The Impact of Gender-stereotyped Toys on Children

This article is about the effects of "gendered" toys on children.

There are a variety of toys in every corner of a toy score. Toys are piled and grouped according to sizes, prices, colors, types, and most especially according to “gender”. From those displays, one can easily distinguish which ones are for boys and which ones are for girls. Gender-stereotyped toys usually differ in terms of colors, sizes, and nature. Traditional toys for boys have bold colors such as black, blue or green, whereas clean and “soft” colors like pink, yellow or orange are for girls.

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Some toys can be educational, sports-related, recreational or a combination. For instance, dolls, dollhouses and sets of miniature kitchen wares are designed for both educational and recreational purposes for girls. Same thing with planes, spaceships, and robots are for boys. Most sports-related toys like balls are often associated for boys. These toys mainly suggest the typical social gesture for boys to be masculine or “tough-looking”.

This gender typing in toys is very important. According to the Colley’s theory, self-awareness, which is yet to be developed in children, is greatly affected on what they often see and get in touch with. The kind of toys they play somehow affects them. Girls playing dolls and other “girly” toys would develop their awareness of themselves as feminine. The same manner also applies with boys. Children’s self-perceptions are also learned through their consistent contact with others especially the ones they often play with. Role-playing, which usually happens during playtime with playmate, reflects to the children’s development in social gestures. Playing with peers sometimes cause pressure. By playing, kids would have to learn to adjust and adapt in differences of one another. Self is also built through the particular attitudes of the other people toward the developing individual or toward one another. According to an author, “self-consciousness is developed through action in the social domain that is completed in personal reflection.”

Toys play a vital role in the development of young children. They stimulate the development of one’s awareness through play. With toys, children explore relationships and practice skills they might need as adults. Playing with toys in general is an important part of the process of learning about the real world. It is part of growing up. Both young and adult boys and girls use toys to help discover their own identity, skills and strength. Boys and girls generally have different toys because both differ in their development needs. Social relationship of a child towards others also may be moulded with the props of toys.

Through the years, toys have evolved. But the fact that children play with toys remained as it is. From the typical gender-stereotyped toys, lots of toys nowadays are made unisex. The colors of toys have also been opened to both genders. However, the effects of toys on the child’s development are the same according to studies. This kind of development does not depend on the toys alone but rather much on how the kids reacted towards them. Like for example, a boy who would give keen attention to every detail of his toy car may grow up studious. Also, a girl exposed and engaged to her brothers’ toys may tend to imitate boyish gestures and attitudes. Other factors that influence the development of a child are the parents, environment and peers. Although toys affect on the child’s being, still these are only portion of the total development.

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  1. I often wondered why girls have “dolls” and boys have “action figures”. That always cracks me up.

  2. A wonderful share. I think we should not bring gender bias on toys. Let children choose a toy of their liking and play regardless of whether it is a boy or a girl. What do you say?

  3. Toys certainly have a gender bias and you can add colours to this. Pink for the girls, blue for the boys.

  4. I had a Baby Blue Barbie convertible car as a child that I used for my GI Joes and Capt’n Action. This was in the 1960s…..

  5. this was a good idea, i enjoyed the read

  6. When I was growing up my toys were gardner snakes, bullfrogs, and baseballs and bats. I owned one doll and she used to parachute from the roof of the house. I still grew up knowing how to be a girl.

  7. The only toy that sticks in my mind is a tractor trailer that I had. There was all kinds of room in the trailer. I wish I had it now. It would make a great conversation piece. I’d set it up right in the living room on the low table in front of the sofa. I’d act like it wasn’t there.

  8. Interesting read.

    Thanks,

    Inna

  9. Good article thanks for sharing.

  10. That was a very interesting read Frank :)

  11. Nice idea frank.

  12. Great share

  13. Interesting topic here.

  14. Nice Article

  15. Good post here. Very interesting!

  16. Good subject and a lot of thinking you have given it.

  17. Great Post…

  18. Nice one cuzzie ;-)

  19. nice informative write……
    allowing kids to choose their toys also teaches them to make choices. children really loves having choices…

  20. Great post, wonderful read.

  21. well written my friend, kudos!

  22. nice one

  23. I’ve noticed though that for many it doesn’t matter much if a girl plays with boy toys. Only if the boy plays with girls. To be honest, when I am the caregiver of kids, unless their parents give me strict orders I let them play with both regardless of their sex. I have yet to see any little boys pretend to be princess’s and such from doing so but even then, I’m not the type to care about that either. ;)

  24. hahaha I think its funny to see guys playing dolls hahaha..

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  27. Great post, thanks for shared this to all of us.
    :)
    How to Choose Toys for Kids

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