I couldn’t explain why playing with a girl’s toy was bad for a boy. It was just something I accepted, something so deeply ingrained in me that I didn’t question it: Boys play with superheroes and girls play with dolls. If that order was broken, I felt something might go terribly wrong.
The evidence, as it turns out, shows the exact opposite to be true. When children are given gendered role models, according to two recent studies by BYU’s Prof. Sarah Coyne, it actually creates major behavioral problems. When they play with each other’s toys, on the other hand, they grow up to be more empathetic.
It’s not what I’d expected, but giving my son a doll just might be the best thing I can do for him.