The pressure’s still on for pretty in pink | Letters

Letters: My daughters grew up playing with a similar variety of dolls, cars, Lego, etc, at a time when girly pink stuff wasn’t all pervasive

As I had only girls I made sure they all got cars, trains and construction toys (Letters, 10 December). Only one was ever interested. The next generation was all-girls too until a lone boy was born. He was so different from all the girls, fascinated by how things worked, magnets and Lego from babyhood on. I gave him a doll and buggy. He threw out the doll and made the buggy into a vehicle. This is typical and I do not believe girls fail to show an interest in engineering because of the toys they are given. Let the boys be engineers if they want to and the girls not be if they don’t want to, as most don’t.
Ann Johnson
Marlborough, Wiltshire

• As an older woman, I agree with Dr Long’s letter that it is important for us to provide gender-neutral toys for girls. But as a trustee for a charity that helps women in difficult circumstances, mainly victims of domestic violence, I wonder why there is not an accompanying cry for us to provide more toys and experiences for boys that will encourage and promote the importance of care and nurture in society.
Judith Kelt
Stone, Staffordshire

• Nigel Long blames “older women” for pressure on girls to have “girly” toys, rather than toys that might encourage interest in science and engineering. Apart from wondering how “older” is defined, or where the evidence comes from, I can assure Dr Long that this older woman, mother and grandmother, grew up playing with dolls and dinky toys, farm set, dressing up box, building bricks and Meccano (and I became a geologist). My two daughters grew up playing with a similar variety of dolls, cars, Lego, etc, at a time when girly pink stuff wasn’t all pervasive; and wasn’t desired by my girls. It is only the current generation of young girls who appear to require pink glittery clothes and toys, princessy and distinctly not gender-neutral. Blame TV, franchises, aggressive advertising, parents, or the young girls themselves, but please don’t pile the blame on us “older women”. We have enough to put up with.
Susan Treagus

• As a right-on Guardian-reading mother I made sure my two boys had gender-neutral toys as well as some toys usually given to girls. But as a grandmother to a girl I have been guilty of buying her girly pink things and thoroughly enjoying it. The problem with us “older women”, Dr Long, is that we were conditioned to be into all things girly and it’s hard not to feel delight in something pink. Don’t get me started on the shoe fetish. Please be assured that I know it’s wrong and am trying to change.
Carole Ludlow Mooney

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