Gendered Children's Toys
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Politics and Activism

Gendered Children's Toys

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Gendered Children's Toys

From baby clothes to toddler toys, gender has seemed to be the factor that differentiates what children wear and play with. Once a woman announces the sex of her baby, her friends rush and try to find the right color—traditionally separated with blue and pink—to “fit” the sex. Once that baby grows up, that separation does not end. Toys on the market for boys “are more likely to include sports equipment, tools, and vehicles whereas toys traditionally associated with girls were more likely to include dolls, fictional characters, and furniture” (Weisgram, Fulcher, & Dinella, 2014). Having children grow up with the mindset that boys can only play with “boy” toys and girls can only play with “girl” toys can have a bigger effect on them than what many people think.

There are certain toys people think of when they think of “boys” and “girls” toys. Toys on market for boys are usually G.I. Joes that are muscular and portrayed as strong. There are also dress-up clothes that portray jobs such as doctors, firemen, and construction workers. Toys on the market for girls, on the other hand, are dolls such as the infamous Barbie. Barbie depicts women as having a very busty chest, skinny waist, white skin, blond hair, blue eyes, and heterosexual. Her jobs include a nurse, ballerina, Miss America, and flight attendant.

Stereotyping genders with toys makes children believe they have to be a certain way to be “normal.” The G.I. Joe and Barbie teaches children that the way you look and present yourself is more important than anything else. While gender-typing children’s toys and clothes does not appear to be an apparent issue, it has long-term effects on children’s views on life and how they should be living it. Gender-typing toys teaches kids that playing with the other gender’s toys is considered unusual. Boys and girls should be able to play with whatever toy they want without the ridicule being “ew that’s a girl toy!” or “why are you playing with a boy’s toy? You’re a girl!”

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