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Showing posts from December, 2009

Men and Escapism

I’m no child psychologist, but I do work in an office where an endless string of kids parade in and out, allowing me ample opportunity to observe behavior. We also have a big TV here playing cartoons half the day, which gives me a chance to glimpse commercials for children’s toys. I’m noticing a particular trend, which may be obvious but I’m only now really beginning to appreciate.

There is a difference between little boys and little girls. I have no idea how much this difference is actually biological or how much it is merely cultural. Like many “nature or nuture” issues, I suspect the answer is a complex combination of both. But look at the toys marketed to boys versus the toys marketed to girls. Yes, the boy-toys are in general related to conflict, war, and competition. And yes, the girl-toys are in general related to domestic, nurturing tasks. This says a lot about our perception of gender, of course, but I’m making a slightly different point today.

While both kinds of toys embrace …