Thursday, April 14, 2011

Toys & Gender

This word cloud was made from listening to tv commercials for boy toys and girl toys. Can you guess which word cloud goes with which gender? Bet you can. The size of the word indicates how frequently it was used. The bigger the word, the more often it was used.
We often think that by buying boy toys for boys and girl toys for girls that we are just helping them "become normal" in a social sense. Watch this video about what is normal in advertising for children.

What do you think about the idea that there should be no advertising directed at children? Do you think that gendered toys and advertising change children's ideas about what is possible for them professionally? Check out this article about the effect of gendered toys on children's education:
Playing Fair?
Do you think it's possible that the lack of technology, science, and building-based toys effects how girls perform in school? Do you think that boy's toys limit their potential? What would happen if the messages sent to boys and girls via toys and advertising were mixed up? Find out by playing this game:
Gendered Advertising Remixer
What is your intuitive response to mixing up these advertisements? Do you find them ridiculous or enlightening?
As a comment below, write TWO paragraphs about what you think about gendered toys. This comment is DUE at the start time of your next class with me. Please make sure to include your name as it appears on the roll.


  1. I dont think its the lack of tecchnology how girls perform in school, but it some girls who like doing boys stuff. And I do think some boys limit there potential in school with some of the toys they make for boys like gun and other thing.

    Richard Wilson

  2. Ariel Whitney

    I don't think that gendered toys change children's ideas about what is possible for them professionally because they are just children. Children just want to play with something, so they'll play with anything. They won't be thinking about whether the toy is for a boy or girl. I don't think that people start to learn who they are at childhood. I believe that advertising directed at children should remain because its not a factor in determining what kind of person a child will become.
    I have realized that girl's toys deal with nurturing, cooking, and beauty, and boy's toys deal with fighting and building. This difference shouldn't be, but I believe that advertisers do this because of society. Most parents in society paint these gender pictures in their children's heads. For example, parents buy their daughters lightly colored clothes, decorate their rooms in light colors, and buy them dolls. These things are just what society has taught us, and it hasn't changed over the years.

  3. Jasmyne Williams

    What this young lady was stating is possibly true. She has the facts to show how much of a difference it is between boys and girls advertisemnets. Though she was very convincing, i feel that choosing a toy is all up to what the child wants to play with.
    As a child the commercial just informed me of the type of toy i wanted. It didnt make me want to pla with pretty toys or things that are meant to be girly. I chose my major because i like to help peopleand understanding is something that i am good at. I didnt choose acareer path of technology because its not what i am passionate about. My toys as a child didnt affect me in any type of way.

  4. The lady in the clip makes a few good points. and there is a difference when you look at commercial for a boy toy and one for a girl toy. When a child is making a decision on what kind of toy he or she wants is their decision. I dont feel it will make them become something else though.
    When growing up as a child commercials only made me more excited about the toys that i wanted. If it was a toy I seen on tv and it excited me I would ask for it, with it either being a boy or a girl toy. When growing up as a child the toys that I had didn't affect me at all.

    Tia Ayo

  5. Rashell Williams.....

    When you are little baby it really doesn't matter what kind of toy you will play with. When you get to a certain age that when the toys you choices to play with matter. Round the age 2 or 3 is when the kids are take in what to play with and what not to play with.
    Now the toys are put into a color system. Pink and other are girl color. Black, blue, and dark colors are boys color. The toys that they may be around kind of have in influence on what their stream of boat may be.

  6. Willie Massey

    Gendered toys are a representation of a cultural box that is constructed by society. I believe that there should be no advertisement directed to children. I agree that these toys and the way that they are advertise does determine the furture career choices children may make. Mean are suppose to contribute to the world, while women take care of it.

    I don't believe that it can alter the way that girls perform in school. Boy's toys do limit their all around potienal in becoming an all around family man. This may be the reason why so many marriages do not work because men feel as though the only thing that they need to contribute to the household is income and women take care of the housework and children. The messages sent to boys and girls via toys in advertising being mixed up would not change anything other than roles being reversed of the genders. My intutive response to mixing up these advertisments is ridiculous. Why can't it be potrayed in an acceptable manner to both genders and let children decided?

  7. Advertisment directed at children is ridiculous. It's fine for children to play with what ever they choose. But,there should be an age limit to when children play with certain toys.

    For example if a boy is playing with a doll at the age of four is fine. Now,if a boy is playing with a doll at six and up, I think something is wrong with that picture. When girls play with a boy toy it is because they get more excitement from a boy toy. Girl toys don't have the excitement that they get from play with boy toys.

  8. ShaRiece Pinkston

    I don’t think that the advertising is a big problem. I also don’t think that gendered toys and advertising changes children ideas about what is possible for them professionally; I state this because I feel that the children are too young to be seriously thinking about possible professions for the future.
    I don’t think that certain toys effect how girls perform in school. I think that, the way a person performs in school is based on what they learn from parents/adults/and peers. I also feel that a TOY cannot limit anyone potential. Although I state that a toy cannot change the individual, I think that if the advertising of toys were mixed up then maybe the boys would take the nurturing and caring role and the girls would take the dominate role.

  9. Randall Harris

    Advertisement plays an important role to some people, but to others it does not change anything. Everything, including gendered toys, are based upon what the media and tv expects and puts out. Even though in our normal world, pink is said to b for girls, there are boys also like pink but are considered gay. Now a days, they probably are gay but some are not and step out the box just to be different. Basically whatever the media potrays is the normal.

