Predisposed Misogynist

By Alex Gryciuk

A common misconception about sexism: if someone does not hate women or actively oppress them, that person never acts like a sexist or a misogynist. While in some cases that could be true, more often than not, that could not be less inaccurate for the majority of the public and especially for women. You could love women and be a woman, but still also be a misogynist as misogyny remains a deeply ingrained part of society—one that is often taught from a young age to make women appear inferior. These values don’t explicitly teach people to “hate women.” Rather, by instilling values, roles, and preconceived notions about women, society predisposes them to a specific, lesser role in society. Through children’s toys and clothes, misogyny becomes ingrained in life for women and the rest of society.

Even though over the years manufacturers have started to create more unisex toys, girls’ toys continue to disproportionately consist of dolls, cooking sets, and shopping simulation games. In fact, when looking at Walmart, one of the nation’s top chains of grocery and retail stores, the top seven results for searching “girls toys” are a playschool accessory set, play lunch accessory set, grocery basket and food playset, kitchen playset, travel playset, and various dolls. On the other hand, when searching for “boys toys,” the top seven results consist of kinetic sand, mechanical trucks, light-up footballs, drones, tech decks, fidget toys, and an inflatable water slide. It seems that boys, through their toys, are taught that they can be interested in technology, sports, and various other topics. Girls can be interested in babies (represented through dolls), a role in the kitchen, and buying accessories. Through toys, the values that are taught become a normal part of life and the subconscious. If girls constantly play with baby dolls and only baby dolls, the sexist idea that the best thing a woman can do for society is to raise children, continues its existence, even if not explicitly taught. If girls constantly play with kitchen and cooking sets, the idea that women belong in the kitchen becomes a part of a girl’s identity from a young age. If girls constantly play with playsets that emphasize material goods and accessories, the perception that women buy excessive amounts of goods and identify as ‘shopaholics,’ remains a personality trait attributed to women. Women don’t necessarily have to be taught to hate themselves and men are not necessarily taught to hate them either. However, through differences in toys, society already predisposes women to specific jobs as mothers, cooks, and shoppers, while on the other hand, boys can be interested in a variety of topics like electronics and sports. Misogyny is taught through toys and expectations are placed on women through them.

Children’s clothing also continues a misogynistic bias starting from a young age. In baby children’s clothes, girls are labeled as divas with attitudes and having a great desire for goods. A quick search on google for “cute baby girls onesies” results in onesies that state ‘I get my attitude from… well every woman I’m related to,” “Omg Becky, get over here right bow,” “Itty bitty and oh so pretty,” “I may have a small finger, but I got Daddy wrapped around it,” “I don’t drool, I sparkle,” and “Thick thighs and pretty eyes.” On the other hand, while there were some normal onesies for girls when searching the same thing for boys, onesies have “Player three has entered the game,” The mountains are calling and I must go,” “Sorry ladies, but my mom has the cutest son,” “Future ladies man, current Mama’s boy,” “Do you lift bro?” amongst a larger quantity of normal onesies. Since identity and self-expression are largely represented through clothing items, clothes also give an impression of the person wearing them. If girls most popularly are wearing clothes implying that they are bossy and have an attitude from a young age, not only does that set an expectation for that attitude in the future but also perpetuates that women are irrational. If girls wear clothes that highlight their body and how they look, it emphasizes the value of a woman’s body rather than anything else for its ability to please others or “look cute.” It sets a high standard for a girl’s looks in the future, as even at a young age she had to be flawlessly pretty. Similarly, for boys wearing clothes that very popularly expect them to be a “ladies’ man,” those clothes set the expectation that women are there for men to please and that boys have the right to be with women. Simpler onesies also have huge differences in design. Girls’ clothes contain rainbows, sparkles, and flowers. Boys’ clothes contain dinosaurs, cars, nature, and video games for example. Rather than being interested in ‘boy’ things like cars or dinosaurs, the most important things that represent a girl, before they create their own interests, are cute and pretty. Why can’t a girl be interested in nature, video games, or dinosaurs? Why must she be obsessed with bows and sparkles? The hyper fixation on these “girly” subjects in girls’ clothes deepens the perspective that women don’t belong in STEM or other “manly” subjects because society, starting from a young age, has seen women as representative of cute, bossy personalities from what they are expected to wear. 

All in all, misogyny and sexism are deeply integrated parts of society that uphold preconceived notions about women, set expectations for what she should be, and what role she has in society. These stereotypes and expectations are taught to not only women but also the rest of society through toys and clothes; leaving society predisposed to misogyny.