I have a new hero. His name is John A. Barry of University College London’s Institute for Women’s Health and he’s just proven something I’ve been saying for years: gender is not a social construct. In Barry’s own words: “There is a fashion today to say that gender is purely a social construct. In reality, gendered behaviour is a mix of biology and social influence.”
Barry and his colleagues authored a study, published in Infant and Child Development, which looked at 16 studies, from 1980 to 2016, of 787 boys and 813 girls ranging in age from one to eight years. The studies looked at preferences for gender-specific toys, and took into account factors such as the presence of an adult, setting, and gender equality of the country (among other things), and found that, in general, children chose toys aimed at their specific gender.