Listen to “Episode 87. Differences Between Boys And Girls” on Spreaker.
I have 2 sons and 2 daughters and I can tell you there are some very huge differences between them. There are also a lot of similarities between them. In this podcast I discuss my observations.
Links: What To Expect Magazine: 8 differences between boys and girls
In regards to the previous Legos article a friend of mine posted his thoughts on the whole Legos for girls situation.
The Friends controversy caused a bigger change in marketing but the way they have marketed to girls had been fairly consistent. Lego had done a “Homemaker” series & the Paradisa series that could integrated into the basic set but was very much based on gender stereotyping and in no way gender neutral. In the 80s most of my blocks had the face to the left. Gender was pretty much defined by putting a ponytail on it. In the 90s the faces started to have more beards but rarely did I find/get one with lipstick. Lego really started to have multiple hair and face styles that were more like women for what I would call the base sets in the late 90s around the time they started doing the Star Wars sets.
I really think the Research Institute Lego Set had such pent up demand is because of how long Lego has used gender stereotyping in marketing to girls. It is more that the basic Lego sets are still bought, regardless of gender but marketing makes a huge difference. If I remember correctly a lot of the dip came from the way they changed their designing because their patents were getting ready to expire. They went to one time use, special purpose blocks starting in the 90s so Lego moved away from the way you can build ANYTHING with their blocks model. At the same time K’NEX came out using the same model that you can really build ANYTHING, however it is more stick oriented. This meant that Lego had direct competition from MegaBlocks, but anyone can tell you their blocks aren’t quite right, when compared to Legos.
My pre 90’s Lego sets didn’t have much gender defining aspects to their clothes or faces. Most of the gender aspect was ambiguous unless it was a ponytail. You could try to make some assumptions for things like the knights & castle sets, however that is based on historical norms not really the blocks themselves. Even then they were still 80% purchased for boys. They could have changed their marketing to gain market share in “the pink toy aisle” instead they entirely changed the minifigures, more pastels, changed the colors of the boxes, and reinforced gender norms.
(My mom actually liked Legos because they didn’t have guns, but I still built guns for my Legos.)
I also had a set similar this this but it was scuba diving not Coast Guard (but I thought you would like the Coast Guard example) the only thing they would have needed to market to girls would have been a different hat and/or not a beard and maybe a “cute” animal for the Lego minifigures to explore. If I’m being stereotypical the boy might hunt the cute animal while the girl might save it but it could be done from the exact same set depending on the marketing and the face/hair on the Lego set.
Previous article: https://libertariandad.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/legos-for-girls/
I love my daughter and I want nothing but the best for her. But I can honestly tell you that it worries me sometimes that I am raising her in this world today. I am constantly bombarded by warnings of that she will lose all confidence by the time she is a teenager. That she wont want to do math or be interested in science. She will be called “bossy” and she will very likely find some loser boyfriend. So yeah, way to be optimistic about having a daughter. It makes one wonder why anyone would even want a daughter. Right?
While I cannot predict what the future holds for my daughter (soon to be daughters). I can tell you that as a father I feel a bit overwhelmed about her future. You are very much flooded with a steady message of women are mistreated and society doesn’t value women and so on. So what to do? How do I raise a daughter that is strong and does what she wants to do? The most positive part in all of this is that she has wonderful example in a mother that is head strong and marches to the beat of her own drum. Her mother is fiercely independent and people follow her example. She inspires others to try new things. So on that front we are good.
Further more, there are strong women all around my daughter. Her aunt is flobotomist (she draws peoples blood). Her other aunt is world class editor. Her great grandma was a nurse and I could go on and on. So on that front I am not worried. Furthermore, I do believe in a certain amount of laisez faire approach to parenting and on that front I would not be worried. Even if she decided that she wanted to get married and be mom it would be delightful, because in looking at the women in my family that are moms, they are all happy and contented women.
But yet, I do still worry about her. The constant barrage about girls not getting ahead in technology, science, medicine and so on. What am I supposed to do as a father to encourage this?
This is the article that deals with a fathers experience of going to a comic book store and seeing a lot of scantily clad women on the front of comic books. As a father this subject is always a big deal do to me. The reason is that much of modern culture is hypersexualized with expectations of persons that are largely not realistic. My sons watch various comic book shows and they are generally toned down in both violence and sexual content. However it is the gateway that kids are brought into a lot of comic books such as the avengers, xmen and so on. My daughter is the youngest and she kind of watches this stuff too and as she gets older I am sure she will gain interest in comic books. But as this article points out where is the kid friendly stuff especially for little girls.
What Taking My Daughter to a Comic Book Store Taught Me
Please read and tell me your thoughts on this subject and where there are strong female heroines.
I have three kids and I love it. It is amazing how original they are and the crazy and funny things they say. Last night my son was listening to the song “Michael row the boat ashore” and he yelled ARRR I am a pirate during it. Why he would say that I am not entirely sure but it makes a lot of sense. But as I look my boys I feel a lot of confidence in them and I don’t worry about their future. When they turn 18 I am fairly confident that I can set them free to go into the world. However this feeling was not the same when my daughter was born. The first moment I held her I felt that she was a bit more frail then my boys and I looked into her blinking eyes and realized that I had to take care of this precious child.
As her father I feel as though I have to guide her and be a daily example of how to be a productive member of society. Besides I would want be the example that she uses if she ever gets into a relationship, which won’t happen till she’s 99. “Sorry honey, I am sure he is cute but he is not good enough for you.”
One of the other struggles that I deal with is how I should raise my daughter and her future education. The one side of me is obviously affected by the world around me and practical experience of my sister. Growing up in a conservative community it is largely expected that as a women you should be ready to get married at 18, however what happens when you cannot find some one? This was a big deal with my sister. She looked around and there wasn’t really any out there that she hit it of with. Yet, all around her, her friends are dating and getting married. How do you deal with that scenario? Do you have your daughter stay at home and wait for some one to show up or do you encourage them to do something else? I am very happy to say that my sister found a wonderful man to marry, however she was almost 30. (This wasn’t lack of trying) I don’t think my parents would have let her live at home that long.
So I look at my daughter I would say that I would find it very important to gain an education and start a career. Besides when else do you have the ability to live in Paris, the Netherlands and New York all by yourself. What do you think, how should one raise a daughter to be a productive member of society?