Representations of Women in Toys

In society today we see many representations of women and girls.  But, these representations are introduced to each individual girl at a very early age with the very things she plays with her toys.  When we look at toddler toys for boys we imagine giant plastic fake hammers and screwdrivers, while girls get the fake vacuum or kitchen set.  In another five to seven years the toys change.  Boys get action figures of superheroes and the girls get Barbie dolls.  The next five to seven years, boys get video games and girls get makeup and accessories.  The gender stereotypes of women are represented by the roles of the toys and gifts people give their children.  The role being taught is that of a mother or house wife, to clean and to cook.  While the role being assigned to the boy is to fix things and use tools.  Are there neutral grounds for toys we give to children?  Is it wrong for a boy to be playing with a kitchen set while a little girl is playing with tools?  It seems as though our culture has set these two gender identities apart.  

When you begin walking down a toy isle you see one side covered in blacks and blues, violent action figures cover the wall along side cars and trucks.  On the other side everything is pink.  Dolls, accessories, and play houses are what we find.  One prevalent doll company, Barbie, has changed the shape of their doll over the decades and nowadays is the shape of a Victoria Secret model with a boob job.  This image of how a woman looks like further accentuates how in our society we mold this as the ideal body shape, which leads to false shapes of a real human woman.  The dolls un-human characteristics misrepresent women from any time period.  

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Once boys and girl are in their teenage years they begin to change a bit more boys usually like to play video games and electronics while most girls are into make up and clothes.  Early on we teach girls to be so focused on being “pretty princesses” that it relates to them in their teenage years focusing on beauty and vanity.  Many gifts that children receive shape and mold them into the gender identities that they will become.  Through our knowledge of false stereotypes, let us hope their will be more gender neutrality in the future for our own children.

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One thought on “Representations of Women in Toys

  1. You make a good point about how clearly toys are pitched to distinct groups and how they have been labeled “boy toys” vs. “girl toys.” How might you link this to some of the theories and concepts from our course? The photo seems to show Barbie looks a bit better now than a decade ago, but still has a way to go.

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