Tag Archives: girls with dolls

Guns & Barbies

In a household that was open to just about everything else, Sally and I had one rule expressing our most deeply held values and limiting what could come into the house… no toy (or real) guns and no Barbie dolls, two icons of the patriarchal paradigm. I used to laugh that it would be a great name for a punk band… “Guns & Barbies”. Though we never insisted or even encouraged Eric & Emma to follow this rule in their own lives outside our house, we wanted to model for our kids having an ethical bottom-line that you stick to.

There continues to be a great deal of discussion, research and writing related to whether violent play and a fascination with guns is inherent or learned behavior for boys. I believe the later to be true, despite the abundance of cultural mythology and evidence presented to the contrary. Though a higher level of testosterone is a biological reality of male bodies, I strongly believe that playing with weapons and violent play is socially constructed. Continue reading →