I have done my graduation in Elementary Education. I was part of this amazing course at Delhi University – Bachelors of Elementary Education – that changed me forever.
To call it a course would be wrong; it was in fact, a movement. The course was run in an all-girls’ college with all-women professors. A part of the course focused on child psychology and aptitude and attitude required to be an elementary teacher. Another part of the course focused on women empowerment and gender role reversals and history, psychology and philosophy on the subject. Four years into the course and I came out as better, more confident and ready to take on the world kind of female. I was capable of differentiating between what is right for me and what is wrong for me; I was capable of choosing that ‘right thing for me;’ and most of all, I was capable of making that choice without any guilt whatsoever.
What I learned during those four years, has been with me ever since. So much so, it has become part of my subconscious. Of course, I have been passing all that to my daughter as well.
One of the things that I leaned through the course was how we adults pass unnecessary gender stereotypes to children through games and toys that they play with or through our own behavior. For example, today there are so many mothers out there who work and earn, take care of themselves and their families independently and juggle like a superwoman. Even then, we are most likely to find redundant gender stereotypes in books such as male figure reading newspaper while female figure talking over the phone or male figure working on computer while female figure watching television.
I am all for breaking each one of these gender stereotypes and especially those associated with toys. I am a huge supporter of Let Toys Be Toys movement and have written about it wherever I could – Toys Are Not For Girls, Toys Are Not For Boys, Toys Are Only Toys.
So you can guess my feelings when Little B was gifted with this toy –
Making Toys Gender Neutral for Kids
To tell you the truth, I liked this monopoly for kids. Funskool has made an easy version of the classic monopoly game which is simple enough for kids of 5-8 age group to get a hang of this classic game.
What I didn’t like though was the “princess” part of it. Monopoly is a gender-neutral game. Then why did the toy manufacturer has to make this one “princess” and thus especially for “girls.” Why couldn’t it be based around hundreds of gender-neutral things in the world.
I decided to take matters in my own hand.
The game came with 8 princess characters for the players to choose from.
I asked Little B to choose any 4 out of the 8 princess characters that she would like to have. She chose Jasmine, Mulan, Pocahontas and Ariel. She chose them because she said that these four “do adventure in their life.”
The remaining 4 princess characters (Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Belle) became part our gender-neutral monopoly revolution. Little B and I pasted white sheet over them. We drew over them characters that Little B actually likes and are much more active in their stories. We ended up drawing Wyldstyle, Winter (from the movie Dolphin Tale), The Cat in the Hat and wormhole (from the movie Interstellar).
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