Sunday, August 7, 2011

"Robots aren't for girls"

First, a bit of background. My dad was raised in a very traditional family. My mom has a very different viewpoint.

Luckily hers won. As kids, my brother had dolls; I had Tonka trucks. And luckily for me, there were few expectations or limitations in my house about what either of us could or couldn't do, play with, wear, say, be or act because of our gender.

When I was 12, we went to a Christmas party sponsored by my dad's employer. Gifts were given out: real full-size basketballs for the boys, and latch-hook kits for the girls. I'm still mad about that.

Probably because of my upbringing, I've always believed -- still do -- that girls and boys both benefit from things for the other gender. Why shouldn't girls play with Legos and cars and trucks? Why can't a boy have a doll or play dress-up? Seems to me it can only help. Girls might learn skills they someday can put to use as an architect; boys might discover an affinity as a teacher.

Last year I did a design and entered it into a contest for Robeez baby shoes. It was a cute little robot, and I intentionally made it fairly gender-neutral, and wrote that either a boy or girl could wear the shoes. Someone commented on my design that she didn't think it appropriate for girls to wear robot-themed anything, and so she wouldn't be voting for mine.

The point of this? I guess it's that whenever I can, I'm going to try and design things that aren't the same old cliche: most everything for girls is an explosion of pink, frills, butterflies and glitter; boys get sports, vehicles, stripes and monkeys. Kids should have more choices and I'm going to try to do my tiny little part to provide them. Starting with a robot skirt for girls (you can buy it here). Which, incidentally, did not make the top 10 in Spoonflower's fabric of the week contest. I honestly thought it was a really good design, despite the robots.

Okay, soliloquy over. Here's my oldest daughter wearing her robot skirt. She loves it. I'm happy. :)

1 comment:

  1. THANK YOU! I totally agree that robots are for anyone. I'm so sick of all the gendered stuff for kids. When my daughter was born, I tried really hard to find gender-neutral clothes for her because I feel this way, and also because it seemed practical, so the clothes could be saved for a future baby. It seems like no matter what though there was always something that gendered the clothing in question. The only exception seemed to be animal stuff, and then it was just the colors that gave it away. Eventually I just gave up and decided that with girls, pink is a neutral because just about every article of clothing she owned had a pink accent of some kind. So she had pink shoes. But pink robot shoes would have been cute. I ramble, but I just had to say that I feel your pain.