Should boys play with dolls? A man’s perspective!

My name is Jan and I am a young people’s Counsellor and Student Counsellor at a well-known University. I am also married and have two young sons, age 2 and 4 years.

My wife, Maria, has a business selling rag dolls for boys called RagHeroes, which has provoked some controversy so I am going to write about whether I think boys should play with dolls.

It feels like one of those subjects which provokes strong feelings, should boys play with dolls? The dolls that my wife makes are Soldiers, Super Heroes and regional dolls like Super Geordies, so they are really made with boys in mind, but some Dad’s and a representative from a company that sells toys for babies have said they do not like the idea and that they will not sell.

                                                                “To be honest, I never thought this would be an issue…”

To be honest, I never thought this would be an issue, our kids just walk around everywhere with them and it feels very natural. They also like knights and soldiers to fight with, but then they like to have something to cuddle some of the time. I have noticed that they talk to the dolls as well which feels really positive. Is it something about them being soft and cuddly? If they were hard and plastic would that make them okay for boys to use? I suppose some of the answer would be yes.

I think there is a whole belief system which flows from this as well. I would like to encourage my sons to be affectionate and to naturally learn to be caring so that as they grow up it is something that is part of them. It is there within them to begin with, just talk to anybody who works at a nursery or most Mum’s who have young sons and daughters, the little boys love playing with dolls and they pick them up and play with them naturally.

I don’t want to be too dramatic here, but don’t we have enough trouble with boys, young men and older men not being able to express their feelings? We should be encouraging our little boys, our future young men, our future Dad’s, to express their feelings in any way that we can, and letting them play with dolls helps them do that.

Jan and the boys with their dolls.


  1. I totally agree! I grew up with 2 brothers who both played with dolls (male and female dolls at that) from time to time and, to us, they were just another character in our games. It never occurred to us that a doll was something that only I, as a girl, should be playing with.

    Anything that makes children happy, emotionally developed and able to express themselves should be encouraged!

    • Thanks Laura, that’s what my husband keeps saying, that it didn’t even occur to him that boys having dolls would be an issue! I agree, but being from a working class mining/ship yard community I knew there would be some people who didn’t agree with the idea, so I was kinda prepared for it!

      I love your last comment “Anything that makes children happy, emotionally developed and able to express themselves should be encouraged!” ……. that’s exactly what we aim to do 🙂

  2. I don’t understand why in this day and age this is even something that needs discussing. How can we openly attack a father who doesn’t change nappies and do his share but then discourage our small Dads-to-be from learning how to cherish and care for a baby by preventing them playing with dolls? My son has always played with his sisters dolls and even has a few of his own, which are pink and not at all “boyish”. In addition to that all children do interact with dolls in a way they don’t with other toys, they share secrets and express their emotions, as you so rightly said, I think boys should be actively encouraged to play with dolls and girls with cars and bricks, that way they learn as much as they possibly can about their own bodies and the world around them while they are so absorbent! 🙂 Great post, thank you x

    • Thank you for such a great response Kate! When I was pregnant with my second child we bought the first a baby doll to get him used to the idea and he loved it, you are so right, they do share emotions etc when playing with them, all great development wise as far as we are concerned 🙂 x


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