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Can Boys Have Baby Dolls?

Views: 0     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2024-03-15      Origin: Site

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Can Boys Have Baby Dolls?

Boys and families do not have to adhere to archaic gender role restrictions. Boys can learn nurturing, empathy and caring skills by playing with dolls. Boys can play with dolls without being called sissy, gay, or worse.

Research shows that gender roles are solidified too early. In Boys and Toys: Helping Healthy Boys Succeed , I write about the important work of psychologist Judy Chen. Chen's research shows that by age 5, boys are already beginning to display their masculinity in search of external approval. Logan is an 18-inch American Girl doll for ages 6 and up—minimum age recommended on the toy box is 8. By the age of 8, boys playing with dolls are well past the normative age of "socially acceptable". Heterosexual and hypermasculine gender norms would say that a boy's playing with dolls should not, and certainly should, end at age 8.


Such is the homophobic shame of boys who play babyface. Yes, these parents worry about gender role conformity, which they believe is related to sexual orientation—and while there isn't necessarily a connection, the myth persists. Many parents still believe that playing with dolls will make their son gay, as if you can "make" someone gay, as if that's a bad thing. At the very least, boys playing with dolls would be considered a social oddity and would be discouraged. At best, they are ridiculed, ridiculed, and even abused. A male friend of mine who played with dolls as a child said his dad buried the doll in the backyard so he would stop playing with it. The father thought it was - you guessed it - sissy and would make his son gay. Well, his son is gay and gender non-conforming. Despite burying his father's doll, he dug up his doll in the backyard and continued to play with it. It's a funny story now, but it was a painful one at the time. Dolls may seem unimportant, but they can play an important role in identity and family formation.

The buzzword “toxic masculinity” is in the news a lot, and for good reason. Encouraging boys to escape hypermasculine roles and urging them to change, change, or simply not conform to these roles not only liberates them, but also everyone around them. As Rebecca Cohen notes in The Good Men Project, "Rigid ideas about what masculinity is can also have significant negative consequences for adult men."


Be bold, American Girl—tell us what boys can gain by playing with boy dolls, or any dolls. Parents still feel the need to state, "It's okay for my son to play with dolls." We'll know we've made progress when that's no longer true.

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