Gendered Toys Creating Gender Stereotypes

Karen Spears

Goucher College


Over the past thirty years, the conceptualization of gender has become an important topic in the fields of sociology and anthropology. Societal influences such as names, colors and clothing items have an impact on gender ideology, but toys are one of the most interesting factors because children play with them at such an early age. Many studies have been conducted in this specific subfield, and they all reveal the same underlying meaning in different ways. These studies have exposed the parental influence of beliefs about gender and the influence of commercials and other social media, as well as exposing the perception of some toys as more feminine than other toys. The researchers show how gender controls the toy industry and how it is easier for girls to transcend the gender boundaries than boys. Most of these experiments were conducted before 2012, but currently, the toy market is expanding into more gender-neutral toys. In the future it will be possible to experiment further to see if this affects heteronormative gender roles.

            Keywords: gender, gender stereotypes, toys