Obama did a really cool thing recently when he was asked to sort toys into "girl" and "boy" bins at the Marine's Toys for Tots program earlier this month. Instead of putting toys in their stereotypical places, Obama decided to mix up our stereotypical understanding of gender and put what we would consider to be "girl toys" in the "boy toys" bin and visa versa. Though some onlookers were a little confused, Obama made sure to explain what was going on: “I’m just trying to break down these gender stereotypes.”
Though it's a huge step forward for the president to be making such progressive remarks and sending a message to parents, toy makers, and advertisers all over the United States, we're still pretty far behind some countries in creating and placing value on gender-neutral toys. In Australia, there was an entire campaign this holiday season called No Gender December with the slogan "stereotypes don't belong under my tree."
The other interesting thing about the video of Obama putting toys in boxes is that we only ever see him put toys that are stereotypically for boys in the girls box but not the other way around — we value masculinity so much that it's OK for girls to do things considered "male" or "masculine" (to an extent) but it's not necessarily OK for boys to do feminine things or play with feminine toys. Plus, there are more than just two genders, so while mixing up the toys for two genders and saying "girls can play with math and science kits, too" is relatively progressive, there shouldn't be boxes in the first place!
Check out the video below: