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 ethnic and racial stereotypes, many individuals would be infuriated. However, we come across toy departments that are highly, as well as strictly segregated—not by race, but by gender.
In order to fully comprehend the how gender stereotypes perpetuate children’s toys, one must understand gender socialization. According to Santrock, the term gender refers to the, “characteristics of people as males and females” (p.163). An individual is certainly not brought into the world with pre-existing knowledge of the world. However, what is certain is the belief that the individual has regarding him- or herself and life stems from socialization—the development of gender through social mechanisms. For instance, when a baby is brought into this world, his or her first encounter to gender socialization arises when the nurse places a blue or pink cap on the baby’s head. This act symbolizes the gender of the baby, whether it is a boy (blue cap) or a girl (pink cap). At the age of four, the child becomes acquai...
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...vel and Sex-Stereotyped Toy Choice in Toddler Boys and Girls. Journal Of Genetic Psychology, 146(4), 527.
Pike, J. J., & Jennings, N. A. (2005). The Effects of Commercials on Children’s Perceptions of Gender Appropriate Toy Use. Sex Roles, 52(1/2), 83-91. doi:10.1007/s11199-005-1195-6
Prosser, R. (2008). Inventory of Childhood. Australian Feminist Studies, 23(57), 417-422. doi:10.1080/08164640802233328
Rajecki, D. W., Dame, J., Creek, K., Barrickman, P. J., Reid, C. A., & Appleby, D. C. (1993). Gender Casting in Television Toy Advertisements: Distributions, Message Content Analysis, and Evaluations. Journal Of Consumer Psychology (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates), 2(3), 307.
Santrock, J. W. (2013). Adolescence (15th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Signorella, M. (2012). Gender and Development in Sex Roles. Sex Roles, 67(7/8), 373-374. doi:10.1007/s11199-012-0199-2
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