Mum’s open letter to stranger who criticised son’s girly toy
“It's not about the color of it, the labels behind it, the way it looks...It's about the fact my child looked at it and thought it looked fun to play with.”
Like most, if not all, stereotypes, gender stereotyping is particularly detrimental to the development of a person by forcing them into a mold they do not fit.
It basically dictates that if you were born with a penis, you should be tough and manly and never show emotion. On the other hand, if you were born with a vagina, you should be soft and feminine and cater to your spouse for the rest of your life.
And 25-year-old Rheann MacLaren is sick of it.
In her viral Facebook post, the Scottish mother penned an open letter to the woman at the toy store who criticised her and her three-year-old son when they showed interest in buying a pink stroller.
The woman, Rheann said, approached and convinced her to choose a more gender appropriate toy to play with.
“Oh you don't want that,” the woman said. “It's just for girls, not boys! It's all pink and girly. There's cars and dinosaurs over there, why would you want that girly thing?!”
In her Facebook post, Rheann said, “I listened as you tried to belittle my son for his choice of toy,” she wrote in her post...You felt you had the right to say to a small child who you'd never met before in your life.”
Rheann almost exploded in anger right then and there, but then her son replied to the stranger first.
“Because I like it,” Harry simply said.
Her Facebook post continued, “It's literally that simple. It's not about the color of it, the labels behind it, the way it looks...It's about the fact my child looked at it and thought it looked fun to play with.
“He pushed it all the way home from the shop proud as punch with his new toy, he told me about how he's going to put his baby dolly in it and push it to the shops for its milk, because yes, shock horror, my son has a dolly too.
Rheann urged people to really consider if it were really important what toy a child plays with, if cars should be played exclusively by boys or cooking sets exclusively by girls.
“A man will grow up and push his own children in their prams, so why stop a young boy from pretending to do the same? A woman will grow up and learn to drive a car—so why stop a young girl playing with toy ones?”
The most striking of her observations were included in the letter she wrote to ABC News:
“Our son's happiness is the most important thing in the world to his dad and I and if a little pink pram makes him happy, then so be it.”
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