Gender Socialization

A paper which examines the role of gender-specific toys on gender roles in society.

The paper shows that gender roles are perpetuated and learned through gender socialization and that toys are considered a type of gender socializing agent. The paper argues that social formation of gender by the means of toys is detrimental to the whole equity of society, because it reinforces gender differentiation and sexism. The paper gives several examples of toys which promote gender-specific messages such as baby dolls and play make-up for little girls. Finally, the paper looks at ways to reverse gender stereotyping in our society and shows how several toy manufactures are shedding the gender stereotypes on their products.
“Thus, gender distinctions imposed by societal culture and framework define the behaviors of male and female individuals, which are arranged in a pattern. Women cannot do the things prescribed for men, and vice versa. Hence, we observe that toys are a form of gender socialization, which in turn, transmits the gender roles. In turn, gender roles contribute to cultural and social framework, which are imposed upon newborns through the socializing agents, such as toys. This forms a cycle that explains how gender role socialization reflects and constitutes the framework of the American society.”