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Gifts for Tomboys & Kids of Any Gender, for That Matter

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Toy companies have come a long way in the quest for gender equality — Target, Wal-Mart, and Toys R Us are easing up on pink-and-blue selections and in October 2021, California became the first state to force retailers to carve out gender-neutral sections by Jan. 1, 2024. After all, with more kids these days identifying as non-binary and research showing that gender norms can be harmful to children’s wellbeing, treating kids like their unique selves is really important.

Often, people will label girls who are uninterested in dolls or dresses “tomboys.” However, the term, which originated in the 1800s, has sexist and racist roots: While initially intended to describe a girl who “acts like a spirited boy,” The Atlantic reports that the phrase actually served as a vehicle for white supremacy, as concerned 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 largely used to describe girls who play sports, love science, or enjoy getting their hands dirty. But, uh, girls have always enjoyed these activities, even when they wear skirts.

The point is gender norms are antiquated — period. All children should be able to explore their interests freely in subjects ranging from reading, science, music, and more. And the gifts we’ve chosen will put a smile on anyone’s face. Because children of all genders deserve to have fun.

Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale. 

A version of this article was originally published in February 2016. 

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