I just started reading Peggy Orenstein’s book, “Cinderella Ate My Daughter“. One of the topics she discussed was gender specific toys. Or that boys and girls gravitate toward different types of toys. Boys play with trucks and balls. Girls like dolls and pretend kitchens. My little girl is still too young to gravitate toward any gender specific toys. I’m still the gate-keeper of what toys end up in her toy box.
While reading the book, I remembered a peculiar incidence couple of months back. Several of my fellow agency folks and I volunteered to take a group of 4th graders to the Museum of Moving Image in Queens. We had to wait around for nearly an hour for the pizza that we promised them. During that time, we had the chance to interact with them. They were attending a charter school so they all seemed like very bright and well-educated kids. The boys and girls were keen to show us their new books and pencils they bought at the school book sale.
However, I noticed something during their free play in the classroom. There was a table with several nice iMacs. A group of heads huddled around the computers watching and commenting on the couple of other heads playing with the computers. One computer had a puzzle game. The other one had Google searches flashing by. When I looked closer, all the heads belonged to boys. There was not one girl in the group. I turned and asked some of the girls flipping through their new books, why are they not playing with the computers? They said, they don’t like computers.
Wow, they are self selecting and denying a tool that is integral to their future lives. Why? How? At what age did this happened? That just made me sad for my gender.