Sparkles & Stretchmarks: A UK Parenting & Pregnancy Blog: Your Son Has A Doll?!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Your Son Has A Doll?!

 Meet Billy.

Quite an innocent, unassuming little character...I'm sure you'll agree.

You wouldn't think that something as sweet & innocent as Billy - a simple child's rag doll - would cause any sort of problems, would you?

He's just a doll, after all. Intended for the use of a child.

When Billy was purchased, I didn't notice any warnings on the label informing me that Billy was intended for any specific type of child.

There was nothing about Billy that made me think for a second that he may not be a suitable toy for Tyne.

And neither did Tyne...when he was presented with Billy, he didn't recoil in horror. He didn't look at me with questioning and suspicious eyes wondering why I was trying to trick him.

He simply took the doll, kissed him and chewed his hands - as he has done pretty much every day since Billy came into his life.

However, after publishing some photos of Tyne with Billy on social networking sites - I noticed a trend among the comments from friends.

"He's got a doll?!" and "Lol isn't he a boy?!" being the common theme.

I sniggered to myself, amused that some people still possess such outdated ideas about toys and assumed that these were just a couple of isolated people, but then we took Billy out one day...

While we were walking around the shops, a child pointed to Tyne and Billy and proclaimed to her mother "Mummy, look - that boy has got a dolly!!!!"

I didn't look up but I listened instead for the mothers reply - she said simply "Oh yes, so he has."

The little girl continued "But Mummy, he's a boy....dollies aren't for boys!"

I waited to hear the mother say "Of course they are, they're for anybody who wants to play with them" - instead I heard "I know darling, that's a bit silly isn't it".

This confuses me.

What exactly is "a bit silly" about a boy having a doll?

What surprises people so much about a boy having a doll?!

I'm not too sure what is so taboo about the subject - dolls encourage children to learn about faces (I often ask Tyne to point out Billys eyes, hair, etc), they encourage them to be affectionate and gentle when playing "Baby" with a doll - aren't these traits we should want to encourage in our children regardless of their gender?

Or should a mother of boys instead be expected to encourage her child to be rough and ready, to be tough and "MANLY" - encouraging him to play sports and play with toy cars and swords only?

Well no, actually - my intention is not to mould Tyne in any of these ways. 

If he grows up to have an interest in sports or enjoy rough play, then so be it - if he grows up to want to play with dolls or kitchens or dress up in Princess dresses - then so be it.

He's a child exploring the world around him through play -it's all about having fun and learning.

Jon of course has other ideas and insists on correcting me when I ask where Tyne's doll is - his common response is "It's not a doll, its an action figure".....Of course he's only joking, but I wouldn't be surprised if deep down he had reservations about Tyne playing with toys that are traditionally seen as "girly".

He has already argued with me when I've said that I intend to buy a toy kitchen and a pram for Tyne next year....his point of view is that these things shouldn't be forced on a child, but only given if he asks for them specifically - and if he doesnt, then traditional boys toys should be offered.

My opinion is that a wide array of toys should be made available, and he can simply pick and choose what he likes to play with.

I'd love to know what other parents opinions are - I suspect that very few people in this day and age would ever deny their son a toy that he expressed a desire to play with purely because it's traditionally seen as a girls toy, but would you actively encourage them to choose these toys? Only provide them if asked for? Or provide both options and let the child choose?

In the meantime, Billy is a big hit and I certainly will not be listening to the opinions of anybody else.

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  1. What's the worst that can happen? He'll want to be a dad? Kids aren't born with the attitude of 'this is for girls, this is for boys' it's something that is taught and I think it's fantastic that your son has a toy he enjoys playing with regardless of whether it's stereotypically a 'girls' toy. xx

  2. I think it's really important to offer him a range of toys, regardless of others' opinions, because different toys encourage different skills.

