Amazon has dropped its gender search options for its toys, now grouping cars and Barbie dolls together. They are no longer deciding which toys are for girls and which ones are for boys. Instead they are listing the toys according to age and genre.
Manufacturers and retailers are realizing that they need to offer gender-neutral toys as the transgender community continues to raise awareness on their community and as gender issues take a forefront position in our society as more and more transgender children are coming out earlier, identifying as the opposite sex. Toys should not be gender-specific.
As a young child, I liked my Barbie doll and her sister Skipper. Always excited to get a new outfit for these dolls, I would spend hours playing with them. I also had a fascination with Matchbox cars; I loved these miniature cars more than I loved my Barbie doll. The first time I saw them was at my friends house, where her younger brother had them scattered around the den.
Wanting to have a Matchbox car and start a collection, I asked my mother if she would buy one for me. She seemed taken aback that her pretty little girl wanted to play with Matchbox cars. She said, “No, they are for little boys, not little girls, go play with your Barbie.” I was devastated and knew I would never get one.
Yet, I loved those little cars. The detail on them was extraordinary and I secretly wanted them more than my dolls. When I was old enough to buy them myself, I did. I still love these little cars as I love the big cars, too. I have just always loved cars!
Does that make me someone who has an issue with my gender? No, it doesn’t. I just like cars and girls and boys can both like cars, as I suspect boys and girls can like dolls. I always thought there should be an American Boy Doll store to coincide with American Girl. Our society teaches young children that dolls are for girls and cars are for boys, when in fact, they can like both.
Gender Identity has nothing to do with what kind of toys we play with rather it is a freedom of expression for a young child as to what they are interested in playing with. Having a choice in toys which have in the past been gender-identified should be, and I believe will be, the trend for children with no gender-specific labels for the toys.
Kudos to Amazon for recognizing this and starting this trend as other retailers and manufacturers will follow.