This weekend I went to a major toy store which I will not name and found some interesting difference in gender targeted toys.
- The layout of the store had big item, big money, and popular toys in the front then miscellaneous toys and sections marked for boys (in blue) and girls (in pink) toys.
- The toys most marketed toward girls are dolls, baby dolls, cooking stations, Barbie and pink cars, and toys that can be played with inside. The toys most targeted for boys that I saw were Nerf guns, superhero dolls or action figures, trucks, Legos, Jeep or blue or dark colored cars, and toys to play outside.
- For boys toys they used phrases or words like; strong, action, heroes, mega, huge, boy’s, ultimate, interactive, etc. For girls toys they often used descriptive words like; girl’s, little, fashion, creative, etc.
- There are not very many toys that indicate or suggest a gender either on the packaging or in the toy itself. The things I found that were the least gender associated were toys or plush dolls from movies and electronics. Although these seemed to be the most gender neutral toys they had there were still many that somehow hinted at an appropriate gender such as color or type of video/electronic game or the gender of the plush toy.
- The toy I chose was something that I knew was mostly gender metal to begin with, a leap frog or other video game console like, Nintendo, etc. I found this toy with ease because like I mentioned previously I already had a gender neutral toy in mind and it was in the electronics department which besides the games, music, movie, etc. is mostly gender neutral.
Based on my experience I think that toys are a part of gender socialization because they teach boys and girls how they “should act” or act differently from the other gender. Many of the toys directed toward girls are to teach them how to be homemakers, mothers, and how to be more feminine. Most of the toys directed towards boys teaches them how to be strong, work outside, be soldiers, and how to be manly and masculine. I think it teaches girls to act this way because society values women as being leaders than man, less strong, intelligent, skilled, bold, etc. Society also values women that can care for offspring, husbands, home chores, cooking, and looks. The toys that are targeted toward girls teach them how to care for baby dolls, cook, clean, and fashionistas, while being more petite, soften, nurturing, dependent, and lesser than their male counterparts. Boys toys teach them these values because society values men who are tall, muscular, strong, independent, skilled, good workers (especially with their hands), etc. Society also values men who are all these things better than their female counterparts. Boys (men) are supposed to be the hardworking and the breadwinners whole girls (women) are supposed to be their stay at home lesser counterparts. In other words boys are like the superheroes and women are their lesser sidekicks or the damsel in distress.