The Table clearly shows that only 8.5% of toys

The table shown above
from the study illustrates how certain colours were only featured on specific
toys. “…red, black, gray, and brown were identified as “boy colors”; pink and
purple were identified as “girl colors”; and yellow, tan, blue, orange, green,
and white were identified as “gender-neutral colors”.” (ibdi) Table clearly
shows that only 8.5% of toys marketed towards girls had predominant boy colours
where as 3.1% of boy toys featured predominant girl colours. The research shows
that not only are some toys from Disney are marketed towards a specific gender
but it does appear that these toys also have specific colour schemes which
alters a child’s perception of which colours are appropriate for their gender
however, a total of 282 toys had gender neutral colours whereas only 58 had
girl only colours and 187 toys have mainly boy colours suggesting that
marketers are trying to gear their toys to all genders even if the toy is
marketed towards a specific gender which, means toy makers are recognises the
trend of gender neutrality.

A study by Auster and Mansbach investigating Disney’s
marketing strategies and how their toys appeal to children of different genders
and particularly looking into toys marketed towards boys and girls.  “While Disney continues to overtly market its toys
to boys or to girls, we have seen that if one examines the toys for “boys only”
and the toys for “girls only” on this company’s website, some toys appeared on
both lists even though these toys were not marketed overtly as “For Both Boys
and Girls” or “For Children”.” (Auster and Mansbach, 2012).

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Many sociologists believe that gender is learnt through
socialisation rather than being just biological. Feminist sociologist like Oakley
and Hartley believe that children are socialised in four different ways:
Manipulation, Canalisation, Verbal appellation and activity exposure (Oakley,
1974; Ruth E. Hartley, 1964). Manipulation refers to how parents encourage stereotypical
behaviour for example rewarding boys for being adventurous but discouraging a
girl doing similar adventurous activities due to their gender. Canalisation is channelling
a child’s interest through their toys, boys are given footballs to learn to be
strong and sporty whereas girls are given baby dolls to help socialise them
into their future domestic role. Verbal appellation refers to phrases like “pretty
princess” and “brave boy” are nicknames which appeal to their gender, verbal
appellation also strengthens the manipulation process. Activity exposure is
where parents encourage children to part take in activities aimed at their
gender for example girls helping their mother in the kitchen while cooking and
boys helping their father clean the car. These primary social processes create
gender norms and values from a young age which are then passed on to the next
generation creating a cycle where gender stereotypes are being upheld every
generation.

Literature review:

The purpose of this study is to investigate if children’s
toys portray gender stereotypes. “Gender-appropriate toys are both the cause
and the proof of correct gender identification.” (Oakley, 1981). Many people
believe that children’s toys help socialise them into stereotypical roles for
their gender however with the rise in gender neutrality and androgyny are toys today
still reproducing gender stereotypes?

Introduction:

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