The holiday catalogues are arriving at an alarming rate. It’s totally time, I get it. (I won’t, however, accept that it is time for my local grocery store to have holiday decorations on display in their parking lots. I’m looking at you, Publix.) And while 98% of the catalogues end up in my recycling bin without so much as a backward glance, some of them do end up being casually flipped through. And since I like to pretend that I have oodles of money to splurge on my son on things like monogrammed luggage or Santa hats, the reality is that usually I am just window shopping. And I am cool with that.

Because W doesn’t really have a need for luggage just yet. He has plenty of baggage just having me as a Mama. bwha ha ha. What? Too self-deprecating? Ok. How about he doesn’t need luggage because he is 7 months old. As of today, by the way. (insert totally silly moment where I sort of sadly wave farewell to his infanthood)

But back to Pottery Barn, because, in case you didn’t already guess, that is where I am going with this post.

So the first (of what I am sure will be many) thick catalogues arrived from the PB yesterday. And color me red and green- it’s the holiday edition! And I get all giddy thinking about how this is going to be W’s first Christmas EVAH and dive in to get my fix of pretty decorations and toys.

And I’m turning and turning the pages (oh & if you have this catalogue at home you can read along with me!) and I get to page 20 and the sadness begins. Like on a totally weird, what is this emotion I am feeling??, level. Dolls. Lots and lots of dolls.

And before you think I am having some sort of, “I wish W had girl parts” moment I swear it isn’t. Instead I had a, “But why can’t W be in the marketing blitz when it comes to dolls? moment” Why does the language have to be so exclusive?

“Surprise her with a sweet, new friend to bring everywhere she goes, from tea parties to sleepovers.”

I get it- girls play with dolls. But I bet there are some boys out there that would like a new friend. I know that girls play and are encouraged to play with dolls in a way that makes them emulate parenting. It fosters nurturing behavior and creating play. But I have to wonder why we aren’t encouraging boys to play in the same way.

I don’t think it makes a boy effeminate or emasculate to play with dolls. I actually don’t feel like there should be any sort of gender bias when it comes to parenting. There are some pretty amazing fathers out there that are doing it on their own. Might there be more of them if doll play was more encouraged with little boys?

By the time I get to page 24 in the PB catalogue we are in more pink pages of independent play toys: doll houses, ironing boards, tea sets and retro kitchens. There is a slight change in the language of the items for sale. Instead of saying “she” the copy now says “kids”, but a picture is worth a thousand words and all of the “kids” demonstrating play in the photos are girls.

And then I turn the page and find myself in the boy section. How do I know it is the boy section? Well obviously because the colors have changed from sea foam green and pink to primary red and blue. And the items for sale are all geared towards sport play sets-  totally non gender specific stuff. But you wouldn’t know it based on the photos because, once again, they only feature one gender- this time it’s boys.

I know that ultimately I decide what W plays with. And if I have dolls and kitchen sets for him then he might decide to play with them. I guess I am just bummed out over the totally in your face gender labeling. I am also bummed that there are more pink pages than primary colored pages (which wouldn’t bother me so much if pink didn’t = girl and primary didn’t = boy).  Options, people. Give us options. Because I promise you that Mothers are buying dolls and kitchen sets for their sons and basketball sets for their daughters. It would just be lovely to see that reflected in the ads.

And now I promise to bite my tongue in regards to the toy airplane for sale with only a male pilot and female flight attendant as options. And more tongue biting over the generic families available for purchase for doll house play…sigh.

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Outdated stereotypes…smells like the holidays are coming!

(by the way, check out the totally awesome new art in my header. Made by a reader in France who has not yet let me know if I may say her name, but holy amazing. Nothing like opening your e-mail inbox to that!)

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