In her article titled “Time Warp in the Toy Store,” Ellen J. Reifler presents information on sex role stereotyping in the United States. Particularly, she addresses issues related to the selection of toys for little boys and girls, the influence that those toys have on the child’s self-image, the role that adults play in teaching children “gender-appropriate behavior,” and the way that parents perceive their children’s emotions and behavior based on gender. The author explains that although we live in an era where sex typing and judgment have been significantly declining; most parents and individuals still accept and even encourage sex role stereotyping, either intentionally or unintentionally. There is still the belief that girls play with dolls and boys with cars, and that girls are more gentle than boys who instead are more aggressive. Moreover, most parents perceive the same behavior expressed by both their diverse sex children differently. For instance, a crying baby girl is often perceived by her parents as emotional or timid, while a crying baby boy may be perceived as too sensitive or feeble, because “big boys don’t cry.”
Reifler considers these sex stereotypes extremely wrong and harmful to children’s well-being and natural development. She believes that children’s personality traits and interests are not gender based. From her point of view, it is the parent’s responsibility to expand their kids' world and let them find their own individual place in it. Parents should let their children explore their gender and sexuality by themselves without pressuring them with stereotypical behavioral assumptions and preconceived notions. By letting their children freely discover themselves and be whoever they want to be, parents can open up their kids’ universe and not limit it. The author finds homophobia one of the main reasons triggering role sex stereotypes. Parents do not want their children to be different, mainly because they fear the social stigma. They know that life is harder for those kids who are different, so they want to protect them from that reality. Unfortunately, instead of protecting their kids those parents are only limiting their children’s world and natural development. To help reduce the sex-typing issue the author suggests the elimination of the “artificial categories,” such as boy and girl, and the introduction of gender-neutral behavior and practices towards children. The author point of view is exclusively based on her own opinion rather than facts, such as research or statistics. However, she supports her ideas and beliefs regarding sex-typing with her personal experience as a mother of one boy and one girl. She adopted the gender-neutral attitude towards both her children who have never displayed any particular anomalies in their behavior or sexual orientation.
I completely agree with the author’s point of view regarding sex role stereotyping. First of all, as Reifler, I also believe that children’s personality traits and interests are not gender based. I remember being a quite aggressive and competitive child who liked practicing sports such as soccer and karate, and playing with cars, robots, and construction sets. Although I have always been interested in activities that are considered “masculine,” growing up I discovered that I liked other boys. On the other hand, my cousin Michael, who is my same age, was always running around the house singing and dancing. My aunt who recognized Michael’s early talent and passion for arts wanted to sign him up for dancing and acting classes, but my uncle did not let her do that because he believed that those activities were not appropriate for a boy. Therefore, he pushed him to enroll in the soccer team with me, and do other activities that he did not like and did not want to do. Michael is now a twenty-four years old straight man who is very unhappy with his life because he has never had the opportunity to chase his dreams and