • I can't say I mind it, I think it's quite a natural thing for them to be

  • into princesses and stuff, but I kind of don't push them towards it,

  • in fact I probably push them the other way.

  • I think the reality of it is that, it starts so, so early.

  • That makes it really hard to differentiate between,

  • what is an innate desire and what's a learned behaviour.

  • We kind of create that world, where gender is important.

  • The first thing we want to know when somebody gets pregnant

  • or has a baby is, "Is it a girl or a boy?"

  • Despite the absence of pretty much all basic survival skills,

  • babies are very good at picking up social cues,

  • right from the moment of birth.

  • And they're aware of the face and the sound of the person who

  • might be the source of their food.

  • So, less than a year old, babies are picking up the fact that there are

  • gendered differences in their world.

  • So they would respond with surprise to the vision of a man

  • putting on lipstick for example.

  • Young children are trying to make sense of a really complicated world.

  • We adults are used to having so many different stimuli around us,

  • but for young children they need to kind of figure out

  • what are the rules of the world?

  • By knowing that's a girl, that's a boy, so that tells me something

  • about them - that allows them to put their energy into other things.

  • So then, it just allows them to just organise it in a way

  • that is efficient.

  • It does feel really incongruous I think, that in recent years

  • we've made so much headway in the way that we talk about gender

  • and yet at the same time, we've still got this stubbornly

  • binary gender marketing.

  • If manufacturers make it so easy for children to see, this is a toy for me

  • or this is a toy not for me,

  • then they use that information and it funnels them into

  • playing with particular toys that might influence their

  • play behaviours, the different kind of skills they develop

  • and their career aspirations.

  • One of the things we've learned is that the brain is mouldable

  • from very early on, by all sorts of different experiences

  • that we might have.

  • For example, experiences with construction toys or video games

  • is a much better predictor of how you're going to perform on

  • spatial tasks, than if you are male or female.

  • I think the rigid view that we have of gender

  • is problematic for everyone.

  • So, in an ideal world we would have more openness about gender,

  • and I think that would be better for everyone in terms of women's

  • opportunities and in terms of male progression in many, many ways.

  • Boys know from very early on that they're not allowed to be vulnerable,

  • they're not allowed to be weak.

  • They're not allowed to show that because if they do, then people will

  • pick on them and so I guess if we can teach boys that they're able to

  • access those emotions firstly, and teach them how to articulate them,

  • then the outcomes for them will be completely different.

  • The piece that's missing is often the option, to like...

  • do whatever you want.

  • To be yourself, you have to be able to see yourself, either in the cinema

  • or in books or in arts.

  • Younger people today are very astute, and are throwing away a lot of the

  • old ideas about gender norms.

  • I think, we're very much at the beginning of a real sea-change,

  • in terms of gender understanding and openness I think.

  • Frozen was a really great example, I know it was very exciting when that

  • film came out and it was such a huge phenomenon that it had two girls,

  • as the leads and the focus of the story was on their relationship

  • as sisters and they saved each other.

  • And that was something that was only a subtle difference,

  • you were still looking at some very pretty animated girls,

  • but actually the kernel of that story was something quite different.

  • Writers are working within the traditional story telling format,

  • but actually trying to push the boundaries within that,

  • of the conventions that we're used to.

  • And I'm definitely conscious to try and give them an option,

  • and I secretly like it when they'll go for something that's maybe

  • seen as opposite.

  • What's interesting is, we're happy to see female characters be presented

  • in a more diverse way, but where are all the nurturing, caring, sensitive

  • boy characters? There's still a bit of a way to go,

  • in terms of representing boys like that.

  • Ultimately, I think the stories that we tell

  • become the realities that we live.

  • And it has been that way for thousands and thousands of years.

  • If we change the stories that we're telling,

  • the lives that we live will look very different.

  • We're at a point where we have the power to reimagine those things,

  • and completely change the script for a generation that's growing up.

  • Thanks for watching!

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Toys for children are so rigidly gendered these days...

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B1 gender pink gendered openness push allowed

Pink for girls, blue for boys - why do we gender toys? | BBC Ideas

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    Summer posted on 2020/07/30
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