TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Facebook post from the Ministry of Education (MOE) that was published Wednesday (Sept. 15) and promotes de-sexualized and gender-neutral toys has drawn some heated discussion about gender stereotypes.
The post described “Ya-ting” (雅婷), presumably a girl, as someone who not only played with dolls but also bought transformer toys in her childhood. It then listed four toys “devoid of colors of gender,” which included a “pandemic-era Barbie,” a set of “asexual programmed building blocks,” a “de-sexualized egghead,” and a “gender-neutral doll.”
Many people shared MOE’s post and provided anecdotes of experiencing gender stereotypes in their childhood. However, most comments seemed to suggest the post overcompensated in its efforts to be politically correct.
“The point is not about gender-neutralizing toys, but about letting children play with whatever toys they want, and not telling them, ‘You cannot play with this,’ as long as the toys are safe,” said Facebook user Manna Chu.
Another user, Huang Kai-hsiang (黃凱祥) added the issue is really about values, not objects, “When we put emphasis on toys not showing gendered features, we have already fallen into the typical trap of gender awareness!”
One Facebook comment even questioned the MOE for promoting gender stereotypes: “Can’t Ya-ting be a boy?” asked a user named Makiveri Sebe. User Michelle Lui said there are more diverse gender identities than gender-neutral or asexual, and asked, “Isn’t, ‘I’m a middle-aged man who just loves cross-dressing’ much more interesting than ‘wearing something that shows no gendered features’?”