Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Girls Don't Play With Transformers

When my aunt gave my male cousin a Barbie doll when he was five, a lot of people didn't like it. I heard several say "Boys don't play with dolls." At the time, I was did think it was kind of weird. I'd never known a boy to play with dolls before. I hear some people mumbling about action figures. They are not dolls. Don't make me come after you. 

The most awesomest Transformer ever
Anyhoo, looking back, I have to laugh at those people who threw a fit over the doll. For the first five or so years of my life, my best friends were my two older male cousins. I did everything with them. We played baseball, we pretended we were farmers (I was the cow. Did you know if you eat grass, your spit turns green?), and I played with all of their toys. Tractors, trucks, farm animals, and yes, even Transformers. Lots of Transformers, actually, and not a one of them was pink. 

And you know what's funny about that whole thing? No one said peep. No one told me I should be playing with Barbies instead (I did have a bunch of those, but didn't really play with them much until I was older). No one told me that girls don't play with Transformers.  

No one told me I should be playing nurse or teacher. No one told me I could only play with dolls. And guess what? I didn't end up broken. There's nothing wrong with me due to my choices in toys.  In fact, it gave me the freedom to develop who I am. I'm a tomboy with a bit of sugar and spice mixed in (snakes and snails kind of gross me out). I enjoy farming, video games and fantasy, but I also like Project Runway, painting my nails, and historical romance.

So I guess the moral of this strange roundabout story is that it doesn't matter what toys kids play with. What's important is that they play. With so many of these new-fangled gadgets, the creative mind is stifled or lost altogether. Kids need to be allowed the freedom to really use their imaginations. Let them run wild. Give them a box of mixed toys and let them go at it. Then you just sit back, and enjoy the wonderfully complex stories children can tell when they're given the reins.

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