Think gender stereotypes are a thing of the past? Think again.
This eye-opening BBC video examines just how gender stereotyping sneaks in to everyday play with infants.
The BBC is known for pushing the boundaries with their documentaries and social experiments. Their Gender Stereotyped Toys: An Experiment video is no exception.
The short video examines the reaction of adults when interacting with infants of different genders. But there is a catch – the producers dress the baby boys as girls and the baby girls as boys. They then place the infants on a play mat with adults who don’t know the babies’ genders have been switched.
The adults are asked to play with the infants – to offer them various toys and to see which toys they engage with.
It’s quite surprising to see the selection of toys the adults choose for each child. For the little girls, the adults automatically offer soft, cuddly animals and dolls. For the little boys? Puzzles, robots and a car.
As the BBC video so clearly demonstrates, despite our best intentions, the notion of gender stereotypes is embedded into society. Regardless of whether the adults were aware or not, they all selected gendered toys based on the child’s assumed gender.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with letting little boys play with cars and letting little girls play with dolls. The problem, according to the BBC video, is deeper than this. The issue lies in the fact that we are automatically selecting these options for children, based on their assigned gender and not on what they are interested in.
Turns out, when it comes to eliminating gender stereotypes, we still have a long way to go. For more insight on gender stereotyping, have a read of our article on Gender & Toys: Why I Wish My Son Didn’t Pick That Baby Doll.