Gender Roles And Stereotypes Of Gender-Specific Toys

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“Man up,” the little boy hears as he whimpers on the bed. This phrase may seem harmless at first glance, but the effects of it are long term. When one thinks of the word “man” alone, thoughts of a muscular, tall, handsome character who has a liking for fighting and a charismatic charm with women surface; note that anything outside of this “box” gives room for insecurities to form. This is one common example of gender stereotypes that exist deep within our society’s foundation. It’s one that can be so detrimental to the formation and understanding of masculinity and manhood. These stereotypes shape children based on preconceived ideas about gender. One of the ways in which we do so is by the selection of certain toys. Many toy companies create gender-specific toys, by the coloring and labeling, targeting children in a way that limits their selection and decides what is fitting for a boy or girl to interact with. Monster trucks and tool kits are placed on male assigned aisles, while kitchen sets and baby dolls are placed on female assigned aisles. This reinforces socially constructed gender roles such as those that assume all women should be domesticated housewives. On the contrary, men are portrayed through the stereotype that they should be a handyman, savvy with machinery and tools. Companies display this by placing gender-specific toys on aisles that are distinctly segregated by colors. Blue for boys, and pink for girls. Keep in mind that colors themselves are not actually

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