Overheard on CNN.com: What's a girl toy anyway?
December 22nd, 2011
05:20 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: What's a girl toy anyway?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Lego launched a new line of toys for girls that features lots of pinks and pastels and introduces characters like the beautician, the social girl, the girl who loves animals and "the smart girl."

This has upset some parents, who say the toys bring back outdated stereotypes of women's roles in the world.

HLNtv.com Art Director Kelly Byrom wrote that her 5-year-old boy would love the "girly" Lego toys and has been known to pair his fireman costume with a tutu to play "fireman princess." She asked why their isn't similar outrage over the "macho" stereotypes in the boy toy aisle.

Her story sparked an interesting conversation about gender roles and how grownups expect little girls and boys to act.  Some commenters said letting a boy run around in frilly pink outfits would make him weak, a target for bullies and possibly even gay. Others said they're just toys and that kids should be allowed to use their imagination.

Where's the outrage over 'macho' Legos?

Some commenters said that boys and girls are different, and that children should be raised knowing that.

Luke Vissering
My son will wear a tutu the day I'm dead. I'm raising my son to be a man and a good man at that. To be helpful, polite and caring. If he plays with a doll, that's fine. He wants to wear a tutu and I'll tell him no. I draw the line there. There is nothing wrong with raising a boy to be a boy.

David Huntwork
If you are indeed truly letting your boy run around in a tutu playing 'fireman' princess not only is that disturbing but probably borderline psychological child abuse. I have three daughers and though we do things like throw the football around or go 'bug hunting' they are still young ladies and not only do I reinforce and encourage that, I remind them of that. Nothing wrong with influencing your daughter with feminine things and your boys with macho things. Understanding and encouraging feminity and masculinity and helping to reinforce gender identity is an important part of being a parent, and you are failing miserably at that if this article isn't just a bit of weird, twisted satire. And where is this boys father who should be providing himself as a proper male role model? If he is in the picture he is doing a horrible job.

Lauren Campbell Bedell
BTW, girls were made to be MOTHERS, and with being a mother we are geared to have certain traits (gentleness, gracefulness, a certain affection for things)...boys are to be men and provide for their families...which means MACHO...hello...that is how nature (and God, if you are a believer) intended it to be. Do you see males acting like females and taking on female roles in the animal world? It does happen, but very rarely...and they're probably the gay ones. LOL. I have nothing against the gay community...I'm just saying. It doesn't make sense for a boy to love things glittery and girly. It just doesn't! Whenever my boys see pink things, they say Ew! I did not TRAIN them that way...in fact, each of my boys have gotten a dollhouse to play with (the Little People kind) as toddlers, but they still grow up hating pink.

Other parents said toys don't have anything to do with kids'  gender identity:

Joe Hatch
Oh dear God people, will you let the kids be kids and play. At 3 my son wore a big purple tutu, he is the center for his hockey team and he helped me drag our deer out this season. My daughter is all girl totally 100% girly and wants an old Chevy pickup with a wood stake bed. Let your kids be kids!

Janeen Winne
I absolutely agree. My son is into princesses, glitter, and rainbows. I constantly have to field questions about how I might be turning him gay. I respond with "what's wrong with being gay" and end up with the litany of "well it's such a hard life" to the traditional religious "it's against God's plan". Meanwhile, it's perfectly acceptable and encouraged for his mother to be very athletic and do hardcore obstacle course runs. For whatever reason, people are really put off by perceived threats to masculinity.

Owen Yarbrough
If she were to constantly restrict her sons interests in pink or her daughters interest in dragons and masculine things, she would raise a child that now is an adult that perpetuates the lessons taught by their parent that pink is for girls ONLY and boys should want to be masculine things when they play, or even worse, the child could grow up hating themselves because they love feminine things and they know their parents feelings towards these objects is negative and the role of their gender in society is not what their parents think is appropriate....moral of story...by repeatedly telling your child that they need to fit a certain gender type or role in society you could potentially make them grow up to hate themselves for not "fitting in" to the things that you consider to be normal. Do you want to indirectly make your kids think you hate them by their inability to meet your expectations.

Reader Jared John Haddock said that letting boy wear pink and tutus might create problems in the future.

You may not care if your boy wears a tutu, but lets talk about the world as it really is. He will not grow up and be confused because he played with a tutu. He will grow up and be confused because the LGBT community will tell him "you played with tutus, you must be true to who you are and be gay". Television will tell him, "you played with tutus as a boy, you must like men", and "it's ok to be who you really are deep inside". It's sophisticated, but it's brainwashing and stereotyping at its best, and by those who claim they are the victims of such stereotyping.

But one gay reader said it didn't work that way.

