Okay, when I only had boys to shop for, I did run into the 'OMG, I am NOT buying that toy and WHAT PARENT WOULD?' mindset from time to time. No scary bleeding plastic figurines; no demonic action figures and nothing that promoted some movie they were too young to even see. (Same goes for Haloween. You can dress up as a Zombie, but you may not dress up as Jason. How do you know who Jason even is??)
I'm not some crazed zealot shielding my kids from the evils of the world. I am, however, their mother, as as that person, I will guide them away from things that are not appropriate and tell them why, so when they are older they can make their own decisions. It is all we as parents can do. I allow toy guns. They read Goosebumps and Harry Potter and even the Vampire Chronicles, because my oldest can handle it.
And don't get me wrong; I can't WAIT until they are old enough to bring the pillow and blankies out to the living room and watch scary movies with their mother until the crack of dawn. But not yet. I, for one, treat horror movies and books as a rollercoaster ride for my brain. I don't think reading or seeing them makes me an evil person. But, again, I'm an adult and I can handle it.
Having a girl, however, has opened my eyes to a whole WORLD of ridiculous, inappropriate toys. Wow. Barbie, maybe not so darned bad when you place her next to Bratz. Not just the creepy eye surgery and botox lips they sport, but the mindset of these dolls. Shop and shop and shop. Yes, I know lots of little girls who play with them and they are completely fine. But I have my mom as a role model, and where she allowed the 'Sunshine Family' she allowed only one Barbie doll. Did I think my friends who had 20 barbies had a better life than me? Of course. Did it scar me for life? Of course not. Did it teach me something good as an adult? I think it did.
Toy cash registers with pretend money? Great for learning. Toy credit cards and the plastic jewelry to pretend to buy? No way.
Play food? Great! Play McDonald's food? Not so great.
Then I found this great little aisle in Target that had what I'd call snooty toys. Why they had to have their own aisle, I can't imagine except for that impression they want to give their shoppers. They have these cute 'barbie' type dolls that don't have gazonga boobies and dress not so quite inappropriately. I grabbed one and a little baby with supermodel hair for my daughter. Now for the daddy doll,... no daddy doll. No boy baby dolls, no male nothin'. What's up with that? I know that the nuclear family is in the minority, but come on! It's okay to play with boy dolls! It's okay for boys to play with dolls! My boys had baby dolls when they were younger. Are these lesbian dolls who propogate with IVF? Nothing wrong with that for those who want it, but I don't. Make a boy doll for me. Are we teaching little girls that boys are not important? Living in a household with four boys (five if you include the dog), I kind of LIKE boys and think it would be cute if my daughter could pretend with her play family just like her real life family.
That doesn't mean I want to BE a boy. I am extremely happy being a girl and would like to teach my girl that being a girl is cool. But liking boys is also cool.
Which leads me to the whole controversy of the Dangerous Book for Boys and now we have a Dangerous Book for Girls. Don't even get me started down this path. I bought the first for my boy. I will NOT buy the second for my girl. I think it is ASANINE. I don't want my boys and girls to be the same. I want them to be different and cherish their differentness; respect each other for their differences and learn from them.
As a kid, one of my favorite toys was a blue metal pick up truck. But I'm a girl.
As a teenager I wore makeup. But I also trained bird dogs, got a couple of first places in field trialing competitions and my grandfather, who is a gunsmith, gave me a shotgun for my 13th birthday. But I am a girl.
As an adult, at one of the many after conference shin digs I'd go to with my co-workers, smoking a cigar and snarfing beer out of the pitcher (sorry mom), my good buddy told me, "Karen, you are a man trapped in a woman's body". Maybe true, but I am a girl.