Gender Specific Toys Essay

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As seen from the case of McKenna Pope’s brother above, gender-specific toys perpetuate the belief that girls and boys should possess different skills and aspirations. This diminishes the rich educational potential of toys in children’s development.

In this report, toys refer to the variety of games (eg board games, card games, puzzles, video games) and toys (eg dolls, trucks, playhouses).

Our research shows that the role of toys is to enable children to develop freely, through the attainment of various skills and embodiment of desired aspirations. The holistic skills which toys develop include the social, physical, cognitive and emotional aspects , while desired aspirations is shaped by the ability of toys to enhance imagination and creativity .

More specifically, it is during the ‘Imprint Period’ (from
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thus degrading the development potential of toys .

In Singapore, toys are often categorized according to perceived gender suitability (Fig 1) to provide convenience to consumers to shop and retailers to market them .

Fig 1: An example of gender-specific toy section in Toys R us Singapore

Girls’ toys (e.g. cooking sets and dolls) are associated with physical attractiveness and domestic or nurturing skill hence the cute female fairy in the packaging below (Fig 2). Fig 2: Typical kitchen set for girls in Takashimaya (Singapore)

Boys’ toys (e.g action figures and toy weapons) (Fig 3) are identified with physical strength and competitive skills , hence the sword and guns in the packaging below.

Fig 3: Gendered packaging of a toy gun played by boys in a Takashimaya toy store, Singapore (front and back of toy)

This results in consumers associating convenience and benefit to buy such gender-specific toys. Indeed, a survey we conducted shows that 70% of adults buy gender-specific toys for both genders. (Appendix B: Problem, Question

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