Study shows toys shouldn’t be separated by gender

Study shows toys shouldn't be separated by gender
Image credit: Flickr (CC) / Quinn Dombrowski

Toys for boys and toys for girls seems to be an outdated thing. At least that’s what a BBC experiment shows and claims things are better if done differently.

BBC Two aired a documentary called No More Boys and Girls where dr. Javid Abdelmoneim held a special experiment. In it toddlers were dressed in their opposing gender’s clothes so volunteer adults think they are a boy if they are a girl and vice versa.

The volunteers then are told to interact with the toddlers. They had a selection of toys including stuffed animals, building bricks, dolls, robots and so on.

All volunteers showed they stuck to gender stereotypes. This meant they were giving Oliver (who was actually Marnie) robots, action figures and so on. And they were giving Sophie (who was actually Edward) soft toys and dolls.

When the experts revealed the truth about the toddlers, the volunteers said they offered the toys based on their gender. The experts go on to say that parents shouldn’t limit their kids’ toys based on gender. Different toys teach different skills and all of them are useful for any and every person.

The “boy toys” usually teach skills like spatial awareness, physical confidence and so on. Dr. Javid argues the differences may contribute to future career choices and the discrepancy between men and women in STEM fields.

Javid then held another experiment. Over six weeks a class of seven-year-olds was raised “gender neutral”. After six weeks, girls showed increased self-confidence and boys were more caring, better at expressing their emotions and decreased bad behavior by 57%.

Dr. Javid tells the Telegraph that allowing kids to play with more toys has no impact on gender identity. The experiment is not aimed at that, but to see the benefits of allowing kids to play with more toys and not stereotyping the toys into gender-appropriate.