In many of my classes, we often discuss the gendering of children’s toys (see here, here and here). This topic comes up a lot because not only does so much of my work have to do with gender and youth culture but also because, evidently, we can never have enough toys. Or stop playing with them.
[I have coloring book pictures hanging all over my house from my niece who sends them to me pretty regularly. She’s 19.]
In Adol Lit this week and next, we are discussing gender and reading. We’re learning, for example, that boys limit themselves to reading books about boys but girls will read books about both boys and girls (which might explain part of why Harry Potter was so popular). So this division of gender among youth culture is divided, even in reading.
What continues to surprise me, however, is the persevering ideological enforcement of dividing gender by color. In a country that had transgressed so much about gender division—Oprah hosting the first pregnant man
and even the first transgendered mayor,
—we are still locked in that gender codification of identifying our girls in pink and our boys in blue with no other consideration outside that binary.
With that in mind, chew on these for a bit:
Now let’s move into that “so what?” space I am always tossing at you. Are these just photos of kids with toys? What do they mean?