As we near the end of 2020, it’s baffling to us that some toy stores and websites still insist on labeling toys and gifts for kids by whether they’re “for boys” or “for girls.” What kind of message is this sending to children? And what happens if you have a kid whose interests transcend gender norms — which, in some way or another can pretty much mean any kid? Time to think outside the gender binary and shop for these perfect kid gifts for tomboys, tomgirls, and kids of any gender under the sun.
Often, we’ll label girls who are uninterested in dolls or dresses “tomboys.” The term, which originated in the 16th century, has sexist and racist roots: While initially intended to describe a girl who “acts like a spirited boy,” The Atlantic reports the term later acted as a vehicle for white supremacy as concerned white folks used it to encourage women to be active and healthy enough to reproduce so the white race wouldn’t dissipate under an influx of immigrants. Um, what?! Today, the term seems to have reverted to its original definition and is used to describe girls who play sports, love science or enjoy getting their hands dirty. But, um… Girls have always enjoyed these things. Some of them have even done so while wearing skirts. *Gasp.*
The point is gender norms are antiquated, period. Today’s kids should be able to explore their interests freely. And the gifts ahead are perfect options for any kid. Because all genders deserve to have fun.
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A version of this article was originally published in February 2016.