Friday, October 23, 2009

tea parties and nerf guns

I watched an episode of According to Jim the other night. The plotline involved two daughters of the main character having a tea party with the "National" dolls at the "National doll" factory, an obvious parody of the very successful girl's "American Girl" dolls. The girls were disappointed with their party until their father gave them nerf guns to play with, which they did without abandon, creating chaos and knocking over every tea table they had started off with. What does this say about masculine and feminine types of play, I wonder?

The girls were bored with the traditionally female type of play (tea parties and dolls) and were much more interested in traditionally male type of play (gunnning down their friends with toy guns). Is this progress, that women can play at men's games? Or is equality really gearing these women to be violent when they grow up? Do we want to encourage youngsters of both ages to learn to defend themselves, to learn combat skills they may use serving our country in the military, or do we want to continue "protecting" them by giving them dolls, tea parties and no access to fake weapons? And on a side note, are our children really so lacking in attention that they can no longer enjoy a quiet tea party with good conversation? TV teaches our children many things, some of which are apparent in this episode: short attention spans and condoning violence. Is it good to let children play with gendered toys for both genders, or should we try to encourage boys and girls alike to be polite and thoughtful in their play? You tell me.

No comments: