I’m a pretty laid-back mom, so my reaction to the following was a little out of character
For the record, I was just minding my own business at 7-11, buying a soda and some seriously overpriced Ben & Jerry’s when I walked past it. Then I started looking at the other toys on display there.
I have to say that my shock at seeing such toys is INCREDIBLY hypocritical, given one my most prized possessions when I was six was a pair of toy pistols. I was a cowgirl that Halloween (if I had my photo albums here and a working scanner, neither of which is true at the moment, I would insert a picture of me, dressed in a cowgirl outfit my aunt had sewn for me, sporting the boots and the hat to go with it, and spinning my six shooters.) I had a water gun, which I put to both good and nefarious use. Growing up practically on Fort Devens (an American Army base in Massachusetts, now no longer a base) I also saw more than my fair share of M-16 rifles. We didn’t have a gun in the house, but guns weren’t really seen as a big deal at my home.
Or, I think, in many of my contemporaries homes, given the aisle dedicated to toy guns at Toys R Us in the 80’s.
But at some point in the last 20 or so years, there was a shift. I can’t really say when as I wasn’t doing a lot of Toys R Us browsing after 1990 or so (except for the random Super Nintendo game), but I do know that today suggesting that it’s okay for a child to play with a toy gun is akin to suggesting that same child play with a real loaded gun with the safety off.
On a very academic and impersonal level, I think it’s an overreaction. I think children play at good/bad guys and that they will make a gun out of anything…I didn’t turn into a gun owning NRA nut-job or a pyscho killer and I was exposed to guns. So were most people I knew growing up. I have been incredibly irritated when parents have nixed PG movies in my classes (after exams) because they were too violent….especially considering that we grew up watching Looney Toons which has TONS of violence. Is it just the norm of doing the opposite of our parents?
On a personal level, a little boy at an indoor mall playground pointed his finger at Ella and shouted “Bang!” and I was definitely not okay with it…but then sat there after giving him the stink eye and wondered at my hypocrisy when it was MY kid that was involved.
Regardless, I have a hard time seeing the kind of toys with guns that are popular here going over okay in the US.
But I’m still amused that I was kind of horrified….what a hypocrite.