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Why boys (especially in diverese communities) should play with dolls

The last time I made a visit to the toy store, I was confronted with extreme aisle segregation. I am very familiar with the problematic "pink aisle": a sea of gender stereotyping for young girls who are simply looking for adventure and fun. However, peeking around the corner was a similar pigeon hole. As I ventured down the adjacent displays, the "blue aisle" began to take form. Every shelf was littered with toy guns, fighting stances, and aggressive role play.

Gender policing of boys goes on all the time, from the schoolyard to the media. While girls are increasingly receiving the message that they should shrug off outdated gender expectations, boys are still pressured to conform to a very specific and prescribed idea of masculinity.

Undoubtedly, there are positive traits associated with masculinity, but the heavy pressure on boys to shape themselves in accordance with certain masculine ideals can also be confining and harmful.

This is especially true when it comes to toys. For the most part, our society balks at a young boy who might pick up a doll instead of an action figure. This kind of restriction robs the exploration for identity formation and role play. Fed up with these standards, I decided to do something about it with my company Melanites.

Melanites is bringing the first line of boy dolls of color to the toy aisles. These boy dolls stand 18 inches tall with diverse skin tones, facial features, and hair types to reflect the multicultural landscape of our society. The mission behind the startup is expanding the breadth of representation on the shelves while celebrating brown boyhood!

If you want to learn more, check out our website: www.brownboyhood.com

Boys and dolls