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Children across the globe have toys in common within their culture related to the act of play. Depending on the use of these toys, they can either help or hinder a child’s development. While children develop certain behaviors genetically, others are learned from their experiences, parents, surroundings, and, most notably, toys. Through toys they can establish communication and motor skills, encourage logical thinking, and enhance imagination. Childhood and culture influence children’s identities and behaviours, and also reinforces gender roles. The focus of this paper are the factors and implications of stereotyped toys . In order to understand the influences of these toys, the meaning of gender must be explored. Gender is the socio-cultural dimension of being male or female. It is formed from what children are associated and exposed to. Childhood toys influence gender from an early age, resulting in gender differences in both cognitive and social development.
The first effect that shapes children’s development is parental influence and the environment in which they are born and raised. As early as birth, parents have different gender expectations for their child. Parents who exert control result in shaping their child’s identity from a very young age. They carefully decide who they want their children to be associated with and what type of toys they can interact with. Parents may not allow for their daughter to play with male targeted toys (such as a GI Joe), and for their son to not play with female branded toys (for example, a Barbie). It has been analyzed by gender theorist Judith Butler that children learn distinctive gender roles through interactions with toys. Parents may feel that this is corrupting their child’s identity...

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...from toys. Girls, it has been believed, would still consume products designed for boys, while boys would not interact with feminine toys. This is because boys would typically receive more criticism for cross gendered play than girls would. During the 1980’s, the toy industry started to create characters and products designed to cater to a solely female audience. Parents must not advocate gender biased toys and, instead, provide their children with toys that promote cognitive and social development.
Toys have a long history in widespread cultures. Over time, children’s consumer culture and global toy industry has sky rocketed. During childhood, the types of toys children play with across cultures have a wide effect on how they develop. They are a major contributor to stereotyping gender, representing children’s identities, and creating their roles to follow in life.
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