Change Your World-NOT your Body

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Gifts

Given that its nearly Christmas, I was thinking about the gifts children ask for and the gifts children receive strictly due to their sex and the negative messages both send to children. Such as when a girl sets her little heart on Santa bringing her the race track set she's begged for, for months. Then Christmas morning comes and with every present that is opened that's a doll or a dress her heart sinks more and more till all gifts are opened and not one was the only present she'd asked for. Or worse, her brother gets the gift she asked for and many others she would have liked.

What are some of your experiences and particularly your feelings when you received a gift that was bought for you solely because of your sex, not because it was a gift you wanted? Sexed gifts that caused your heart to sink or worse, a deep sense of shame?

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25 comments:

  1. How often does this really happen anymore, truthfully? What parent would be so intentionally cruel? I get what you're saying when it comes to grandparents and distant relatives and such, but why would a parent not only deny their child something she had her heart set on (barring financial restraints of course) but purposefully go the opposite way, knowing it would hurt her? That being said, I could see this happening to a boy who asked for barbies. Sadly...

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  2. Excellent post, Dirt!

    To Christen: parents are trying to change their children's SEX rather than deal with "gender variance" in their children. Gender variance is about behavior, about what they play with, the toys they play with, the clothes they wear. So, it's a totally appropriate question.

    Parents are encouraging their boy child to believe they are a girl rather than have him wear princess dresses and play with barbies. Little girls are being encouraged to pretend that they are boys instead of allowing them to have short hair, play rough and tumble and such. Have you been reading the news? It's all over the place. Parents are giving children hormone blockers "until they can fully decide" what to do at 18 young years after a whole childhood of very clear messages that their BEHAVIOR does not fix with their biological sex. Girls don't play like that (or with that) so you must be a BOY.

    If you feel that giving a wrong gift is cruel... try squishing your kid into a gender straight jacket. Yes, it happens ALL the time!

    I'm a parent of a 7 year old girl.

    Yes, it still happens, all the time.

    Why can't you see this?

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  3. Growing up I always had, had "girl" gifts for Christmas; not ever thinking twice back then!! When I was 10 I got a hammer for my 10th birthday (I still have it with me to this day, in great condition--I was a partial tomboy--I also had Matchbox Cars, too; loved them to death back then--but I grew up very femme these days.)I have 2 nieces who are 13 and 9 year olds and I have to think what they want these days as gifts (so I have to ask their parents what they want; because I am so clueless to what kids want these days (besides tech gadgets and such).

    Dirt, you do bring up an interesting subject and I have never, ever thought about this before ever in my life; not once!!

    Have a good Christmas, Dirt!!

    Aruna

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  4. As a child I wanted a toy race track but my parents bought me barbie dolls instead. I cried because I didn't want dolls. I still remember that incident because since that day my parents never tried to correct my
    preference for toys again.

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  5. Yep. At age 5-6 the stuff I wanted for Christmas was science books and dinosaur toys - instead I was gifted with a cheap pink children's haircare and makeup set from a relative who should have known me better. I still remember the disappointment, this thing happened over and over! So I politely informed her that this type of gift wasn't fitting for me, which resulted in my mom yelling at me, and I continued to get more pink gifts. Sigh.

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  6. my interests have always been games and puzzles that are generally considered unisex and was lucky enough to not have 'girly' toys forced on me- i did have some female dolls though which were a part of my doll and stuffed animal society- i never did the 'proper' nurturing or emulating behavior that i guess is expected of girls; i was definitely cruel to barbies in particular

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  7. I'm a 90s kid and my parents were awesome- they gave me lego, a tonka truck, dolls and stuffed animals. I was lucky- my Mum worked in early childhood and refuted all the trans bullshit which they tried to sell her due to my tomboyish nature and my early signs of lesbianism.

    I truly think the trans stuff about kids acting 'outside their gender role' is due to homophobia. Parents would rather have a trans kid than a gay one. Sad, really. I couldn't help but be sad when a friend told me her parents were happy when she told them she was transitioning to male whereas they'd hated it when she had previously come out as a lesbian.

    Gender roles and Christmas toys... if only people weren't so ridiculous. Since when does a toy have a gender anyway?

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  8. I always received 'boy' gifts whether I asked for them or not! My parents were considered a bit new-age and hippyish for this.

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  9. I have never gotten sexed gifts. My parents got exactly what I wanted. All the surprise gifts I have received were cars, lab kits, sports games, and other typical boy stuff. My parents didn't buy me girl stuff because I would destroy it. Whatever I didn't like I melted or blew up. Bad kid I know.
    I was never encouraged to be a boy growing up either. I had said once when I was little that I wish I was a boy. But my mom told me I don't have to wish that because girls can still play with boy toys and shop in the boys section.

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  10. I think most parents don't mind buying "boy toys" for girls - as long as these are intellectually stimulating. Like chemistry kits, or Lego, or plastic tool boxes for infants. But when it is not an "intellectual" toy, they will default to the gender jacket.... Make-up kits for girls are okay, but race cars, NO.

