Gender Roles of Toys R Us
To top it all off, the packaging for gender specific toys are color-coded- the boys’ toys are mostly in blue and the girls’, mostly in pink. Do children actually take the time to notice that the two different sections are clearly marked by different colors? In my small amount of research this matter is considerably downplayed by most children, who really just want their damn toys! I personally believe that Toys R Us clearly stereotypes girls by handling the majority of everyday life on the inside and men handling it on the outside.
Heading over to the boys section, in blue a somewhat manly color, most will mainly see that the toys take on a roll of adventure and physical activity, most of which take place outside of the home. When I was a child about 90% of my play time took place outside, as I see the boys around my neighborhood playing outside throughout the day. Growing up as a boy, the best place for playing was obviously outside, demanding increased durability for boys’ toys. Take Tonka Trucks for example, which are made and marketed toward the male gender. They demonstrate versatility by being able to be played with inside as well as outside.
Outside is probably more exciting for young boys, because they can fill the dump truck up with dirt, dig ditches and have their own little construction site. Through my research the most popular toy set to play with outside is the, “My Tool Kit”, which teaches boys coordination and problem-solving skills needed to survive in the outside world. You can also find toys that reflect high paying white-collar occupations, like the, “My Carry-Along Briefcase”, as a child I remember assuming men that carried brief cases must have been rich, as most boys see this and think, “power”.
Generally boy’s toys prepare them for the “real world. ” For example, the “Electronic Rescue Center”, “Police Communication System”, “Emergency Action Set. Each of these toys teach young boys the importance of an occupation, generally teaching stereotypical “male” careers such as doctors, lawyers, policemen, and firemen. Manufacturers make and market these boys’ toys under the pre-conceived notion that boys will excel at these tasks. Oddly enough we don’t see many girls outside with their toys.
Girl’s toys on the other hand, tend to be a little bit more on the feminine side, from Suzie homemaker type toys to beauty inspired toys. They are also stereotyping women and the expectations of the female role in society. From these toys girls learn that their roles take place in the home, including duties that require completion of household chores and nurturing the children. The descriptions on many of the packages tell the child the importance of their “roles. ” For example, the script on the box of “Baby Newborn” doll set says, “Without you, Baby Newborn could not survive.
Through your love and support Baby Newborn can grow to be just like you. ” Messages of this nature tell girls that only they can provide a child with the love and care they need to survive, reinforcing the stereotype that women stay home and take care of the children. In the end the bottom line is that most children will learn the values that parents instill in them, and not based on the toys that they play with. I cannot say that the toys that I played with when I was five, in any way made a difference in what I am doing with my life now.
Just because the soccer balls are located in with the boy’s toys, does not mean that young girls cannot play soccer. The same goes for basketball and softball. Similarly, with boys toys, just because cooking sets and tea parties are not things that they play with at young ages, does not mean that they cannot be a chef when they get older and get jobsIn conclusion, a solid argument can be made that gender-specific toys affect the marketing tactics of major toy companies.
In today’s society, there are two parent families and single parent families, in which both cases, many parents work at least part-time. Do parents even have time to think about these kinds of things? In talking with several parents for this project, many of them said that they do not think about the stereotypical messages that toys send to children. Many said that their children tell them what toys they would like to have, when they see them on television, in weekly newspaper ads or specialty holiday catalogs.
When shopping, they select other toys based on the children’s preference, responsiveness to commercials and advertisements, as well as additional interests, such as sports, music, and media. In my opinion, parents, friend and other nurturing elements are the number one factors of children’s gender roles, although Toys R Us, holds back in no way to go along with the trend of the modern day stereo types and what they think will market towards