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.
Many of us who are youth sports coaches and parents tend to overlook the little things we say about what it means to be a man that can end up sending boys the wrong message, whether it's creating star athletes who feel entitled to abuse others (and who are excused for doing so), or falling into the Muscular Christianity trap that has defined sports (and overall culture, really) in the United States to determine male equals strong and tough, and female equals weak.