In some countries, many more people are choosing to live alone nowadays than in the past.
Share via Email Cars and girls … the Hollywood pedal car — one of Hamleys' most-wanted toys for Christmas Their daughter Josie was three and their son Clem three months old. They wanted to record the moments when their children were made aware of gender stereotypes; when they were directed towards a view of the world in which girls and boys inhabit separate, rigid spheres of pink and blue — the first sphere passive, pretty and gentle, the second aggressive, active and strong.
The results were tweeted under the title Baby Gender Diaryand Ball, a broadcast journalist who lives in London, couldn't believe how much there was to write about. On the first day, they went to a pantomime with a toy stall, where Josie's older male cousins directed her straight towards the sort of item supposedly beloved of small girls: One of these boys then chose a flashing torch, in pink, for himself, to which the stallholder responded: The next day, when Josie was shown around the nursery she would be attending, a table covered in cars was described specifically as "the boys' corner".
Not long afterwards, Ball saw two different children's TV programmes, in quick succession, featuring male characters who were deeply embarrassed to be seen wearing the colour pink.
Ball was inspired to start the project after reading There's a Good Girl by the German lawyer and writer Marianne Grabrucker.
The book was an international bestseller when first published in the 80s, and charts the gender stereotypes Grabrucker's daughter Anneli was subject to, starting from her birth in August At the time Grabrucker was keeping the diary, these stereotypes were under attack, and seemed likely to weaken in future or even sputter out entirely.
Second-wave feminists of the 60s and 70s had analysed gender roles and kickstarted a trend for non-sexist parenting, built on a determination to bring up children free to embrace what interested them — be it maths, construction and cars for girls, or fashion, dolls and cookery for boys.
In the years since, there has been obvious progress towards gender equality in the adult world. Many more women have moved into the workplace and public life, many men have taken on a greater share of domestic chores, and gay and transgender people have fought strongly, often successfully, for greater rights and visibility.
Yet when it comes to the world of children — the toys they play with and the clothes they wear — stereotypes have never been so defined, or rigidly enforced.
Pink and blue have triumphed in the toy market, and there are often serious social penalties for children who breach the divide. The rise of highly gendered toys is a result of capitalism, but it also suggests a deep, subconscious unease with the advances of the past few decades.
Over the past few years, people across the world have begun questioning this culture. In the US, for instance, a high-school student called Antonia Ayres-Brown wrote this week about a campaign she has pursued sincewhen she was 11, to stop McDonald's handing out their Happy Meal toys on the basis of gender.
She recently received a letter from the company's chief diversity officer, stating: Instead, Marianne hid the cartons.
When Lowther asked what was the matter, the answer was: Alamy Lowther is part of the campaign Let Toys Be Toyswhich began towards the end of as the result of a thread on parenting website Mumsnet about the explicit gendering of toys.
In the space of a year the campaign has convinced 12 major retailersincluding Boots, Toys R Us and Marks and Spencer, to remove "girls" and "boys" signage on toy displays.
Lowther says she hopes the shops will start categorising products by subject and interest rather than gender.
This asks publishers to stop labelling books as specifically for boys and girls because, as Pullman has said: Let the readers decide for themselves. When I speak to Hughes, she has just launched a new online petition to stop gender stereotypes being marketed to kids more broadly.
Her awareness of the issue deepened when her son Harper, now four and a half, was born. There was heartache, she says, in seeing people's reactions to his love of pink and wearing dresses.
But stereotypes still abound.IDEA Public Schools is the fastest-growing network of tuition-free, Pre-K public charter schools in the United States. IDEA boasts national rankings on The Washington Post and U.S. News & World Report’s top high schools lists, and is on track to maintain its legacy of sending % of its graduates to college.
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Kids love playing fast-paced games, learning to play musical instruments, are efficient at using tablets, like listening to music and playing silly party games.
Interestingly, toys have become as gender specific as clothes, and many parents are uncomfortable when their little boy chooses a doll over a truck or their little girl opts for cowboys over princesses.
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