Friday, January 25, 2013

The Centaur Scrolls: The Removal of "Gender Rolls" in Toys

Dear Reader,

So, I've been thinking about this article for some time now, but after confirming what the Atlantic reports about our favorite country to discuss on this blog - Sweden - I'm becoming more and more convinced that the "tolerance" agenda that is spreading in other countries is getting out of hand, and extending into areas that, frankly, no government should be entering.

I was reading an article in the Atlantic entitled, "You Can Give a Boy a Doll, But You Can't Make Him Play With It," discussing the swath of gender-neutral reforms going through Sweden's toy/entertainment industry.  Looking at what the Swedish Green Party promotes as its "model school," Christina Sommers looks at how the school views its students.  There are no "boys" and "girls" at this school: there are "buddies" and "friends."  She goes on to mention that this preschool threw out all of their toy cars because the boys favored them over the other toys.  So, to curb the increase in favoritism toward toys by a gender, they threw them out.

*Blink Blink*

Now, regardless of what you think about government involvement in conditioning children, we can all agree that the Atlantic is hardly what we would describe as a "conservative fortress" or homestead for traditional family values.  With Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as its founders, and James Bennet (New York Times, News & Observer, New Republic) as its current editor, this is hardly the "born in the red" conservative crew that is razzed by the intellectual community as standing against "progress" and "children's rights" in the debate over government involvement in the lives of children.  This is one of the reasons that this article stood out to me - it's not from the stereotyped base of support for the arguments found on this blog.

What is more, Mrs. Sommers goes on to describe the greater problem:
Few would deny that parents and teachers should expose children to a wide range of toys and play activities. But what the Swedes are now doing in some of their classrooms goes far beyond encouraging children to experiment with different toys and play styles—they are requiring it. And toy companies who resist the gender neutrality mandate face official censure. Is this kind of social engineering worth it? Is it even ethical? (Emphasis in original)
Her point is not only valid, but critical to our understanding of the internationalist agenda: to what extent can government involvement step in to "solve societal problems"?  Are there lines, and if so, where are they drawn?

Sweden's approach so far has been complete micromanagement of both companies (products, advertising, aims and goals, etc.) and children (what they play with, what they favor when choosing to play, etc.).  As the poster child for the international agenda, this raises flags for all of us in the States who are hearing that there will be "no ramifications" and "no effect" by giving in to the mindset through treaties, statutory laws, and school regulations.  Are these academically honest - let alone morally honest - claims?

I will not continue to elaborate here; you need merely read the Centaur Scrolls to find my opinion on that score.  What I will conclude with here, though, is (ironically) the end of the article: there is hope for those of us who believe in letting kids be kids, and leaving government micromanaging out of it.  The government-approved toy catalog "will almost certainly disappear in a few years, once parents who buy from it realize their kids don't want these toys" (Sommers, citing Prof. David Geary).  Time alone will tell what will happen in that country, but that is not the question for us today.  The question for us is whether we will properly discern what the aim of this mindset and mentality is, and whether we will allow it to enter our culture, wherever that may be.

Vigilance is the price of freedom - stand fast, friends,

Watching the stars,


"I set myself against what is lurking in this forest, Bane - yes, with humans alongside me if I must." ~ Firenze, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

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