Toys don't need to have a gender



During Eid celebrations, I watched little boys and girls play with their toys. The most popular were a pink buggy for wheeling around dolls, a toy vacuum cleaner, and of course a football.

I watched the children with a sense of pride as they obliviously disproved gender stereotypes about which toys to enjoy.

I too used to break stereotypes. I loved racing my Scalextric cars through the chicane. But I also had dolls to cuddle. I was desperate for the one you feed water, who then wets her nappy. (I have a real one of those now.)

Toys are important to children for both enjoyment and cognitive development, and different kinds of play develop different abilities. So it's crucial that children are exposed to as challenging a range of toys as possible.

Today, girls' toys are princess-y and pink, while boys' toys are blue and about construction or explosions. Toys that cross the divide and appeal to both genders are rare.

However, there is now a great push among feminists - and some parents - to erase the division. This campaign for toys to be less divided into "pink" and "blue" is slowly gaining momentum. Harrods recently followed Hamleys in dispensing with the traditional gender separation, sorting their stock of products by themes instead.

Given such trends, I've been flummoxed by the news from Lego - a toy clearly capable of crossing gender divides - that a range they brought to market last year, aimed just at girls, has far exceeded their expectations.

Lego Friends is all pastel colours and fashionable figurines, curvier, thinner and with back- stories - one of them, for example, is a fashion designer. One item in the line is a beauty salon. The boxy little yellow Lego man I grew up with - remember his clip-on hair? - is no more.

I'm keen for my young daughter to avoid the "pinkification" of toys. I want her to build complicated Lego airplanes, not take a curvy character to have her hair done. I want her to get the full technical challenge of Lego.

The company developed the range after extensive cultural studies, they say, to meet the needs of the way young girls play. But if "pink" is all that girls are exposed to, no wonder this is what they seek out. It is this entrenched expectation that we need to change.

If boys are more exposed to mechanical toys, careers in science become a boys' thing. And girls limited to caring for dolls or playing in a toy kitchen will become nurses, carers and cooks.

Toys are part of a child's invisible trajectory to adulthood. Let each child be free to discover her, or his, own potential.

Shelina Zahra Janmohamed is the author of Love in a Headscarf and blogs at www.spirit21.co.uk

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

'Cheb Khaled'

Artist: Khaled
Label: Believe
Rating: 4/5

England ODI squad

Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

The full list of 2020 Brit Award nominees (winners in bold):

British group

Coldplay

Foals

Bring me the Horizon

D-Block Europe

Bastille

British Female

Mabel

Freya Ridings

FKA Twigs

Charli xcx

Mahalia​

British male

Harry Styles

Lewis Capaldi

Dave

Michael Kiwanuka

Stormzy​

Best new artist

Aitch

Lewis Capaldi

Dave

Mabel

Sam Fender

Best song

Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber - I Don’t Care

Mabel - Don’t Call Me Up

Calvin Harrison and Rag’n’Bone Man - Giant

Dave - Location

Mark Ronson feat. Miley Cyrus - Nothing Breaks Like A Heart

AJ Tracey - Ladbroke Grove

Lewis Capaldi - Someone you Loved

Tom Walker - Just You and I

Sam Smith and Normani - Dancing with a Stranger

Stormzy - Vossi Bop

International female

Ariana Grande

Billie Eilish

Camila Cabello

Lana Del Rey

Lizzo

International male

Bruce Springsteen

Burna Boy

Tyler, The Creator

Dermot Kennedy

Post Malone

Best album

Stormzy - Heavy is the Head

Michael Kiwanuka - Kiwanuka

Lewis Capaldi - Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent

Dave - Psychodrama

Harry Styles - Fine Line

Rising star

Celeste

Joy Crookes

beabadoobee

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants

Profile Idealz

Company: Idealz

Founded: January 2018

Based: Dubai

Sector: E-commerce

Size: (employees): 22

Investors: Co-founders and Venture Partners (9 per cent)

How to avoid getting scammed
  • Never click on links provided via app or SMS, even if they seem to come from authorised senders at first glance
  • Always double-check the authenticity of websites
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all your working and personal services
  • Only use official links published by the respective entity
  • Double-check the web addresses to reduce exposure to fake sites created with domain names containing spelling errors
Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Znap

Started: 2017

Founder: Uday Rathod

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: FinTech

Funding size: $1m+

Investors: Family, friends

The Beekeeper

Director: David Ayer 

Starring: Jason Statham, Josh Hutcherson, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Minnie Driver, Jeremy Irons

Rating: 3/5

ENGLAND SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope 
Defenders: John Stones, Harry Maguire, Phil Jones, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Gary Cahill, Ashley Young, Danny Rose, Trent Alexander-Arnold 
Midfielders: Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard, Raheem Sterling, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Fabian Delph 
Forwards: Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)


Latest
Most Read
Top Videos