Here is a clip of an interview I did for The United Way of the Bluegrass. They are a great model for businesses. First, they asked what research shows about gay youth. Second, they used scientific findings to help set their policy. Third, they developed a comprehensive non-discrimination policy (even when it wasn’t completely popular) to help protect youth, regardless of sexual orientation.
This was pretty cool moment for us. Our research on sexual harassment in schools was mentioned on CBS Evening News by Katie Couric. I just found the clip, even though it is a couple of years old.
I am always complaining about the lack of gender equality. It irritates me that I have to go into the boys’ aisles to find a tool set for my Maya or Grace. But, I find that this new trend toward gender equality is even more irritating. Now, not only can you buy Legos in pink and purple, but you can also buy a Nerf Gun in pink and purple.
I don’t think this is the kind of equality so many of us want. First, it is still a “Girl” toy, obvious to anyone with the color and models on the box. It still strongly signals to children that only girls should play with this toy (and conversely, that only boys should play with the other Nerf guns).
The toy may be the same, but the segregation remains.
Second, I just don’t want my kids (whether they be boys or girls) to play with guns. I know that makes me sound prudish, but guns are just not an okay toy in a Sandy Hook world. Guns ultimately kill people (even if you think people kill people, it is still people holding guns). Nowadays, those guns are often being wielded by children. Why should I want my daughter to play with a toy that simulates killing? I wouldn’t want my sons to do that. Regardless of people’s opinions about gun control, it seems this type of play and “fun” should be a shrinking trend, not a growing one.
Why don’t we see more “prosocial” toys cross the gender aisle? (God forbid we actually we get rid of the gender aisles). I would love to see dolls marketed to boys. Boys could definitely use more practice care-taking and being nurturing. Or make tool sets available in the girls’ section. I want my daughters to be competent with tools. These are important skills all children should develop. Firing a gun, less so.