Gender Roles of Toys
Toys R Us in the Right or Wrong
Toys R Us is one of the top children??™s toy stores in America. It has a strong past, prosperous present and promising future. With an average layout of 60,000 square feet, you??™re bound to find what any child is looking for. The toys for the boys are in one area of the store, while the toys for girls are in another. The store merchandise has a lot to do with the passing along of gender stereotypes, as male toys are portrayed as more active and female toys as more passive. Toys that may be considered gender neutral, such as games and puzzles, are located in a different section of the store. The packaging for gender specific toys are color-coded, with the boys??™ toys mostly wrapped in blue, a manly color, and the girls, mostly in pink, a girly color. Do children actually take the time to notice that the two different sections are clearly marked by different colors In my limited amount of research, this matter seems to be considerably downplayed by most children, who really just want their damn toys! I personally believe that Toys R Us clearly stereotypes girls by selecting and marketing toys that educate young girls on life inside the home, while focusing on the working world for the boys, consequently outside the home.
The majority of boy??™s toys at Toys R Us 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 mini-construction site. These toys that are played with outside, are clearly organized to be in the boys section. In short, Toys R U??™s preconceived notion seems to play into marketing their outside toys specifically for boys.
Boy??™s toys usually reflect positions that take place outside in the real world. Through my research, I found that 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. The ???My Tool Kit??? toy, could be a step in the right direction for the boys, assuming the boys one day could become the ???handyman???, of their own house. You can also find toys that? reflect high paying white-collar occupations, such as the “My-Along Briefcase???. As a child I remember assuming that men who carried brief cases must have been rich and powerful. Generally boy??™s toys prepare them for the “real world.” For example, the “Electronic Rescue Center???, “Police Communication System???, and “Emergency Action Set. Each of these toys teaches young boys the importance of an occupation, generally teaching stereotypical “male” careers. Manufacturers make and market these boys toys? under the pre-conceived notion that boys will excel at these tasks, and just by looking at the toys, you can tell they are durable enough to be played with outside, where the boys mainly play with these toys. 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, all to be played with inside . They are stereotyping women and the expectations of the female role in society. These gender-role toys teach girls that their working roles and responsibilities take place in the home, including duties that require completion of household chores and raising 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 imply that only the product consumer, mostly female, can provide a child with the love and care they need to survive, therefore, reinforcing the stereotype that women are the ones to stay home and take care of the children.
Barbie dolls and other beautiful dolls teach girls to be overly-concerned with their appearance. To no surprise, the number one girl??™s toy that still reigns supreme to this day at Toys R Us is the infamous ???Barbie???. Barbie has had, a very negative impact on the self-esteem of young girls, because very few bodies are naturally shaped as such and plastic surgery would be required to make the majority of women to emulate Barbie. Young girls may feel the need to get dolled up with accessories and makeup after playing with their, ???perfect??? Barbies. “Barbies neck is twice as long as the average humans which would make it impossible to hold up her head….Barbies legs are 50% longer than her arms, whereas the average womans legs are only 20% longer than her arms….If a woman had the same measurements as Barbie, she would not have enough body fat to menstruate (and obviously to have children!).”(K.Wysokki) Beauty inspired toys encourage a large majority of younger girls have the mindset toward an image-driven and materialistic world, where there is more beauty than emotion or brain. Toys R Us is perpetuating this problem, simply because Barbie continues to bring in the big bucks.
Toys R Us is clearly stereo typing boys and girls through selecting what toys they play with as well as where and how they play with their toys. In the store catalogue you will see boys playing in action filled environments while girls are shown sitting or standing in passive poses. One may argue that Toys R Us is simply advertising to the biggest audience, which is sensible from an economic stance, but severely lacks ethics. They market in this manner because they are assuming this is whats going to sell; the bigger picture for them is money. In conclusion, it is clear that Toys R Us simply markets gender specific toys to what they think will sell to children, with boys taking on the role of action outside and girls handling the majority of activity on the inside.