This I Believe

Kristen - Louisville, Kentucky
Entered on December 6, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Toys shape the beliefs of many children in America. It is in my own confused frustration with many of my own play things that I realized the restrictions and inhibitions they place on kids. In December 2005 research from Bath University unveiled a cultural occurrence in girls ages seven to eleven, many defame their plastic barbies with joy, almost as a right of passage. from decapitation to burning shaving their heads and microwaving them, they torture the dolls withoout apology. Givning up ever being Barbie themselves.

Take a look at the toy catalogues and think about the gender roles expressed in each advertisement. Passive girls in pink and bouncy energetic boys decorate each page and encourage children into double standards before they reach their teens. It is in the vulnerable stages of childhood that kids learn societies input on gender role behavior. Little boys nurturing skills are drowned in camo and monster trucks while the spatial skills of each little girl are chocked out in sparkly flat faced Bratz © dolls and dress up clothes.

Psychologists say the androgynous human is often more psychologically and emotionally sound, with a better since of well being than those falling into more rigid roles, denied options and insight of an overall sense of self. The androgynous human being is both nurturing and assertive, a social creature capable of emotion, ambition and service. Montessori schools have their students participate in unisex activities cooking, and sports est. Embracing every strength and sharpening every skill is vital to a healthier generation.

As in every species, play is where the young human being learns its place, how to fend for itself, and its role in life. What are Barbie and the Bratz dolls doing to our daughters? Some of these plastic girls even come with thongs, like the Bratz “Babyz” model! I can’t imagine the impression many children will get this year of what a girl is. And boy’s play things get more violent every Christmas One toy gun, “Laser Challenge V2,” is marketed for children as young as age 8. When the kids play, one child shoots the other in the chest and they wear vests to keep score. Its funny how we look at parents in the Middle East training their kids for war and radical religion, but do we not ready our children for their own sociological stance in our community, the power hungry consumer. What God calls for us to raise our children in such light?

“You know what’s wrong with everybody? Too smart. I know it sounds crazy. I know. But it’s true. Everybody’s too smart. It’s like everybody knows everything and everybody argued everything and everything got hashed out and settled the day before I was born. It’s not fair. They know about gravity so nobody talks about gravity. It’s a dead issue. Look at me. My feet are stuck to the f***in floor. Fantastic. But no. That’s gravity. Forget it. It’s been done it’s been said it’s been thought, so f*** it. It’s not fair. I’ve been shut outta everything that mighta been good by a smartness around that won’t let me think one new thing. And it’s been like that with love, too. You’re a little girl and you see the movies and maybe you talk to your mother and you definitely talk to your friends and then you know, right? So you go ahead and you do love. And somethin a what somebody told ya inna movie or in your ear is what love is. And where the f*** are you then, that’s what I wanna know? Where the f*** are you when you’ve done love, and you can point to love, and you can name it, and love is the same as gravity the same as everything else, and everything else is a totally dead f***in issue?” -John Patrick Shanley “Savage in Limbo”

Christmas is every child’s favorite time of year. This Christmas I would encourage parents not to have their children capitalize on the commercial sense of Christmas but, to really think about the gifts they give them. Parents are the first thing a child has to teach them what life is and rather they like it or not there is a big world out there ready to define it for them. There are millions of lives a child can pick from, many patterns they can fall into, and a parent’s present (their representation of love) even if it’s just a special moment or a plastic doll, is a gesture worthy of good thought. Let kids explore the world pure of stereotypes and cheap sedatives to mimic happiness. The holidays are a time to really teach your kids about family and life, define for your children what the world is keep them conscious, inform them, otherwise they’ll get trapped in misconceptions blatant as a mesh thong on their dolls or a toy gun in their hands.