Some girls don’t play with dolls.

Some little girls just don’t like dolls, and Mary is one of them. Last night we went to Mcdonalds, and somehow they mixed up which gender specific toy belonged in which happy meal. Mary was thrilled to get an Official Spy Gear Gadget with her chicken nuggets. Ethan, on the other hand, was less thrilled to find a Polly Pocket with his cheeseburger. After realizing that the small scuffle in the back seat wasn’t about to resolve itself, we intervened. Mary was fairly upset when we told her to trade with her brother.

“What am I going to do with a silly old doll?” she protested.

And I wondered for a moment, what have I done?

Mary sporting the crown she made out of K'nex while playing Queen Astra the Alien
Mary sporting the crown she made out of K'nex while playing Queen Astra the Alien

As I’ve said before, I’ve never tried to push my kids into or even away from their stereotypical gender roles. As I see it, they’ll be who they want to be. Society will just have to like them as they are, or hang it in their big collective ear. But still, such a strong distaste for dolls made me worry just a little. I’m not sure about what, really. But it didn’t seem quite natural.

I shouldn’t have thought twice of it. Just now, Mary walked up to me and handed me a couple paper airplanes, the same ones she’d given me yesterday, come to think of it, and asked, “Do you remember these airplanes?” Of course I did!

“Weeellll…. the baby airplane doesn’t have anyone to play with. He’s so lonely. What do you think I should do?”

Before I could come up with a solution she liked (“let him play with the kitten?” didn’t go over so well), she pulled her hand from behind her back to reveal yet another tiny paper airplane.

“His mommy has to work, but now he doesn’t have to be lonely because I made a little sister for him to play with!” And soon the two baby airplanes were playing tag back and forth across the room, happy as doodlebugs, while the mother airplane worked and watched from the couch. Just like me.

4 thoughts on “Some girls don’t play with dolls.

  1. Maybe an strong distaste for dolls is a good thing. Because there’s a far-too-large percentage of our society that has little or no room for variance in gender roles. And were I to listen to those people, I’d conclude that:

    Boys grow up to be engineers or doctors — and enjoy power tools and blowing things up. Girls grow up to be nurses or school teachers (but only until their first pregnancy) — and love shoe shopping and diamonds.

    And raising an entire gender to be fascinated by sparkly things? That’s gotta be unnatural. I’m just saying.

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  2. Yeah, I think it just hit me like that because I’d been reading some (old) book that mentioned how dolls are therapeutic and allow a child to act out situations they’re struggling with until they reach resolution, and how they help a child teach themselves how to relate.

    But if dolls are supposed to help little girls know how to behave, I can’t say the lovely role models of Bratz and Barbie excite me all that much anyway.

    The thing I worried about was whether it was one thing to not PUSH your child to play with dolls (something I’d never do) but another thing all together to never buy dolls for a daughter. And I really never have, because she’s never acted like she wants them.

    But she definitely does invent her own… I just hadn’t realized it. When she’s not building families of paper airplanes, she’s making friends out of her K’nex. What can I do but let her keep going as she does? And I do think she’s doing fine. I’ll post a picture of Mary playing "Queen Astra" of some planet I can’t remember. She wore a very interesting crown…

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  3. Yeah, I think it just hit me like that because I’d been reading some (old) book that mentioned how dolls are therapeutic and allow a child to act out situations they’re struggling with until they reach resolution, and how they help a child teach themselves how to relate.

    But if dolls are supposed to help little girls know how to behave, I can’t say the lovely role models of Bratz and Barbie excite me all that much anyway.

    The thing I worried about was whether it was one thing to not PUSH your child to play with dolls (something I’d never do) but another thing all together to never buy dolls for a daughter. And I really never have, because she’s never acted like she wants them.

    But she definitely does invent her own… I just hadn’t realized it. When she’s not building families of paper airplanes, she’s making friends out of her K’nex. What can I do but let her keep going as she does? And I do think she’s doing fine. I’ll post a picture of Mary playing "Queen Astra" of some planet I can’t remember. She wore a very interesting crown…

    Like

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