Gender Roles

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Not Just Child's Play

Gender bias is a greatly debated topic in today's society. Though people often focus on the roles of men and women in the working world, these biases begin in the home. From childhood, parents, even if unintentionally, instill certain gender roles in their children. As demonstrated in the articles "Why Boys Don't Play With Dolls" by Pollitt, "Little Boy Pink" by Moore, and "The Gender Blur" by Blum, parental figures control every aspect of their children's lives from clothes to toys to entertainment. Simple decisions like the choice of clothing colors or toy sets actually set the standard of who these children will become in the future. The influence of American parents, which itself is affected by societal guidelines, is what directly influences the development of gender roles in children.

Parents influence children's activities and interests by encouraging them to play with certain toys and take part in gender specific activities. For example, a typical American father is a big football fan. These fathers often try to share this interest with their sons by bringing them to football games and playing football with them. They do not do this with their daughters. Instead, they buy them Easy Bake Ovens and Barbie dolls to encourage them to be more "feminine." This choice of children's toys plays a big role in the development of both genders. Boys are brought up with the notion that they should be tough and masculine just like the macho football players they grow up to admire. Girls, on the other hand, learn to be more soft and caring because they grow up playing house with dolls and fake oven sets. Still, not all parents conform to these typical gender roles. In one instance a girl "received a Barbie doll and a softball glove," because her parents did not want to limit her development (Blum). They instead gave her the choice of playing with dolls (a typical "girly" activity) and playing sports (a typical "boyish" activity.) Though...
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