Gender Stereotyping in Children's Toys

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Gender Stereotyping in Children’s Toys Today, toy stores divide the many toys, games, and movies into two primary categories: boy and girl. Toys teach children at such a young age what their roles are in society and that they cannot stray from these roles. Through their gender-biased toys, boys learn to be tough, “warrior like” leaders and girls learn to be nurturers. Girls’ toys stress physical beauty and appearance while boys’ toys focus on respect for their physical abilities (Campenni 122). Gender socialization through toys, teaches and reinforces stereotypical gender roles. By definition, “gender” refers to the sociocultural dimension of being male or female. Authors Bryjak and Soroka say, “Human beings are not born with any pre-existing knowledge of, or orientation to, their world. What we come to feel about life and about ourselves, we learn through socialization, the social mechanisms through which gender developments occur” (214). Children develop a sense of their gender as they grow older. The image in their head comes from parents, teachers, people in society, and the toys they play with. Bryjak and Soroka also claim “Preparation for a future adult role often entails learning about activities deemed appropriate for members of one’s sex. Learning to be an adult, thus, translates into learning to be a proper adult women or adult man” (214-215). With gender-biased and stereotypical views, society sets forth the mold of a “proper” adult. A visit to toy stores such as Toys ‘R Us and the toy sections of Walmart and Target provides insight into the sexism and gender stereotyping of children’s toys. In each store, girls and boys sections are separated very clearly, most evident in color. The girls section of the store is very pink, with a few splashes of purple and other “girly” colors; the boys section is mostly blue, with black, green, and other

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