‘Tis the Season
As the holiday season begins, so does the gift giving. But what is a feminist to do in the world of “girly” pink and dolls with unrealistic bodies or overpriced products made “just for women”? And how can we handle shopping the “boys” aisle or searching for “manly” gifts?
Books such as Redefining Girly, The Princess Problem, and Cinderella Ate My Daughter give great advice to feminists raising girls, including insight into the balance between allowing girls to choose what is popular and discussing healthy alternatives. Other gender-neutral parenting books are also helpful, but what about for those of us who are aunts and friends of parents with young children rather than parents ourselves?
When giving gifts for the children in your life (whether they are a part of your family or friend circle), remember there are options out there for you. I don’t have the money to buy GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine or the GoldieBlox Zipline Action Figure for all the nieces on my list, so I like the variety of prices and gift options from AAUW: http://www.aauw.org/2012/12/12/holiday-gift-guide-for-girls/
Separated into age ranges for 2-5, 5-10, 11-13, and 13 and up, the gift ideas include books, toys, and programs. These gender-neutral items encourage involvement in science, technology, math, music and political fields, and some even educate about health, body image, and civil rights. Other great options to explore include A Mighty Girl, A Closet of Her Own, Go!Go!Sports Girls and Everyday Feminism’s list:
This list represents a range of books, toys, and sets that reflect multiculturalism, positive body image and ableism, gender neutrality and diversity, different family lifestyles, and safety for young people of various ages. This is far from an exhaustive list of available options, but these sites can be a great place to start.
Gift giving can also be a challenge for the adults on your list, especially when trying to avoid traditional gifts. Just like gifts for children, there is no one size fits all idea or solution. One gift I’m buying is The Guy’s Guide to Feminism by Michael Kaufman and Michael Kimmel, which may open the door to great conversations about the importance of gender equity and equality.
Another favorite of mine is a Fair Trade site: http://www.tenthousandvillages.com. I enjoy buying something unique that helps support and empower entrepreneurs around the world, especially when I can do so at a local store. Other organizations, such as the non-profit One Woman Project, include feminist gifts with global donations: http://www.onewomanproject.org/#!feminist-christmas-gift-guide/c6hl What local organizations or stores do you enjoy buying from?
While no quick and easy solutions for gender binaries exist, ‘tis the season to be merry and appreciate diversity. Have a safe and happy holiday season, and I hope these ideas help spark your feminist-friendly gift list!