Boys themselves should feel empowered. Boys who have a good sense of self are less likely to seek fulfillment in unhealthy ways, Rubin said. “We have to raise them to like themselves, and to do that, we have to treat them with love and respect,” he said. “We have to appreciate their uniqueness. We need to validate their feelings; we need to empathize with their pain.”
Luckey recognized an overall male bias towards playground equipment and strived to change that; applying predominately white platforms, the structure remains gender neutral yet forms a blank canvas for the children to establish their own narrative. The shapes remain as abstract entities waiting to be explored, fusing architecture and design with a passion for kids.
We need to look at the gender norms that suggest men are worth more than women. A recent study found that children around the world are “straitjacketed” into gender roles in early adolescence, led to believe that girls are vulnerable and boys are strong and independent. Girls are taught to emphasise their physical appearance and are seen as potential targets and victims, while boys are viewed as predators. The good news is that because these are learned views and behaviours, they can be changed.
Read to your kids on a wide variety of people and stories that break that stereotypical image about boys saving the world or that the girl needs a hero to be save her. Talk about why women are always shown wearing aprons and baking or why the men are always portrayed as carrying briefcases to work. If we don’t help the children now, they will grow up with these notions that will solidify later in life.
As calls to end the gendered marketing of toys have gained momentum in recent years — the White House hosted a conference on toys and gender just before President Barack Obama left office, and the U.K.’s Let Toys Be Toys campaign has convinced 14 companies to remove gender labels — each step forward has been hotly debated. Fighting for change are parents who want to see a world in which toys come in a rainbow of colours and are divided by interest and age, rather than gender.
They talk about how poor dad is going to go broke with so many girls in the house, because all girls love to shop. And, of course, girls are naturally going to emasculate, manipulate, and henpeck the father of the family — just being around so many girls is going to sap the manliness right out of him. Essentially, this version of "poor dad" purports that every obnoxious stereotype about women and girls is true.
Some volunteers, like Nicole Fitzpatrick of Mt. Lebanon, are skeptical about the process and determined to challenge gender stereotypes. Volunteers have been discussing the issue amongst themselves throughout the morning, she said. "Should we even be dividing by gender?" she said. "[Volunteers] are sneaking a lot of cars and things that are traditionally 'boys' into the 'girls' pile.” And they’re doing the opposite, too. Even if the packaging doesn’t explicitly indicate gender, everyone at the warehouse seems to know that “boys” and “girls” toys have almost always meant dinosaurs and trucks versus dolls and stickers.
When asked about some tags such as ‘tough jobs for tough men’, and whether this approach is also carried through to the kids’ shows. ‘We definitely think about it and we definitely don’t pigeon hole a show, a kids show especially into a gender bias. We don’t say is “this is good for girls” and “this is good for boys”,’ Mike Hastings, director of enhanced content from Netflix, told in Berlin.
I will never know in a firsthand way the visceral response a woman feels when a sexual assault occurs. But I can direct my daughter to the people who do, the people who have written and spoken with eloquence and rage during this moment in time. The women who have stood bravely against social media trolls and men who intentionally subvert “believe women” into “believe all women, no matter what.”
The GEMS classes succeeded in bringing a marked shift in attitudes and mindsets, of not just girls but also the boys in school, siblings at home and parents, teachers and neighbours in the community. Things that were so far considered taboo were now being practised. Boys and girls began sitting together on the same bench, playing games in the sports grounds and fields without being segregated by gender, families mustering the courage to say no to dowry and boys helping with household chores.