Yesterday, I was playing lego with Migu and also reading out to her from the Grow with Pepper books (a series of books which are supposed to help the child reflect about good behavior). SInce I am so conscious of gender stereotypes in everything, I cant help but critically examine all these material to see if there is a stereotype. Not that I can change it, but it at least helps to be conscious of it.
I was pleasantly surprised with the lego. It is a small duplo pack, with limited pieces, and we need to build something based on a story. Now the story was that Joe is stuck somewhere, and Penny goes in search of him to rescue him. Joe is a racer (ok, male stereotype), but Penny, the girl is a pilot. She flies in her plane to rescue Joe. Joe doesnt need rescuing precisely, but his car has broken down, and Penny helps him fix it. I liked it that Penny is a pilot, and that it is Penny who goes to help Joe. It seemed to be a very unconscious inversion of the general gender myth.
Later I read out a Pepper story to MIgu. It was about Pepper throwing a tantrum and not removing his shoes while going to bed, and how his mother eventually convinces him to remove it. Nothing overtly gendered in this, but I wondered why is it that it is the mother who is trying to get him to behave well. Surely, in this day and age, fathers are far more involved parents. It is quite possible that when there is a tantrum, both parents get involved in handling it. It may not yet be common, but it is definitely desirable state of affairs. I have written earlier about the need to acknowledge the increasing role which fathers are playing in child rearing. I think it is time our stories and toys reflected this.