The Impulse Buy and the Gender Gap

The other day I took the kids into a kid's consignment store, and there was a HUGE dollhouse for sale. As soon as we walked in the door, India spottted this thing and ran straight for it. She was in heaven! She loved it, and started playing with it immediately. It was priced really well, and to be honest, I was kind of excited too. So I pointed it out to Jafta, who took one look and said, "no thanks". He paid it no attention and started playing with a train set display.

But I felt like I just had to get this dollhouse. It was so cheap, furniture included, and I've been wanting to get one for a while but the consignment shopped claimed that dollhouses went fast. I knew it would be a hard sell with Mark, but I also knew that if I didn't buy it now, it would be gone when I came back. So I followed my impulse and got it.

When we got it home, both kids started playing with it, but I just had to laugh at their different scripts. Jafta immediately ran to his room and brought out Shrek, Superman, and Batman. They were involved in some sort of covert operation in the house. It was like the plot of a Harrison Ford movie. (not that he has ever seen a Harrison Ford movie). There were goood guys, cops, and superheroes. There was a fire, and a rescue, and some explosions, and lots and lots of sound effects.

India, on the other hand, got busy with some domestic duties. She put the baby to bed. She changed the baby's diaper. She made the baby go potty, and gave it a bath. She took that baby for a walk in the stroller. And then she put the baby back to bed.

I have tried so hard not to indoctrinate my kids with gender roles. They have always had equal toys and equal treatment. I gave Jafta dolls and strollers as a baby, but he ignored them. I gave India cars and trucks - equally neglected. But if this dollhouse scene wasn't the clearest example of gender roles . . . WOW! So much for my post-modern, gender-neutral parenting approach.


  1. My nieces have that very same doll house. We have a doll house in our daughter's room all tidy and neat, sitting in the corner, awaiting her homecoming. Most of the time that's where it is, anyway. Occasionally it gets drawn out into the middle of her lonely little room and is invaded by armor-clad nights, tiny plastic soldiers, an army of rubber snakes and the incidental ninja or two. These are elaborate battles in which Narnia figurines become giant kitchen intruders and reptilian soldiers are brought to hospital in baby-pink gingham bedclothes. Yeah, I'd pretty much agree that gender-neutral is a difficult ideal to achieve. :)

  2. That is a great doll house. Sometimes you just have to act fast or lose out on a good deal.
    I bet that even though your son didn't play with it the same your daughter did that eventually they will play with it together, bombing and babying it up!

  3. that is a great doll house!

    now that my kids are a little older, they do more gender specific toys, but not too long ago my boys played dolls with their sisters, no problem. there was a lot of my little pony meets legos.

  4. I love it. India can play tough with the boys but she likes the girly stuff too!! I wonder how she will be when I real baby comes to live at her house?

  5. There a no impulse buys, just good money saving deals !! And Cute doll house !

  6. It is SOOOOO true. Girls and boys are completely different creatures. It is so funny to watch. :0) Angel


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