    But in the world today, I would not diverse my kids toys. If i had a boy he would not play wit girl toys. The girl would not have boy toys, but every now and then if she wanted to play with her brother, and with his toys he could. Every little thing goes into helping your child to become their gender and know their roles, so never take anything for granted. You might let your boy child play wit girl toys, and he might start liking them more than he need to, andthen later in life he ends up being gay.

  10. Dion Palmer

    Gender based toys is not a subject that has recently become an issue. For years, companies have produced toys that were made either fir girls or boys. It was not until recently that companies developed the idea of unisex toys. I think in the argument of gender toys, people need to look at things from a business stand point. The argument can be made that certain toys are not meant for certain genders.

    Companies are looking to make a profit from their product. They have to take into account that their are certain toys parents do not want certain genders of children to have. Therefore, advertisements have to be directly related to the gender of choice. So not only are gender based toys helpful, but they are also necessary in the upbringing of young children.

  11. I think gendered toys are a bit unavoidable. Children use play to process the world around them and to practice the skills they'll need later in life. Our society's gender roles are so polarized that I'm not surprised that it reflects in the toys.

    I think if we change the expectations for women and men we'll see a change in what toys are created. Unfortunately it's going to have start with the kids. I know they've always been neutral educational toys, but they're not really fun. If we can raise the next crop of kids to play what's fun and appeals to them and not what's expected, when they grow up they will challenge society's gender roles.

    Jimmica Young

  12. Shameika Webb

    Advertisement directed to children i don't it's harmful. It's only business and its all about a well made profit at the end of the day. I think its helpful to the company so that it sells the product. Its not like they're telling the children to go out and get on drugs; and it's only toys at a certain age some kids do not want to play cars or dolls anymore. In my opinion its just a phase everyone goes through in there childhood. At that point and time i don't the child is a bit worried about or saying "when i turn this age im going to drop out of school bake cookies and have a baby or im going to drive big trucks and build all day." I don't think that crosses their mind at all so it has nothing to do with the turn out of their future.

    I don't think gendered toys are such a big deal. The lack of technology as nothing to do with how females perform in school; thats a personal opinion if someone said it did. Their perfromance come from how well they adapt and their learning skills in a school environment; as well as at home.

  13. The advertising for boy and girl toys is quite different from each other. The advertisements says that girl toys are dolls, barbies, and cooking. While boy toys are more like super heroes, cars, and build it type things. I think these advertisements do play a major role when it comes to a child choosing what toy they want. However, I don't really blame the toy industries for making gender specific toys.
    I believe that if a person was to give a child, who was never exposed to a toy advertisement, a choice between a boy toy or a girl toy, the likelihood of them choosing the toy that was more gender specific to them would be high. Toys are created and designed to what is appealing to a child. The high majority of girls like dolls, so toy companies design dolls for them. The high majority of boys like cars, so they get cars. Of course there is always going to be children who are different and will want to play with the opposite toy. I think whether they are allowed to play with that toy or not comes down to the parents opinion. I don't think toys play a major role in how children develop in school or what job they choose. How well they perform in school has to do with the kind of education they are getting, and the support of the child's parents.

    -Emily Truelove

  14. Jon Alexander

    I belive that theres nothing wrong with how gender based toys are advritsed. The advertisers can olny invoke wahts already inside the child. Its tuue that some toys may promote a general gender concept not shared by all. But with toadys tehcologgy, toy compaanies can individualize their advertisments and do so with pinpoint accruacy.
    And I also belive that gender based toys povide a respectively equal source of education to both girls and boys. One has to understand that males and females think and learn differently. Companies have learned to appeaal to this and are very sucessful.

  15. Neville Mbarika.

    First of all, it doesn't make any difference if advertising is directed to children ,because they really don't know anything at childhood.So,This can really affect them.
    As concern the lack of technology ,science ,and building-base toys don't really affect how girls perform in school because research has shown that ,though boy toys involves the above qualities while girl toys are geared toward caring and nurturing ,the girls still out perform boys in literacy and humanities subjects.This show that it neither limits the girls nor does it to the boys.Because boys toys don't limits their potentials since these toys involves the boys in problem solving,development of technological scales,construction.All this with the purpose of making them being able to lead others as well as being useful in the society ,because this are major part of what the society needs today.
    On the other hand,mixing up games doesn't really matters ,at childhood children just want to play and feel good and don not care about gender specific toys.After all,this differences are nurtured in children mind at childhood as such some children hold them so strong .This is because the parents have traditional gender stereotypes views and as such the society can't do anything about this .However, mixing up games would help to open up the child mind to issues concerning the opposite gender ant therefore help them to fit in the society as somewhat complete boy or girl .Here then is a matter of choice as to where we want to belong ,either being influenced by our society,family ,or self.

  16. I believed that gender based toys do have somewhat of an effect on a child's development.The advertisements says that girl toys are dolls, barbies, and cooking. While boy toys are more like super heroes, cars, and construction things. I think these advertisements do play a small role when it comes to a child choosing what toy they want. But, I believe that most of the development of a child comes from their environment.
    Parents have traditional gender stereotype views and if a child is brought up that way that's how they will most likely act. Toys just play a small role in child development. I believe it's the learning of their society and where they believe they fit in will determine there growth and development.

    Bobby M. Bell

  17. I think that it's about the way you raise your kids. If you tell them something thats what they are going to believe. It's all about teaching if you by them a toy their going to play with it regardless,but if they havw someone in their ear telling them oh thats a girl toy you can't play with that or thats boy toy you can't play with that then thats all there gonna believe. Toys play a small role in a childs devleopement.It's all about the enviroment and learning style.