Sunday, February 10, 2013

Children Playing with Dolls

Today's picture is from 1909, and it shows children and Doll Sleighs. The picture was taken at the Mid-Winter Carnival at Upper Saranac Lake in New York.

Now, this is my question . . . why do little girls like dolls so much? Is it a DNA thing, and women are born to be nurturing, or is it they like them because that is what they are given, and that is what they learn to like?


  1. You've really run some wonderful photographs lately and they're appreciated. Your series on the Middle East was terrific. All of us out here appreciate your work.

    1. I really agree. The Middle East photos were wonderful. And I too appreciate your work. Jan

  2. Fun photo, I enjoy seeing the clothing styles of other eras. The little girl in the center looks none too happy. And the girl on the right decorated her doll sleigh very fancifully.
    Your question about girls and dolls is the old "nature vs. nurture" debate. Being in the process of raising 3 girls and 3 boys, I would say girls genetically have more nurturing tendencies. That being said, my boys have played with dolls but would much prefer a truck. Years ago I saw a TV special about this topic. One couple was determined to raise their two boys without gender biased toys. When they gave the boys their first Barbie dolls the boys excitedly took them out of the package and....started sword fighting with them. LOL
    -Anne K.

  3. Having raised my own kids and having watched a gaggle of grandkids grow up, I believe there is a genetic component to male/female behaviors.

    In general, little boys love weapons; little girls love babies.

    I've made a number of observations about politically correct parents that closely parallel Anne K's: they try to force kids into their concept of a gender neutral world, but it doesn't work.

  4. I don’t believe girls are automatically interested in dolls. They’re interest in dolls comes through both direct and subtle suggestions by society, parents and especially the child’s pier groups. There is a certain nurturing or motherly instinct that is prevalent in women but society takes it to another level. The same applies to boys as well, but in reverse. Society and what a child is ‘suppose to be’ has a huge effect on an individuals future, both good and sometimes bad.

  5. Our oldest grandson has always been interested in houses, both building and decorating them. When I made his sister a dollhouse, he insisted on having one, too. He picked out most of the paper, etc. himself, but since he was only five I did most (all!) of the actual work. His father defended this by asking critics "Where's he coming to live when he grows up? In a barn?" When he got married, he made most of the decorating selections for their new home. (His wife loved the choices he made, BTW.)

    And yet, given a piece of toast, he'd bite it into a gun shape and "shoot" his sister, and enjoyed going hunting with his dad. When he played cars, they always ended up in a crash. He was the EMT.

    Let them figure out their own place in life.

  6. It all comes naturally I believe. For the most part, little girls will nurture a rock if that's all they have. On the other hand, a little boy will make a weapon or a tool out of that same rock.

  7. I believe it comes naturally as well, but some girls are simply more interested in dolls than others. Dolls were only so-so with me . I preferred games like jacks and hopscotch, reading, coloring or exploring the woods.

    Two of my daughters loved dolls and the other had tea parties with her brother's Godzilla figure. My granddaughter loves any doll she sees.

  8. We have three daughters, and tho we gave them dolls, they always loved their Beanie Babies more. We have oceans of Beanie Babies -- mammals, reptiles, fish, invertebrates, mythical creatures. Between the Beanie Babies and the little cities and environments they built for them with Legos, they've had tons of fun.


    A picture of a cute little guy with a doll.

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  11. I think all these comments together show us something. There are most likely natural tendencies regarding girls and nurturing dolls, which society has highlighted and amplified. But it certainly doesn't mean every girl is that way (or that every boy isn't).

    To add to the conversation, I have also had a class or two on cognitive development in children (granted, intro classes long ago, so the science is probably much further along). Girls tend to develop imagination earlier than boys do. While boys can play swords or cowboys without much of a story in their heads, playing with dolls often uses a lot more imagination. They make up conversations and scenarios. That part of the boys play usually comes later, and since society has amplified that only girls play with dolls, it comes out in different types of play with the boys at that point.

    Something else to think about, anyways!

  12. I always preferred stuffed animals over dolls, although I had a couple bought for me by relatives who had know clue who I was or what I liked. BUT I did have a few Barbie's, simply because I needed to have someone to ride my Breyer Horses. I had tons of those.

  13. I'm a speech language therapist and I agree that girls develop 'pretend play' at a faster rate than boys do. Both boys and girls will be drawn to dolls but boys are just not ready to "play house" as well as girls are at early ages! Of course, this isn't true for all boys and girls but girls typically do mature faster in the language areas.


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