Gender and the Toy Store
How do kids learn how to “act like a girl” or “act like a boy”? If gender is not biological but must be learned, then it is important to look at the ways we teach kids in our society how to “do gender” correctly. Kids learn gender in many different arenas and from many different people. One way kids learn about appropriate gender behavior is through toys. This assignment requires that you visit a toy store and take note of how toys are marketed differently to girls and boys.
Your paper should have three parts. In the first part, describe what you found at the toy store. How are toys presented differently for boys and girls? What types of toys are marketed to girls and what types are marketed to boys? How can you tell which toys are meant for girls and which are meant for boys? Are there any toys that are gender-neutral?
In the second part of your paper, think about what kids might be learning from these toys. For example, if a vacuum cleaner is a girl’s toy and a chemistry set is a boy’s toy, what are kids learning about what is appropriate for girls and boys?
In the last part of your paper, relate what you found to the lectures and to at least one of the gender readings we have done in the course.
Due Date: Friday, May 7 at the beginning of class. Emailed papers will not be accepted.
NOTE: Papers must be 3-5 pages, double-spaced, in a 12-point Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins.
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