Myth Busters

Three children playing dress up, as a knight, a pirate, and a dinosaur, the caption reads, "Anyone can dress up as a pirate or a fairy!"

When we start Talking Gender about Gender Stereotypes and their affect on children we often hear the same disagreements repeated. So, we’ve collected evidence and resources to help you respond to common myths and questions.


Boys and girls just naturally like different toys

Children like to play with a whole host of different types of toys. Sometimes, because of gender stereotypes, they don’t want to play with certain toys because they are scared of being made fun of.

Even one of the largest retailers recognises this - Toys R Us stopped selling toys as for “boys” or for “girls” in 2015!

And lots of kids agree!


And even if children are playing with toys that are stereotypically for their gender, then shouldn’t we give them the opportunities to play with other types of toys to help with their development.


Boys shouldn’t play with prams and dollies

Toys like dolls and prams teach all children skills like being nice, nurturing, kind, caring, and perhaps a good parent!


It’s always been like that!

The phenomenon of toys being either pink or blue is relatively new - historically toys didn’t used to be so gendered.


We shouldn’t be pushing this on kids

We think that the status quo of gendered toys puts restrictions on children about what they can enjoy. By removing these gender barriers, we are removing pushing of ideas on children.


It’s only snowflake millennials or angry feminists who care about this stuff!

Recent research has found that nine out of ten parents agreed that it was important to treat boys and girls the same in early childhood.


It doesn’t really matter when they are so young

What happens to children when they are very young influences how they are as adults: this is central to Scottish Government early years and education policy.


What can you do?

If you agree that gender stereotypes are harmful to children, then join the movement for change!

1. Start Talking Gender – use our guides to have conversations with family, friends, nurseries, and teachers, about the harms of gender stereotypes on children

2. Download and display our #AnyoneCanPlay posters at home, at work, or give them to your child’s nursery

3. Like, comment, and our campaign posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagramto get more people #TalkingGender

4. Donate – Help Zero Tolerance continue to lead work in primary prevention of men’s violence against women, through tackling gender inequality


Have we missed something?

If you have any useful resources or tips about gender stereotypes, or more generally on how to talk to people about gender, race, sexuality, and disability please just let us know – we’d love to include it here!

We are also taking pitches for #TalkingGender blogs.

Please email with any suggestions for additions or blog ideas.

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Related downloads

Anyone Can Play PostersAnyone Can Play Posters Print out and display our Anyone Can Play posters!

Gender Equal Play in Early Learning and ChildcareGender Equal Play in Early Learning and Childcare This resource has been co-produced by the Care Inspectorate and Zero Tolerance in order to help practitioners enhance gender equality for children across all ELC settings.