Nature vs. Nurture
Nature vs. Nurture

Should Boys Be Allowed to Play With Dolls?

by James Howell about a year ago in children

Thoughts of a Father of an 8-Month-Old

Should Boys Be Allowed to Play With Dolls?

This has been an ongoing topic for some time now. Some people believe that it is not OokayK, others have no qualms with it. Me personally, I don’t see what the big deal is. I believe there are great benefits to it, psychologically and developmentally.

While having a conversation with a coworker, he mentioned that he doesn’t allow his son to play with anything girl related. I’m not sure why that it, maybe it’s because its crossing a gender barrier, or that he thinks it’s socially unacceptable, or out fear that that it may make him homosexual or have gender identity issues. I really don’t know. If my son wanted, say a baby doll, I wouldn’t refuse it because it’s a girl’s toy, no more than Transformers or Ninja Turtles are boy’s toys.

I believe that it can encourage great empathy, responsibility, and better fathering results in the future. That’s not to say that I would force it on him, but only if he asked. It is his decision, not mine. I would not shame or scold him. We have to stop blurring the lines of gender related toys, and realize that all kids are different, no matter their background. When we shame these children, we teach them sexism and misogyny against girls, and that we should be divided. I certainly don’t want to teach my son that.

I feel that the “bronies” should be addressed at this point. I must admit that this is something that I personally do not understand, and sometimes I feel like it can border on pedophilia when it is adults that are participating in it. That obviously doesn't mean that it happens though. I just don't get it personally. I would be more than willing to talk to a bronie to get a better understanding of it. I know that children have been bullied for being bronies and have harmed themselves because of the bullying.

I know that I will and already have detractors for my views on these types of things. I accept that fact, and know that when they “troll” me, I at least have their attention for that long. My goal is to raise my son to be an open-minded and respectful gentleman. If it isn't hurting him or someone else, I have no problem with him doing whatever makes him happy. I just don't want him to grow up being a bully, sexist, racist, or have hatred towards anything or anyone. I feel like there is enough of that in the world, and that he can rise above this to go on and do great things. I know we all have big dreams for our children, but I feel like this is something I can have a hand in. By teaching him compassion and open-mindedness for people of all cultural, spiritual, and sexual backgrounds, he has no reason for hate.

I often wonder what I would/will do if he does indeed ask for a doll. It's easy to say that I would do it for him. I feel like I would have to have a conversation with him first about gender labels and how people might look down on him. I wouldn't want to discourage him from it, if it makes him happy. I still want him to be himself, no matter the cost. I would defend him to the death and protect him any way I could. He deserves to be happy and live in a world without gender labels, stereotypes, and preconceived notions. If I can give him that, I will have done a service to him and the world with the hopes that he could spread a message of love and hope. That's all I want for him, to grow up to be a happy, healthy, young gentleman who grows up with respect and love for his fellow human beings.

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James Howell

Father, activist, man in black...

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