  3. OMG i cant believe the woman said that!! How pathetic, theres nothing "girly" about Billy at all. I personally think he's really cool! I wouldnt really love it if Kier wanted to have a disney princess doll or dress up as a princess (although he may not have a choice living in this house!) but a doll like Billy or even a baby doll is fine. If boys cant play with dolls they will grow uop to be crap fathers who believe that caring for the baby is the mothers job!! Same with the play Kitchen, can boys not play washing up?!?! Ofcourse they can, I say get him a toy Iron and ironing board too, and a mop and bucket, and a toy Henry hoover!!! He will make a great husband one day lol xx


  4. How fantastic!
    My youngest loves Spiderman, toy cars and Toy Story! All thought of as boy toys....I let my girls play with what they want....
    It doesn't matter what they play with as long as they're happy x

  5. I wouldn't have thought twice about seeing a boy playing with a "doll" especially not one that looked like Billy does anyway! I think you're right that it's a good way to teach him how to play gently and also learning about faces. Having an 8 month old son, I'm not sure that I would buy him any toys aimed at girls just so he could play with both but if he asked for them, I think I would get them for him. My boyfriend has a similar opinion to yours and would definitely only want him to play with 'boys toys' probably even if he asked for a dolls house or something similar. I wouldn't encourage Oscar to play with girls toys but yeah, if he wanted a kitchen, why not? There's plenty of great male chefs ;) x

    Kat from Blushing Rose Beauty | Tiny Flutters - Mummy & Baby

  6. I don't see an issue with a boy having a doll as you have said dolls should be for all genders I hate that there is such gender stereotypical views with regards to toys, clothes etc anyway. When I have children in the future they will have a doll regardless of their gender.

  7. I totally agree with you, it's so silly. I once worked in a nursery and some parents were concerned their sons were playing with pushchairs. What are they scared of? That they'll grow up and want to be a dad that pushes a pushchair?? Baffling!

  8. My boys always had dolls. In fact my youngest son has a penchant for his sister's Barbies. I have no problem with this. They are props for social role play and encourage empathy. I can't believe anyone thinking it's a problem for a child to have a doll....especially one like Billy!

  9. Aww Billy is cute and I see no issue with a boy having a doll. Nor would I see an issue with girls having cars.
    My mates son got a toy kitchen for his second birthday, when I go around he drags me over to it and get made a cup of tea.

    His dad is a chef. All he knows is he is like daddy in the kitchen, not "oh only girls should be in the kitchen!"

    He also has little doll figures from farmers to teachers, to family members - little toy sets.
    My friend has taught him loads from these. "What colour is this one's hair? Can you point out the daddy? Who is this?" He is really intelligent for his age (he's just under 2 and a half now), and it's because she teaches him through play, not "Oh you can't have that, that's for a girl."

    She's got a 2 month old daughter and I know she will be okay if she starts playing with his "boy" toys or he with her "girl" toys. To me that's the only way to bring a child up, not to plonk it in their mind from an early age "No that's wrong," :S that's why there is so much prejudice in the world :(

    Keep doing what you're doing. If Tyne is happy with Billy, that's all that matters :)

    Juyey xx

  10. I don't get this either, so stupid! Every woman that has a child, probably 'made it' with a boy and that boy has probably looked after the baby, changed nappies and pushed prams. How would they learn what to do otherwise?! To be honest, I wouldn't class Billy as a doll anyway, hehe! I wouldn't even notice haha. If we have a boy it will be getting all Sienna's hand me down, and thats a lot of dolls! haha xx

  11. This is ridiculous, of course there's nothing silly about a little boy playing with a doll! It's not like Billy is covered in sparkles and a tutu etc, Even that doesn't matter, he's a cuddly toy with which your little boy is enjoying playing with. This society today really pee's me off! If I ever had a little boy in the future, I would expect him to play with his sister toys too not just his own. Don't listen and teach your son that there's nothing silly about him playing with his doll! xx

  12. where did you get him from . I want a doll for my little boy. His dad is going to build him a wooden kitchen when hes older.

    God forbid he might become a dad or a chef ;)

  13. my eldest, who is now almost 15, had a boy teddy doll, he also had a kitchen and we had a teddy bear picnic almost weekly. He had a mini dyson hoover and he would do his housework with mummy. He is now a strapping young man who plays rugby with lots of friends and an has an interest in being a firefighter - there you go x


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