Signs that gender equality got off track sometime about 1980

This is a book that my parents read to me when I was a kid.  Now on a visit, I am reading it to my kid.

You read the first half about a dad out with his son, and then you flip it over and read about a mom out with her daughter.  They meet in the living room in the middle.

And you know what strikes me, besides the cool gimmick?  That the Dad is equal to the Mom.  Not just in having half a book, but in the tone and substance of the book.  He comforts his son when he gets hurt, helps him deal with fears and just in general was competent to deal with the average weekend outing.

And the mom?  She is basically the same, not scared of lions at the zoo and that sort of thing.

If a book like this came out today, I would praise it for being so forward thinking on gender stereotypes.

Then I just read a post at Dadding, the fatherhood blog at Babble, on LEGO advertising and how the toys used to be for boys and girls but somehow became only for boys.

And I think about how in Sweden the girls toys are getting pinker and girlier, without even any of the middle ground that American girls get (clothes and attitudes are still different there, yes).

Some pretty sad backsliding.

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