Boys play with action figures and Legos. Girls play with dolls. Boys excel in sports and spacial tasks. Girls excel in interpersonal relationship building and story telling. These gender norms are and have always been the gender norms in our society, and, for the most part, they accurately describe childrens’ playing and social styles. But is this really okay? Should this also be our future?
I didn’t really have a problem with this concept (I liked playing Nintendo video games, my sister liked accessorizing Groovy Girls, and I think we’re both pretty awesome), but now–having looked at sociology and psychology–I have become a bit more skeptical. Why should it matter that young girls feel that they should play with dolls instead of playing video games? Sure. They are better able to develop their social skills and imaginative storytelling abilities through playing “house” and throwing pretend tea parties, but is this somehow taking something away from them?
In our world today, it is sad to see how few of women end up studying or working to become engineers (although the number is growing slowly). Many attribute this general disinterest in the sciences as a byproduct of their childhood activities and, more specifically, their toys.
For this reason, a woman named Debbie Sterling–a female engineer herself–has been working on creating a toy specifically made to get young girls interested in building things with their own minds and hands. This toy, creatively named GoldieBlox, may finally turn gender norms on their head as it will encourage these young girls to hone their skills and passions for science and engineering for the future.
Check out the awesome story and Debbie’s Kickstarter campaign here!