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Why boys love cars, trucks and trains -- and sometimes even a pink Barbie Jeep

Updated on June 26, 2014
alezafree profile image

Aleza Freeman is a prolific freelance writer living in Las Vegas with her husband, son, two cats, a snoring dog, and the occasional spider.

I'm pressing the gas, but for some reason I keep going in circles.
I'm pressing the gas, but for some reason I keep going in circles. | Source

No trip to Toys 'R Us is complete without a visit to the child-sized motorized ride on cars. Of course, I'll never forget one particular visit when my son was 2 and he strongly favored a pink Barbie Jeep over every other car (more about that below).

Ever since my son's infancy he's gravitated towards toys that roll, and as a toddler he continues to be fascinated by toy cars, not to mention real trains, planes and automobiles.

It isn't something we've forced upon him because of his gender. He also has his fair share of dolls, stuffed animals, and even a play kitchen (complete with apron). He just truly enjoys playing with toy cars of all sizes, dump trucks, bulldozers, garages, car washes ...

Nature or Nurture?

Psychology Today reports that a boy's preferences for cars is not a result of gender socialization. It appears to have a biological origin.

Studies have even shown that a boys preference towards cars isn't limited to humans. A study out of Texas A&M University and City University in London shows that male monkeys prefer toy cars over dolls.

Some studies tie fetal testosterone to a male's interest in mechanical motion, which may explain why my my son was fascinated by washing machines until he was 4 as well as ceiling fans.

Not everyone agrees. There is wide belief that our gender identity is the result of parental and societal influence.

In 2009 there were media reports of a couple in Sweden who were going so far as to hide the gender of their child, Pop, to protect the child from social gender constructs (A similar story emerged earlier this year in Toronto with a child named Storm).

“It’s cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead,” Pop's mother told a Swedish newspaper.

I appreciate the attempt to instill a child with free will. But it seems dishonest to hide such an important fact from a child. Children are smart. They ask questions. Won't this only serve to alienate the child from peers?

Also, I can't help to wonder: If biology does indeed play a role, isn't it equally as cruel to ignore this biology?

Do you agree with the parenting decision to hide a child's gender?

See results

Pretty in Pink

According to a study in Current Biology and discussed in TIME, women may be biologically programmed to prefer the color pink. Neuroscientists at Newcastle University, who conducted the study, say their findings are grounded in evolutionary principles, dating back to hunter-gatherer days.

Others think this is bupkis, and the pink association is arbitrary. Cecil Adams, "The World's Smartest Human" and author of The Straight Dope, for instance, says there are indications that pink and blue were used interchangeably until World War II. He uses the pink triangle used to identify homosexuals in Nazi prison camps as an example of this. By 1959 Adams writes, that the infantwear buyer for one department store told the The New York Times, "A mother will allow her girl to wear blue, but daddy will never permit his son to wear pink."

Let's get this bus moving!
Let's get this bus moving! | Source

Pink Elephants

As for my son, I can't explain his sudden and short lived attraction to the pink Barbie car. He is also a fan of the Disney movie Dumbo, and often watches the hallucinatory "Pink Elephants" scene over and over again. Maybe the pink jeep reminded him of a pink elephant? Who knows!

Whatever the case, my son is just awesome and perfect the way he is. He is a stereotypical boy in many ways. He is also a creative and fun free spirit!

And, boy, does he loves cars.


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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Saw your link on my most recent hub about boys. Very well done!! Glad I stopped in here. Boys are boys but it's ok to play with girly stuff sometimes.

    • alezafree profile image

      Aleza Freeman 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      @FatFreddysCat I think that' awesome! My son gravitates towards pink a lot. I think it's because he does't have a ton of pink stuff, so it intrigues him. I don't discourage him -- it just seems silly. Thanks for commenting!

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 6 years ago from The Garden State

      My four year old son has a pink Little Tykes car that was a hand-me-down from his cousin (my niece), and the fact that it's pink doesn't bother him at all. As long as he can crash into stuff with it, he's fine.

    • alezafree profile image

      Aleza Freeman 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      @DIY Backlinks Must be biology!

    • DIY Backlinks profile image

      DIY Backlinks 6 years ago

      I'm a boy and like big cars and I have never liked the color pink lol. Interesting hub.