A Gendered Tour Through a Toy Store - Research Paper Example

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The current essay aims to get a first-hand experience in visiting and observing a particular toy store and to analyze how toys are a means of gender socialization…
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A Gendered Tour Through a Toy Store
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Download file to see previous pages The toy’s section of a department store clearly segregates toys that are specifically for boys and those that are for girls. However, there is another specifically provided space for toys (games, blocks, puzzles, and educational toys) that could be used by both genders.
Toys that are marketed specifically for girls are dolls, pretend play toys, arts and crafts, stuff toys, and cute little stuffs with colors of pinks, reds, greens, yellows, and lavenders that stand out among other toys. On the other hand, the toys that are marketed specifically for boys are toy cars, robots, electronic toys, building blocks, and toys for outdoor games. These toys are mostly designed in colors of blue, gray, browns, greens and dark hues intermitted with basic primary colors.
In closely examining the brands, words, and descriptions in toys, one determined that toys for girls were usually emphasizing aesthetic qualities such as pretty, beauty, cute, huggable, soft, domestic and colorful. On the other hand, toys for boys were generally described to include words and terms such as fast, tough, undefeatable, strong, and other qualities that are analogous to masculine characteristics and traits.
To the general toys section that displays non-gender-specific toys are usually educational toys such as board games, puzzles, painting and drawing materials, clays and zoo animals, to name a few. One specifically found an educational board game, the Flip and Link Money Game that was specified for ages 8 and above for two players. This section showcases neutral toys which do not indicate on the packaging the sex of the child for which they are deemed appropriate. Finding this toy was not at all difficult since a whole section was devoted to non-gendered or neutral toys.
Toys as Means of Gender Socialization As evidenced from previous studies, the factors that influence gender typed toys include parents’ selective choices, televised commercials, and early educational interventions (Glassy and Romano; High Beam Business; Witt). Gender socialization, defined as “the process of learning the social expectations and attitudes associated with one's sex. Sociologists explain through gender socialization why human males and females behave in different ways: they learn different social roles” (Cramster.com 1) was reported to occur through diverse means including the selection of toys to be played with by respective children. As emphasized by Witt, “parents encourage their sons and daughters to participate in sex-typed activities, including doll playing and engaging in housekeeping activities for girls and playing with trucks and engaging in sports activities for boys. Children's toy preferences have been found to be significantly related to parental sex-typing, with parents providing gender-differentiated toys and rewarding play behavior that is gender stereotyped. While both mothers and fathers contribute to the gender stereotyping of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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