This starts off at infancy through the toys we are given as we grow up. Boys are given toys such as Legos, Tonka trucks, and superhero action figures. Theses toys are centered around creativeness and safeguarding such as building a house from scratch, or saving the poor damsel in distress. The ads for these toys feature only boys recklessly running around or dabbling their curiosity, as well as valuing competition and control. Simultaneously, girls are given Barbies, makeup, kitchen sets, and baby dolls. While boy toys encourage boys to use their imaginations and to role play their dream jobs; such as doctors, police officers, CIA agents, etc. girl toys continually and increasingly enforce the housewife role for women and convey how the ideal woman must look. In the YouTube video, “Toy ads and Learning Gender”, creator and host of Feminist Frequency, BA in Communication, and MA in social and political thought,
Gender norms today have become a big part of our society as they are present in our every day life from advertisements, clothes, to the way we are supposed to act, and even in toys. In order to appeal to a certain customer, advertisements use many gender norms that apply to customers. One of the most impactful gender norms that I find to be is in the kid’s toys because I believe that it’s teaching these kids about how to act. Kids ranging from very early ages know what types of toys they should play with and what toys they aren’t supposed to play with. For example, little boys would play with cars and action figures while on the other hand girls would play with dolls and a tea party set. Many of the toys for girls have been shaped to show them that are supposed to be more friendly and kind. These toys have made it so that there are certain way’s little girls should act and also what things they should like.
In Peggy Orenstein’s article, “What’s wrong with Cinderella?”, she analyzes the obsessions young girls have for stereotypical feminine products and toys, such as princesses and the color pink. Orenstein claims that such obsessions have negative effects on girls as they grow into women, restricting them into playing a specific role in adulthood. Although the author expresses much bias, she effectively supports her claims through her positions as a feminists and parent.
Envision yourself entering a toy department and noticing numerous diverse aisles. In one aisle, you encounter toys packaged in complementary and color triads colors that include building sets (such as “LEGO”, “LEGO Super Heroes”, and “Angry Birds”) and a wide selection of action figures—Spider Man, Transformers, The Dark Knight, Power Rangers, etc. In the next aisle, adjacent to the aisle with complementary and color triads colors, you find toys packaged in shades of pink and purple. These toys range from “Hello Kitty” dolls to “Barbie Dream” house play sets. Inside a toy department, such as Toys R Us, it is extremely difficult to retrieve a toy that is not marketed explicitly or subtly by gender. If toys were marketed only according to
Girls and boys both grow up being socialized on what is normal and unusual for their gender. Toys are a prominent factor in this socialization, because they are typically presented for one gender and are unacceptable for the other. To assess how toys play a role in gender socialization, I made a trip to Toys “R” Us in College Station and was surprised by how the store was organized.
The toy section at Target had many clear differences in the toys for boys and the toys for girls. The types of toys that were out on the shelves were different, but also the way the toys were presented were different. Girls toys mainly consisted of stuffed animals, dress up clothes, babies and dolls including Bratz, Barbies and fairies. The primary colors of all these toys consisted of different shades of purple, pink, and white. There were bits of blue and yellow but it seemed that all the colors stood out and had a type of feminine aspect to them. Besides color, the girl’s toys were often soft and fuzzy or
The sexualization in children’s toys does not stop at the commercials for them that are aired on TV. Around the 1980’s, products for children suddenly saw a stark divide in gender. The gender difference in toys is characterized by often harmful gender roles. Toys for boys are usually based on being macho, tough, and violent, while girl’s toys tend to focus on appearance, being pretty and attractive to boys. These toys are often highly structured, limiting creativity and are centered around adult themes. According to Levin and Kilbourne, when we give children these toys, “We’re letting the sexualized media and popular culture, not ourselves, control the lessons children will learn” (44). When a culture that treats sexuality in such harmful ways controls children’s experiences, it creates an artificial and harmful identity in young girls that focuses on sexiness, and an identity in boys that values violence and devalues kindness and nurturing.
Toys play a major role in socializing young kinds into “appropriate” gender roles. The first obvious characteristic that separates toys for boys and toys for girls,
Claire with help from sociologist Elizabeth Sweet, they attempt to go back in time trying to find the cause of all this. Before the 1960s, girl toys mainly focused on homemaking and boy toys were centered on the industrial economy. This research shows that all this changed significantly with the rise of feminist movements in the 1970s. The change did not last long as in the 1990s, and gendered toys came back with a bang! With action heroes and princess in the market.
To summarize Pollitt’s essay, “Why Boys Don’t Play with Dolls,” she talks about the cause and effect of why boys take the role of being strong and macho, and the girls play the role of beauty and gentleness. Pollitt claims that males and females’ personalities and behaviors are copied from social conditioning and that there is no need to do the study on brain chemistry or activity. Looking at the way we raise kids, we can determine how incomplete the feminist revolution really is. A toy such as Barbie are for girls. Starting from childhood for a girl, Barbie, with long hair and thin figure, she
Gender socialization often begins early once parents are shown the sex of their child; from then on, baby showers are planned according to gender “appropriate” colors, which are often pink for girls and blue for boys. Even differences in how children are spoke to can be picked up easily in Western cultures. Girls are called pretty and sweet, whereas boys are handsome and strong. Ultimately, the way children learn to identify with their gender culture is in part due to not only family and friends, media, schools, and religion, but also from the toys that may inexplicitly advertise gender expectations. Gender-typed toys may be bought for children as a way for parents to encourage and reinforce gender-appropriate behaviors. However, recent debates have engulfed toy manufacturers and major retailers, which has brought about changes in toy design and marketing in an effort to make reflect more realistic and gender neutral options.
According to Cooley’s “The Looking Glass Self”, the degree of personal insecurity one displays in social situations is determined by how they believe others think of them. In other words, how we see ourselves, according to Cooley, does not come from who we really are but rather how we believe other people see us. There are three steps to Cooley’s claim: first, we imagine how others see us. Second, we imagine how others are judging us. Lastly, we react accordingly. The gendered commodification of children toys sets the stage by giving children at a very young age preset judgements of how their supposed to act in society. While toys aimed at little boys mostly include darker colors of blues, blacks, reds, and involve some sort of action or superhero,
Gender is the personal traits and social positions that members of a society attach to being female of male. “Are Gendered Toys Bad for Boys and Girls?” is the question asked with in the podcast. So in this essay it will discuss the opinion in the podcast vs. the fact of the sociological perspective in the book.
It appears that toys play a significant role in molding a child’s identity. It seems that pretend play, including social interaction with other children utilizing the pleasures of toys, can shape and influence characteristics that lined up with what is considered gender appropriate in the Western Culture today. The toy section at the local retail store is actually a reflection of narrative taking place in today’s society. It is a puzzle piece that completes an image involving a description of a script with many characters, yet a limited amount of roles.