Girls, Boys, and Toys: Gender-Neutral Gift Advice

Buying a toy – be it gender specific, or gender neutral – can be seen as a political statement these days. We open the phones and take your calls about what toys you're excited about giving to your children 7 and under this year, and how to navigate the gender issues around dolls, easy-bake ovens, pink vs. blue, and more. Tips and highlights from the conversation below.

Advice From the Crowd: What Our Callers Had to Say

  • Avoid the box-store pink aisles. Jodie from Stamford has a tomboy. She says the easiest way to shop for her is to shop local. If you go to the big box stores they have pink aisles… in the local stores you’re more likely to find science kits and engineering toys and less gender-specific pressure.
  • It's not the hand-me-downs that are the problem. Joaquin has 10-month old, and has found that hand-me-down items usually come from all genders. You can create some balance with those items because, as he says, when the grandparents are buying stuff "it has to be pink."
  • Ask the parents first. Another caller says that when she is buying a gift for her friend's kids, she always asks the parents first about what they're in to, and whether they want gender-specific items.
  • And we leave you with this questions to take up on the comments page: Despite your best intentions, do you find that boys will gravitate towards cars and guns, and girls will gravitate towards pink and princesses? How much does trying to be gender-neutral ignore innate gender differences? Discuss!

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