Adam Zahn
As a gay man, I never played with "girl toys" as a child. I always played with stereotypical toys for boys. That being said, kids will be kids. Forcing a truck in a kid's hand does not make him want to play with a truck anymore then say forcing your kids to play a sport year after year.

Too many people are equating (though not implicitly stating it) that a boy playing with a girl toy is going to end up feminine and gay. That is not exactly how it works. There is a lot of grey to gender.

What do you think? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Filed under: Overheard on CNN.com
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. BOMBO

    s kel, if you leave them in the package, they'll be worth something someday. Then they're not dolls. They're collectables.

    I had a friend who had a whole bunch of original Star Wars stuff from the 70s and 80s. He specifiaclly left them in the original packages because he didn't want them getting wrecked. Years later, he moved out on his own but left the Star Wars stuff at his parents place, for some reason. Recently he noticed all of it in a spare room in the basement, opened and obviously well used. His parents let one of the grandkids (my friends nephew) take them out and play with them because they thought he wouldn't mind.

    December 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gung hoe

    @Jifer theres a old saying that a body thats at rest tends to stay at rest whereas a body thats in motion stays in motion.So JIf you stay in motion my friend!

    December 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. giggly boy

    i'm 18 and i still wear my tutu.

    December 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gold Dragon

    Thank you banasy.

    Hope you and your family have a great holiday and are together to bring in the new year.

    Merry Christmas everyone and have a safe and happy new year.

    December 23, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. @JIF

    Were you dropped on you 'er head when you were a baby? Oh that's right you were ha ha ha ha.

    December 24, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. jeanette

    come on folks. it's time we admit we started this stupidity. first we wanted our sons to get intouch with their mor gentle side and daughter to be able to stand up for them selves an protect themselves( take self defense classes,,learn jujitsu, girls and boys are equal they should be allowed to play on boys teams , our sons should be able to going brownies) we did this . we took away the fun stuff we did because it was to dangerous for our children, now our children have taken away what they think is to dangerous for theirs even though they did it themselves when they were young (behind our backs most of the time) . grow up and take responsibility we screwed all this up.

    December 24, 2011 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  7. BoldGeorge

    We have now arrived at a bizarre and twisted age in time where calling a boy "boy and a girl "girl" is stereotyping. It's beyond me why some parents would allow there boy(s) to be feminine or there girl(s) to be masculine. And it has nothing to do with allowing them to be creative. Part of educating and protecting are kids is to help them not stray in any way, to criminality, against nature, etc. Kind of reminds me of Sodom&Gomorrah, acting in any reprehensible way to go against the will of God.

    December 24, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmk

      "...Part of educating and protecting are kids is to help them not stray in any way, to criminality, against nature, etc. Kind of reminds me of Sodom&Gomorrah, acting in any reprehensible way to go against the will of God."

      Is there a specific chapter and verse that addresses God's plan for boys to play with boy toys and girls to play with girl toys?

      Pretty sure you have to extrapolate to get there, and your human extrapolations can hardly be considered the "will of God."

      December 28, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      Would you kindly tell me what part of the bible dictates that girls should only play with baby dolls and wear pink, and boys should play with trucks and dinosaurs and wear blue? I don't remember that verse.

      Additionally, as I recall from years of Bible study, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is a warning against people being inhospitable to strangers, visitors, and travelers. Also a story about over-indulgence and materialism.

      I also recall that the "hero" of the story offered his virgin daughters to the mob to be gang-banged. Such a nice man, yes? Back in the "traditional" days when women were property.

      December 30, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  8. DSBsky

    It's not about the toys, it's about the environment really. Personally after being in and around that scene for a while, making movies and acting, I see how it is. The gay community is very aggressive in how they try to turn people gay. I had a gay guy jump on me while I was asleep drunk in my bed, because he thought I was drunk enough to go gay once "which is all it would take to mind fu#! you into being gay forever".. I have on so many occasions had gay men hit on me. Even after many statements by myself that I am not interested AT ALL. They seem to think that if they get you drunk enough or hang around you enough they can convert you. I'm not kidding.. It's almost subliminal after prolonged exposure and to the weaker mind I can see how some people might want to join into that falacy of a life. But it's not real, it's a smokescreen and that world is not a world where the generally "sane" dwell. Want to know why people turn gay? YES THEY TURN GAY THEY ARE NOT BORN GAY.. It's the environment and either a lack of upbringing or to much upbringing in an opressive way. Telling you first hand, gay people have some messed up stuff going on in their heads. you have no idea.. We need to stop it and treat it like what it is.. A problem..

    December 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Triple A

    So the Liberal Politically correct can even screw up playing with Lego's... Go figure.

    January 23, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
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