Sheriff Callie Is For Girls

Monday, July 25, 2016

At least according to Toys R Us. And probably some other retailers, I'm sure.

Nolie's Sheriff Callie toys, all ready for bed!

With Nolie's birthday coming up, we've had some people ask what he wants, so we went to Toys R Us a couple of weeks ago to have him show us some things he might like, and then I compiled some of the things he liked in a wish list so it would be easier for people to access.

The list sorts the items on it by category, such as "Action Figures & Hero Play, NERF Blasters" and "Cooking for Kids, Play Kitchen Sets".

And then, of course, I saw "Girl Toys".

Even as a kid, I had an issue with the thought that toys were gendered. My brothers regularly played with my Barbies, and I had my own superhero/villain action figures. I played with what I wanted to play with. The idea that I had to fit a preconceived notion of femininity didn't really kick in until around middle school, when I became overly concerned with how boys saw me.

Is all of this sounding a little familiar? That's because I went on a gendered toys tangent about a year ago, when Target decided to remove gendered signage from their toy section.

But this? This feels more personal.

This is about my sweet baby boy.

My little one who adores "Share Ca-yee". Who sleeps with a stuffed Callie, Sparky, and Toby every night (Jamie has Peck, rounding out the set). Who sings along with the theme song as best as he can. Who thinks that Sparky, Callie's horse, says "moo", but when you tell him horses say "neigh", decides that he says "yaaaay!".

My almost three-year-old loves Sheriff Callie's Wild West. He doesn't just love the male characters (though he really does love them!); Callie is his favorite, pink hat and all. He really wants Callie's guitar that plays the theme song, so I added it to the list.

photo from toysrus.com


It was one of two toys to fall under "Girl Toys", the other being, strangely enough, the Imaginarium Robot Claw, which even features a boy in the main photo.

photo from toysrus.com
You know what there didn't seem to be? A "Boy Toys" category, even though there were many toys traditionally viewed as "masculine" on the list, like wrestling action figures and trains. He also wanted some other toys that feature characters from children's shows, like the Paw Patrol Lookout and a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse playset.

Would you like to guess what category those fell under?

"Baby, Toddler, and Preschool Learning Toys".

PRESCHOOL LEARNING TOYS.

So Paw Patrol and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse can fall under the "preschool" umbrella, but Sheriff Callie's Wild West is apparently too "girly" to be for all preschoolers?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I fully realize that I might be blowing this out of proportion, and I already kind of addressed it in an Instagram post the other day, but I am genuinely angry on behalf of my son. Even though he doesn't know that toy is being classified as for girls, this gendered toy thing has already affected him. When my mom and stepdad came up to meet the boys a couple of weeks after we got them, they asked what kinds of things they were into. At the time, it was TMNT, Octonauts, and Sheriff Callie. They brought a lot of Octonauts toys, but my stepdad said he hadn't wanted to get them any Sheriff Callie toys since they were in the "pink aisle".

I may or may not have started ranting.

The problem is that even if Nolie doesn't know that Sheriff Callie is "girly" society apparently does, and treats the merchandise as such (for example, you can buy a Sheriff Callie dress, but you can't buy a Peck deputy costume or anything like that -- and my boys have both expressed interest in the dress!). Eventually, he'll start to pick up on that. I don't want his innocent enjoyment of something he loves tainted because he thinks he's not allowed to like it. I hate that we live in a society where this is still an issue.

You can still prescribe to certain gender roles or traditional aspects of the gender you identify with while having a variety of skills and interests. For example, I'm a sucker for all things domestic. I would love to be a SAHM and homemaker if it was possible. I wanted to be a home ec teacher; I just never pursued it because with the way home ec programs have been cut in recent years, I figured it was pointless. However, I am still the handy one in our relationship; when something needs put together, I'm the one who does it (whereas Tom doesn't know a flathead from a Phillips). My husband doesn't feel emasculated when I can do something that he can't, and he still thinks I'm feminine (though to be honest, I think my boobs probably play a big role in that). I don't want to be pigeonholed into an antiquated idea of what a woman must be, and I definitely don't want my sons to grow up thinking they have to fit the mold of >MAN< if they don't want to.

Hopefully if I ever have grandchildren, this won't be an issue for them.

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