Keep your hands off my social engineering!
I recently read the Yahoo!Shine article, Christmas 2013: What Little Girls and Boys Want is Really Depressing, and I can’t really tell you why. There’s no grand insight; it’s a fairly standard commentary on the different ways we socialize girls and boys. Here’s the gist:
Girls want something slightly surprising for Christmas this year: iPads and tablets, which tie with Disney Princesses for the No. 4 spot on wish lists, according to the National Retail Federation’s holiday survey of more than 6,200 consumers, released Thursday. But don’t go doing a STEM jig or anything, because otherwise, the report is business as usual when it comes to toys and the stubborn gender divide.
There’s really nothing wrong with girls wanting to play with princesses, just as there’s nothing wrong with boys wanting to play with princesses. The concern is that there is too much social programming of what is (and, more importantly, perhaps, what is not) a “girl’s” toy and what is a “boy’s” toy. Anyone paying the tiniest bit of attention will notice the gender bias in the marketing of toys. The monotholic wall of pink for “girl’s” toys being just the most obvious example.
For fun, I decided to read the comments. An all-too-typical sentiment was expressed by “Rachel Y” (an argument I’ve encountered previously):
Why is it depressing? It’s natural!! Boys and girls are different, they want different things and that is ok!! Why are we being socially engineered to expect everyone to be the same? I reject that! My little boys play with trucks and swords and wrestle and build things. It is what comes naturally to them and I don’t find that depressing at all!!!!
This gender essentialist bullshit is downright stupid. We socialize boys and girls differently. That’s social engineering.