My son likes to pretend-cook and that’s ok!

gender symbol

My three-and-a-half year old son loves his cars and superheroes and other ‘boy’ things. As a three-year-old boy should. He also loves pretend-playing superheroes and transformers with us. On days when he’s not at nursery, and hubster’s at work, I am his partner-in-crime / companion but when dad’s home, the two often have a riot together. Like the other weekend, when he pretended to be Spiderman and appointed Hubster as Batman. Wanting to join in the fun, I asked which superhero I could be. That’s when my son said those words: “No mummy, this game is just for boys...”


JUST FOR BOYS? Who told him that? Who had put it into his head that superheroes were for boys and Barbies were for girls? Not me. Not my husband. Could it be a friend, another three-year-old as innocent as him? A teacher? Something he heard on the telly? Or could it be a combination of them all, the underlying messages that society in general were sending him?

It’s an age-old belief that certain things/ toys/ occupations are for boys ONLY, and some for girls. We’ve all grown up hearing/ believing/ seeing ‘pink’ being marketed for all things girly, and ‘blue’ for boy stuff. Heck I know so many modern-day, forward-thinking parents who paint nurseries either blue or pink, or buy only the ‘permitted’ colour of clothes for their newborns.

‘Boys don’t cry’ and ‘girls don’t climb trees’- so many of us have heard that, probably even said that. If we, as parents don’t differentiate between the sexes, society does. People do. Marketing does. Take LEGO – a universal favourite of all kids. You have superheroes and construction sets and the like for boys and My Little Pony and Anna and Elsa’s Princess Castle for girls. A boy will not choose the Princess Castle because he doesn’t see his male counterparts doing the same. Not necessarily because he doesn’t want to. Without realising it, he has been brain-washed by what’s ‘acceptable’ and what’s not.

Interestingly, I came across this letter written by LEGO to parents in the 1970s (it went viral on the Internet last year). It is beautiful in its thought and content…

Have we taken a step (or more) backwards now? Has the gender gap infiltrated this beautiful message? Has marketing made it all blue versus pink?

Think about it. Are we limiting our childrens’ potential and growth by making them conform to society’s acceptable norms?

My little boy loves to pretend-cook with his little kitchen set. He often makes me lunch or bakes a cake. Sometimes, he likes to help me with real cooking too while I’m in the kitchen. I love that he does it. But something inside of me tells me that he probably won’t do that in a few years time. Because little boys are supposed to be helping dad with tools in the shed, not baking a cake with mum in the kitchen, right?

boy playing with kitchen set

My son enjoys pretend-cooking with the kitchen set

WRONG! Some of the world’s best chefs are men. Women fly planes and go to space. Mums go to work and dads stay home to look after the kids. The new-age metrosexual male wears pink and orange. And it’s ok. It’s not abnormal. It’s just the new normal. It’s an individual choice. That should be accepted. And respected.

So let’s stop filtering those innocent minds with what’s ‘right’ and ‘acceptable’ and what’s not. Because there is no black and white in this matter. It’s not even grey – it’s colourful. And diverse. And that’s how it should be. Let your daughter play with cars – she might grown up to be a car engineer tomorrow. Allow your son to dress dolls up – he could become the next Armani or Gaultier. Give your child the chance to fully explore his or her potential, and become the person they want to become, not the person you – or society – says they should become.

Would you allow your son to play with dolls? Or your daughter with cars? What are your thoughts on the subject? Do leave a comment / thought in the comments section.

This post first appeared on as part of their #BlogSquad


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  1. Susie / S.H.I.T.

    I feel very strongly that both boys and girls doing whatever it is that makes them happy, whatever they’re interested in, whether it be building fortresses or dressing up dolls – everybody should feel free to do either or both. Lego had it spot on and that was in the 70’s. Forward thinking. I just hope I’m bringing my kids (2 girls and a boy) up to realise they can do whatever they put their mind to, and nobody should stop them. Great post #globalblogging

    1. Nicole

      Thank you and well said… yes, each child to his or her own. Lego did have it sorted out back in the 70s… pity its succumbed to the marketing melee now.

  2. Heather Keet

    That Lego letter makes me sad because when you look at their “girl” line of Legos it is all houses and shopping, pink and purple. It’s like EVERY company has decided to pit boys versus girls and establish rules on color. So sad! #GlobalBlogging

    1. Nicole

      Exactly. Pink equals girls and blue equals boys. And that’s what our kids are getting conditioned to believe.

  3. One Messy Mama

    My son LOVES to cook with his dad. Nothing wrong with creative expression, in whatever way, shape or form! Great read Nicole! #globalblogging

    1. Nicole

      Thanks so much Jacqui. And three cheers to boys in the kitchen:)

  4. Rach

    Of course it’s OK! My son baked some biscuits with his Nanny last week and made some cakes with me a few weeks ago. I couldn’t give one if people think that’s odd. I think it’s odd that they think it’s odd!! Great post. Thanks for sharing with #GlobalBlogging

    1. Nicole

      ??? agree. Let our kids decide what they want to be/ do.

  5. The Tale of Mummyhood

    I love that note from Lego all those years ago. My girls have whatever toys they enjoy playing with, gender gaps have no place in this house! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

    1. Nicole

      Yes, that Lego letter had so much in it; pity it’s downhill from there…

  6. Steph D

    I agree so much with this. We have already tried to let Baby D play with a wide variety of things. He has all his cars etc and a dress up teddy set and kitchen toys. I agree with the 70’s lego before marketing took over. Everything was just bright gender neutral colours so that children’s imagination could be in charge of what they done. Baby D’s room is bright yellow with lots of colours and no real theme. I think by doing this he doesn’t learn to love blue or pink he just learns variety. Thank you so much for sharing this! Steph x

    1. Nicole

      Thanks for your lovely comment. Little Man’s room is also a bright gender neutral yellow:)

  7. Helen

    I completely agree. My son has a Peppa Pig pushchair that my mum got for him and he loves it. He has dolls, helps me cook and he likes to pretend to clean (at risk of stereotyping myself here!). On his nursery slip on Tuesday it said he had enjoyed ‘hairdresser role play’, whatever the f**k that is at 16 months. He also likes to eat mud, climb and go down the side face first. He is free to enjoy the world around him as he wants. I get so sick of people telling him he’s going to be a rugby player because of his legs! Anyway, I could go on. I won’t, haha. #BlogCrush

    1. Nicole

      You hit the nail on the head – let kids be free to enjoy the world around them. Let them experiment, choose, experience. Let them mould themselves into the individuals they want to become. Thanks for reading?

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