Consumerism Today: No One is Toying with Gender Panel 1 ~ the Gendered Marketing of children's Toys ~ Center for Gender Studies 2011 Conference
a 2011 symposium presentation by:
Brooke Nelson
RU Advisor: Dr.  Carla Corroto
Abstract.   I conducted a content analysis of children’s' toys at a national retail outlet to see if toys are still a medium in the social construction of gender and socialization. In a Leesburg, VA store I observed toys and people buying toys, and took extensive field notes and photographs.
I found that toys are a major catalyst in socialization and are props for how children “do” gender. The colors and textures of the products were traditionally gendered - dark and rough for boys or light and soft for girls'.
The aisle displays were also color-coded: the girls aisles were pink and the boys’ aisles blue. Boys were able to choose from action figures to trucks to musical instruments. Girls were generally given dolls and dress up clothes. Also, although these toys were marketed toward the different genders, it was more acceptable for girls to look at boys’ toys than boys to look at girls’ toys.
I found that not many toys challenged the traditional gender roles. Furthermore, I noticed that there were many examples of identical toys with different names and different colors marketed toward boys or girls. In sum, toys enforce gendered expectations with few exceptions.
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