I would like to talk about boys and girls for a bit. I would like you to know what I mean when I say something is a ‘boy activity’.
I have a few ‘boy’ posts on hands on : as we grow that say they’re directed towards boys or that they are boy activities.
For reference: Everything for Boys on 25 Pinterest Boards
Every. Single. Time. I share them somewhere, on Facebook or on Pinterest, I get comments back to me saying that it shouldn’t be labeled as ‘boys’, that their girl would love these activities too. Especially on my For the Boys board that is meant for stereotypical boy activities.
Of course they would. I whole-heartedly agree that many, many, many girls will want to do these same ‘boy’ activities.
But this is where I’m coming from: I have three boys. I know what my boys like. [That doesn’t mean ALL boys.)
Secondly, in general, boys have certain tendencies that are different than girls. In general. Not all. And definitely not saying that girls don’t have the same tendencies at times.
Thirdly and what I think its most important. There are some things that we just think ‘boy’ when we see them. Trucks. Trains. Balls. Running non-stop. Yes. Its stereotypical. Yes. I will not disagree with that.
However, that does NOT mean I am, in any way, pushing these types of activities towards my boys. Nor do I think anyone should.
^^^ Read that again ^^^
I do activities that my boys enjoy. The activities planner helps me do that. I focus on my children’s current interests. Whether that’s trains and dirt. Or whether that’s crafting with flowers and playing house.
See? It also doesn’t mean I stop them from playing or doing activities that are ‘stereotypically’ girl focused.
By labeling an activity as ‘boy’ does not mean that a girl cannot do them.
All it means is that its a stereotypical boy activity. And I know that you may want to stop this generalizing of girls and boys and that they shouldn’t be labeled. [I agree, they shouldn’t.)
I just know that when I’m looking for these stereotypical types of activities for my three boys to do — It’s a lot easier for me to find what I’m looking for when it says “activities for boys” over “activities for kids” or “activities for boys and girls”.
When “kids” is in the topic, it could be anything, but when “boys” is in the topic, I have an idea of what I can expect.
On the flip side…
I find readers being concerned about others reacting to their kids when they aren’t being the stereotypical boy or girl.
That I get. Completely.
I have a boy that loves to craft and do art projects. He’s not big into sports at all. He’s not coordinated in that way.
I would be completely appalled if another parent looked at him and didn’t consider him to be boy material because he didn’t fit the mold.
While the label ‘boy’ is nice to have for organizational purposes for activities, clothes, toy, and so on to find what you’re looking for. I completely agree that it should never be forced on a child or frowned upon if they don’t fit the mold.
Those are two scenarios of steretyping that can be treated completely differently.
So, am I off base?
Am I wrong to label these activities with ‘boys’ in the title or writing?
I realize that by asking this question I’m setting myself up for criticism. I welcome it, if it’s constructive.
Thank you for taking the time to hear me out. Greatly appreciated!
I am not alone in these thoughts. I have shared my concerns with newsletter subscribers, and have gotten the following responses:
I have one boy and one girl and if I want to find an activity for them both that is centered around trucks that is FINE but I will still be using the word BOY in my search. – Reader Brit
This drives me crazy if it said for boys only, yes maybe kick up a stink but its a guide, a group of ideas. – Reader Niki
By generalizing your activities it makes it easier and faster for me to find what I want on your site. I wish that people would stop worrying about stereotyping their children. Do what they like and be a good parent and you can’t go wrong. The fact is that boys and girls are different and we grow up into men and women that are different. We are meant to be different, God intended that. – Reader Iris
Keep up your good work – and, when we Google for boys shoes, we Google “boys trainers” not “kids trainers” – certain amount of practicality is needed and people should relax! – Reader Ibet
My first thought is, “Who cares that you called it a ‘boy’ activity?” You post activities for children and if a parent is interested in trying it with their child, who is to stop them from doing so? Simply because it has the label of boy on it? So silly. – Reader Jessica
I have no doubt it is in the genes….Man the Hunter…..Woman, the mother/protector/nester – Reader Dan
I don’t think they are only for boys, but it is great to have some resources that are great for boys. – Reader Amanda
Let us be absolutely clear, boys and girls are different and not just physically! In my experience boys will play with ‘girls’ toys and activities and girls will play with ‘boy’ toys but in the long run children almost always spend most of their time with the stereotypical toys for their gender. They are inherently different and they are genetically wired to certain behaviours. – Reader Sue
Our world is trying to shift things. Making all things for all people…kind of makes NOTHING special. Boys are boys and that is why they are special. Girls are girls and that is why they are special. – Reader Kimberle