Letter to the editor: Gender-neutral gifts important

I read the letter from Carolyn Schmidt in the December 8 edition of the Addison Independent. I received the same letter from Ms. Schmidt in the mail on December 5 and sent a response to her on the 6th. Here is what I told her.

As a female who attended high school during the ‘70s, I was required to take home economics where we were taught, among other things, how to make lollipops and what colors looked good on us. I, and a number of my friends, would much rather have been in wood shop. This is just one example of many incidences in which women of my generation felt the unfairness of gender-related restrictions. And while we’ve come a long way, we have far to go.

Twenty years ago, HOPE’s Holiday Shop was run along very clear gender lines. Gifts for girls were displayed on one table, and those for boys on another. The girls’ table was a whirl of pink, and boys a jumble of navy, dark green and other “boys’” colors. Parents were steered to the table that matched their child’s gender. Over the years, we have worked to change this. Now all items are mingled, we don’ ask what gender a child is, and parents may select whatever gifts their own unique child would like.

Yes, some of the tags we have distributed at area businesses list curling irons as a suggestion for teen girls. However, other tags with ideas for girls list board games, science kits and other things that Ms. Schmidt saw on a tag with suggestions for boys. We have worked to make the shop gender-neutral. That said, Ms. Schmidt’s letter provoked some discussion at HOPE and staff have agreed that next year, our tags with gift suggestions will only be according to age categories. Genders won’t be listed.

I thank Ms. Schmidt for her letter and agree with her sentiment. As always, ideas, comments, and suggestions are appreciated. They can help us to do an even better job.

Jeanne L. Montross, M.S.

Executive Director, HOPE

Share this story:

More News

Guest editorial: Justice for Palestinians and security for Israel

There have been five wars in the last 15 years between Israel and Hamas. How do we end the … (read more)


Ways of Seeing: Community caring builds peace

It was the summer of ‘68. Cities across America were erupting in riots, political differen … (read more)


Jessie Raymond: Thanksgiving prep takes its toll

Regardless of the day, I was always going to treat this as the biggest meal of the year; t … (read more)

Share this story: