Why Boys Should Play With Dolls... (Insert Eye Roll Here)

15 January 2015

Boys Playing With Dolls

Do you have a son who loves to play with dolls? If not, you might want to think about introducing one to his toy collection.

Because according to the equalities minster, Jo Swinson, we should all be encouraging our sons to play with dolls on the basis that it will make them more likely to choose careers in the caring sector when they grow up.

What now?! Here's a snippet of what the BBC News reported on the story:

Boys should be encouraged to play with dolls to make them more "nurturing and caring", Lib Dem equalities minister Jo Swinson has suggested.

She said it would make them more likely to work in the adult care sector when they grew up.

Ms Swinson, East Dunbartonshire MP, also criticised "the messages" society sends to children about gender roles.

She said changing boys' perceptions could help to avoid a predicted future shortage of professional carers.

While I've no problem with the suggestion that we should encourage men to consider caring professions, I can't be the only mother who's rolling her eyes and muttering into her morning tea over the absurdity of linking the caring professions with playing with dolls.

I mean, give me strength. Not only is it a tenuous link at best - I'd love to see the evidence that playing with dolls increases the likelihood that a male child will choose a caring profession as an adult - but it also hardly helps to portray the sector in a favourable light. Isn't the implicit statement here that being a carer is in someway akin to playing with a dolly? Like that's going to make it appeal to more men.

Ms Swinson's exact words were these:

"The messages we send to children about the role of men and women and whether boys can be nurturing and caring - and yes, dare I say it, play with dolls - getting into those habits of care and nurture and that being seen as something that is just as appropriate for boys as for girls and men and women to be involved in is, I think, important."

That I agree with. But I think perhaps Ms Swinson should stick to the subject.

What's your view? We'd love to hear it over on our Facebook page. Do you encourage your son to play with dolls, and is it part of some master plan to shape his future career path, or is it just because um, he likes dolls?

What do you think?

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