Toys for boys.
That was my prime directive for this kind and considerate request, and it is the story about how they came to be that i would like to tell you today.
I do not fully agree that there is such a natural distinction… What i mean is, i am not convinced there is such a thing as innately boy’s toys and innately girl’s toys. I do not have children, so i cannot comment from experience of bringing up a little person of either gender, but i secretly hope that it is culturally enforced and reinforced into our personalities, by the outside world. By the world of media where gender and other stereotyping is present from the moment we are born, and slowly becomes part of us by the rate with which we are exposed to it, to the point we don’t know if is nature or nurture. I have no answers to the many questions that this statement raises. But in terms of this request/ crochet blog post, and because i started looking for a compromise, to complete the request successfully, it made me consider this ever looming duality of the societal split between the gendered roles once again.
How could i achieve some sort of compromise?
I was not prepared to go the stereotypical ‘cars are for boys’ route, but to make pink teddies to try to fight the stereotype head on also seemed unproductive…
My planning and thinking had started, and i looked into and at loads of crochet toys online to get inspiration. I did not want to make cars. Inanimate objects are not really what i make. I like humanoid/ animal sculptures which can have a little personality imposed upon them, some sort of aliveness presumed.
I also wanted to stay true to my own form/ style of work, which is big head and small body, which seemed too difficult to achieve with sharped edged, multiple angled objects like cars…
So the conversation in my head continued.
Robots? Maybe… Again, as i was drawing and thinking and mulling it over, robots seemed still a bit too angular for the type of crochet i do, and as much as i was excited about the idea initially, they never came to be…
I know that if i am avoiding something, and won’t start it for a week or two, it will most likely not get made…
Aliens. Okay, yes, that was doable, because really, aliens can be any and all shapes and forms and colours, without worries… Again, i was excited about the idea, but not excited enough to pick up the yarn and hook to actually put it in practice… There was something just not quite right about the idea, something perhaps too broad, too much of a choice so that i ended up doing nothing about it. Or perhaps something too removed from everyday human experience.
Animals. Yes, that sounded a bit better, and i was getting a little more focused. I have just made the three beauties for the nieces, you can remind yourself of HERE. I had no clue, however, as to the type of animals the recipients may appreciate, so again, back to thinking and looking at what is already out there.
Then a light bulb moment happened:
- They are varied enough for me to be creative with colours, yet focused enough to not be too difficult
- There is the option to use my traditional oval head that i make for most toys
- They are a kind of an animal, even if extinct, so they can have a personality attached to whatever form they emerge in
- They tend to be liked by some small male children as i know from experience with family members
- They are not just for boys, as i know a few non males who know a lot about and like dinosaurs HERE
And so it was. The decision was made and i got up early one Saturday and got on with it. By the end of the weekend i had them all finished and laundered and ready to be sent off. This speed in the process once the decision had been made is something not only typical of my crochet work, and my artistic expression, but in a way, also my approach to life in general.
LOT of thinking and planning, and considering when it comes to decision making, but then once a decision is made, once i start something, usually it takes little time until completion. Maybe because i feel my decision is the correct one and had been made as a considered well thought out choice, i am focused and wholeheartedly invested in the delivery process… It is the decision making, not the implementing that i struggle with most… But that is a different post altogether, for a different day..
I did manage to sneak in a teddy, and a dog baby taggie (this is the widest used word i know to describe what i was asked make, a smallish square sensory comforter for a baby), so the balance was somewhat still present.
I chose rainbow colours, because rainbow are for everyone and they are associated with inclusiveness, particularly in 2020. A rainbow has become the symbol and colour combination associated with LGBTQ+ movement and with making sure that individuality is celebrated and honoured, given each human being the inclusion and fair chance they deserve. Highlighting choice over belonging/ fitting oneself into stereotypes which reduce a person to a type/ label, and misunderstand unique motivations/ experiences of the world is an important part of trying to do better today and every day.
That is why dinosaurs in rainbow colours.
And maybe dinosaurs also because it is time to conquer archaic beliefs of gender and personality types as based in gender, which i am hopeful to report i am seeing being changed and challenged more and more. One grain of sand at a time. One of my favourite quote seems to make sense to go here:
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.Maya Angelou
A little random fact: This latest set of toys journeyed to their destination together with the Duck and the Mouse from a previous post HERE, who were not delivered the first time i sent them, returned back to me a month later, and off they went again with 5 (five) of their new mates.
What a pair of travelers the Duck and the Mouse are.. 🙂
There is another little story that consequently pulled on my heart strings relevant to today’s theme…
After the above toys had arrived, and been gifted, i received the below photos of them actually being part of play and part of the lives of 2 (two) of the 5 (five) young people they were made for, which gives them an extra importance for someone else, which makes me extra proud i had been part of the process of their making.
<3 AAAwww <3
Thank You for reading!