    I almost always got "construction" toys when asked for, but a race car was a no-go. Whereas a barbie was okay.

    I knew a boy at age 10 who played with a shitload of barbies, btw. So his parents didn't mind (of course he begged me not to tell anyone at school). Later I met him again, age 17 or so, he didn't even turn out gay.

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  11. I wanted an ez bake and a barbie but got tonka trucks and gi joe.

    Gendered toys suck!

    Peter: a straight and efeminate man.

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  12. Elias (male, posting because he found the topic interesting)December 25, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    I found the explicitly boys-gendered toys as ridiculous as the girls-gendered ones. I was never interested in soldiers, the age of chivalry and knights was more interesting to me, hence no G.I Joe on my wishlist. Barbies were boring and makeup only good for tribal-religious makeup when I played caveman. I gave all my "too feminine" toys to my sister, who is very conventionally feminine. Dragster toy cars were fun, but Lego and dinosaurs were better, and toys related to ants (even the ant-patterned bedsheet set I got) were the best of the best. I had ants as my special interest as a child.

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  13. Elias, you seem like you do believe in boys' and girls' toys, no? Why were you given 'feminine' toys if you're male?

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  14. I never stated I believed in boys' and girls' toys, it's just that the toy stores do. There's the boy aisle (generally blue or another dark colour such as black or green) and the girl aisle (almost always pink). Barbies and G.I Joes were equally boring, since they weren't based on anything I had any interest in pretending to be in pretend-play. Makeup was very useful for the stoneage shaman's facepaint, and dragsters were fun because drag racing is cool (cars with rocket engines in them? badass!). My mum gave me feminine stuff because she wanted to. She also forced me to dance ballet until I was 10. I think it was to make me more sensitive or something, I dunno. However, mostly I got Lego, science stuff, things like that, things which I enjoyed. If I got something way too feminine, I would give it to someone conventionally-girlier than me who'd appreciate it more.

    If/when I have kids, I will give the child toys that come from both aisles, but not ones that I do not approve of (such as that "My first poledancing pole" toy that I've seen pics of on the internet, or G.I Joe toys, very realistic WW2 toys to a small kid, etc). I will dress the child in practical clothes rather than fancy but useless ones, and the colours won't really matter. The child will be allowed to look however they want and such, provided the child can take care of it (long hair is unpractical, if the kid constantly tangles it it might get cut, but not just because "you're a boy/girl, boys/girls don't look like that"). I will also teach them about non-hetero people at an early age (the fact that sometimes men love men and women love women is very easy for a child to grasp, actually), and about strong women such as Queen Christina of Sweden and sensitive men such as Oscar Wilde. I'm not a parent, so I am not sure if this is a doable thing or not. However, I refuse to conform just because "people might talk", because that means I let the bullies set the rules and that isn't how life should be. Weird is good, weird should be encouraged.

    In Sweden, there is a children's clothing store that has as its tagline "We don't sell clothes for boys and girls, we sell clothes for kids." I like that simple statement.

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  15. Elias, you are awesome!!

    I got gendered toys from my Mum but I never liked them much. I only started getting toys I wanted when I was about 10 or 11. Then I got my Pokemons and shiz like that. I wasn't one for racecars. I liked Pokemon though and jigsaws.

    Always hated dolls. I taped a Barbie to a road once but after cutting all her hair off.. quite telling I think.

    I agree with Elias. If I ever have kids they will be allowed wear and play with whatever they choose and if they're too young it'll be mixed/gender neutral.

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  16. i cut all my barbies' hair off too
    telling?
    it didn't mean i was a boy!

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  17. so elias you were born male and are still male
    and you didn't like feminine toys?
    wow!

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  18. Nah I just meant personally. Doesn#t mean you're a boy or anything unless you identify as one.

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  19. identifying as a boy doesn't mean anything

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  20. That's the strange thing: It's all about identity it's not about reality or biology. And if people point out that someone can't know how it is to be a man/woman than their are labeled as transphobic. Just like the fairy tale: the emperor's new clothes - If you don't pretend that you see something what's not there you are stupid.

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  21. Yes, Bee, gender 'atheism' should be a legitimate position which is not unfairly associated with irrational fear. most people accept that religious atheists don't have a phobia of god or people with faith.

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  22. I'm a 59 yo woman now. When I was little I wanted a race track in the worst way, having had a ball playing with the one my cousin got the previous Christmas. My mother was very reluctant to get me one, but finally compromised by getting me a crappy plastic yellow race track, obviously meant for 3 yr olds. But still, it was a race track, and it was all I played with on Christmas morning! I got myself a nice one a couple of years ago.

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  23. When I was about 6 and my brother was about 3, he got a cool set of kid's tools for Xmas. I got a yellow and lace prom dress for Barbie. I wanted those tools really bad.

    I don't remember too many other examples though I know our gifts were very gendered -- it didn't matter a lot in the end, because my brother & I both played together with his Legos and my Barbie dolls. I got a lot of baby-type dolls that I thought I wanted because they were pretty, but then when I had them they were boring because what can you do with them?

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