DARE TO ASK: Maybe Susie doesn't want a stupid doll
By PHILLIP MILANO, The Times-Union
I can't help noticing the difference between girls' and boys' toys. It's
pathetic. All girls' toys center on mothering, dressing or cute crafts. In the
boys' corner you get monsters, machines, game stations and challenging games.
T., 32, female, Germany
The reason for this is that children are being socialized to accept the
positions they are expected to fulfill in later life.
Deborah, 23, Miss.
If girls want to play with boys' toys, they have serious problems and should
be sent to a good protocol school. Ideally, I'd like young women to wear gloves
in public and actually appreciate it when men are holding doors for them, etc.
C.C., 22, Canada
C.C., I grew up on He-Man, ThunderCats and Transformers and turned out
Sarah, 24, San Francisco
As a child, if I wanted a toy it was because it looked fun, not because it
was a girl's toy or a boy's toy - and that is what we should teach girls today.
Nydia, 16, Houston
Feminist nonsense aside, there are real differences between males and
females. Toy companies are not perpetrating some evil patriarchal conspiracy on
J.F., 60, male, Dayton, Ohio
All little boys should wear dresses and learn to braid their hair and the
proper way to use a tampon, as little girls should be given a BB gun and taught
how to shoot the neighbor's cat and the proper way to put on a condom and pee on
a tree. Because there ain't no difference between them - is there?
John S., 20, Conn.
I was in love with that Barbie crap. But I also liked my cousin's Snot
Factory, G.I. Joe and Creepy Crawlers. Yes, the world's youth are being
subjugated to gender-based differences, but they're still going to play with
what they want.
Kayt, 14, Greenwich, Conn.
Picture C.C. and John S. on a play-date together as children. That's all
we're saying about it.
Also, picture Texas A&M University researcher Gerianne Alexander watching
monkeys play with toys. She does it a lot.
She and fellow researchers found that girl monkeys play more with girlie toys
like dolls, and boy monkeys play more with boy-toys like balls.
"Socialization plays a role in toy selection, but there is a role for
biological factors, too."
So why Johnny often likes a gun and Susie a rag doll may be partly due to
hormones. Studies have speculated that for survival of the species, females may
be innately programmed for nurturing, and males for motion or rough play.
"Toy companies like Mattel do a lot of market research," Alexander said.
"They aren't just pushing toys . . . they actually look at who plays with what."
In fact, Mattel recently launched Polly Pocket Polly Wheels - though there
are distinct differences in how these "girlie cars" are marketed.
"They are for racing to the mall," Alexander noted.
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers. Send general
column comments to phillip. firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also hear his
podcasts or watch his