“Girls Can’t Jump In Muddy Puddles” – Unconscious Sexism At The Shoe Shop

If we took a step away from our perceptions of what male and female actually is, we would open up a whole new world for our children to explore.

It’s not the only time I have found myself questioning the absurd level of gender prejudice towards children and how we in the western world insist on limiting their choices based on if they are male or female.

I often hear adults discuss how girls are more “well behaved” and how boys are “wild” and of course as my daughter doesn’t fit in to this limited view, she is constantly described as a “tomboy”. This is based on the clothes she wears and the toys she plays with, the trees she climbs and the muddy puddles she jumps in.

If we took a step away from our perceptions of what male and female actually is, we would open up a whole new world for our children to explore. We would allow them to focus on their interests rather than push them towards what we believe they should like because of their gender.

Colours do not define us and it’s time that we stop pretending that they do. We need to diminish the focus on pink and blue.

I recently watched this interesting experiment online, where girls and boys swapped clothes to see if the way they were approached by adults changed. The boys in pink and flowers, the girls in blue and dinosaurs! Unfortunately there was a sudden change in the way the adults behaved towards the children. It was truly upsetting to see how they were handed toys suited to their clothes and not their interest. The “girls” were handed dolls and soft toys and the “boys” were encouraged to play with robots and cars. The children didn’t seem concerned about what they were playing with but the adults seemed to enter an automatic mode of gender stereotyping.

If we keep forcing toys on children based on their gender, we limit them and we hold them back and surely that contradicts the parental urge to give our children every opportunity in life.

It’s really not surprising that almost every single job advertisement for care-focused jobs finishes with “male applicants encouraged”, or “this position is underrepresented by males”. I mean, a toy car does not need nurturing the same way a baby doll does, so let’s switch it up and let our children play with whatever they want! Pink, blue, orange or red.

Muddy puddles for all!


Sofie Thomson is a writer, breastfeeding advocate and (breastfeeding) peer supporter from Sweden, now living in the Scottish Highlands with her husband and children. Since completing her degree in Child and Youth Studies, she has focused on encouraging parents to follow biological norms and trust their natural parenting instincts via her blog – The Gentle Mum. You can also follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

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