I am not sure I really believed it but I read "No Gender December" and then "buy your boy a Barbie and your girl a gun".
Hold it right there. I wouldn't buy anyone a Barbie or a gun. Okay maybe people are trying to make an alliterative point but I am also unsure about the point they are trying to make.
I don't see anything wrong with acknowledging a difference between the sexes. It's not the difference which is wrong. It is what people do with the difference that causes the problems. There's nothing wrong with girls being automotive mechanics and boys being nursery nurses. There is something wrong when we try to "encourage" them to do those things when they would both rather be airline pilots or deep sea divers.
Our new neighbours have a just-turned-three boy. He's an absolute delight. He is also what is sometimes described as "all-boy". He likes vehicles of any sort. He likes building sites and can tell you quite a lot about them. His mother is a paediatrician and strikes me as being a very sensible sort of person with a no nonsense attitude towards bringing up children. I am sure if T... wanted to play with a doll it wouldn't bother her at all - but she won't be buying him a Barbie for Christmas and she wouldn't want anyone else to do it either. You see, she knows T... would prefer to play with a set of blocks or use a truck to deliver "cement" to a building site. He was out "helping Daddy" on Saturday afternoon. It was where he wanted to be.
And I know a lot of other children who are much the same. Their parents aren't particularly gender conscious. They don't have gender expectations. If their girls want to do something with their lives that has always been seen as "masculine" they will accept it and encourage their efforts...but they won't try and tell them that this is what they should be doing. They won't buy a pink bike for their sons and a blue one for their daughter. They won't expect their boys to accept a toy dolls' house when they really wanted a garage.
But I wonder whether there will be parents who will be influenced by this "No Gender December" group. Will they give their children toys they think they should have rather than toys their children will actually play with?
I can imagine a boy and a girl getting together and shooting Barbie with the gun, burying both things and finding something else destructive to do. I'd rather buy them a book of things to do - science experiments perhaps?