Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Online Shopping for a young girl

Before I began shopping for my child I had expectations of what I would find. These expectations were that I would be able to know what to get for a girl and what to get for a boy, and how easy the online website would make it to choose between the two. Children are very easily influenced and when they see something that they are told they want, they usually want it. Television shows, movies, and commercials all influence children to want something in order to earn a profit. Even an educational type show like Dora the Explora makes tons of money off of the products they sell related to their show. Also, toys are created differently in order to appeal to different children. The biggest difference between toys, is girls toys and boys toys. The most obvious difference between the two is almost always the color. This should make shopping even easier; but is that a good thing?
The list of toys I was given to find for Jessica, a 5 year old girl, included toys like computer games, lite brights, transformers, remote controlled cars, and tonka trucks. When I first saw the list, I made a assumption that most of America makes when looking at the "norms" of boys and girls. Why would a girl want transformers and tonka trucks I thought? After going on to Amazon.com it was easy to see the differences in toys. If something was pink, it was meant for a girl and if something was black or dark blue, it was usually meant for a boy. Some of the girls toys were colors other then pink, but there wasn't a single boys toy that I found that was pink. This shows that pink is a feminine color and that boys should absolutely never want to like or be pink. One could say that this means that toys are telling young boys that they are not supposed to be like girls, because like pink, something is different and wrong about them.
Another difference other then color, was the types of toys that are for sale. Boys toys include violent things and racing games. Girls toys are usually pretty and glamorous, or include things like a kitchenette set that they can cook on. The "norm" that women stay at home, take care of the children, and cook dinner for the family is already being given to girls at a young age. If mom was the one who took care of the children more often then dad, and she was the one who usually cooked dinner, then perhaps the girls were just emulating their mom and want to be like her. But, why wouldn't the boys be doing the same if they too were around mom more often then dad? This is probably due to the fact made by TV and products for children that boys are supposed to like violence, danger and action while girls are supposed to be pretty and like "feminine" things.
When looking at toys that were considered to be gender neutral, such as a lite bright set, there was still a differentiation between toys. There were light brights that looked neutral, but then there were also others that were pink or seemed to be sided towards one gender or the other. The only true uni-sex item that I found, was a children's leather jacket. It is black and looks as though a boy or girl could wear it. After looking through all the other toys and clothes I began to wonder, would a pink leather jacket have the same uni-sex tag on it? No way. This made me start to think about whether or not it was ok for boys and girls to be like each other based on the "norms" of society. The answer that I find is that society is starting to accept girl's acting like boys more and more, but that boys are never to act like the stereotypical girl. Why does being a female have to be so bad in our society, or most places on the Earth for that matter. It may not be obvious until it is analyzed, but the idea of male dominance over females is portrayed to children from the time that they are born, whether they can notice it or not.
(Conclusion and course reading support will be edited in later tonight, I just wanted to publish something for now)

























References: (All images taken from Amazon.com)
more references will be edited later tonight

3 comments:

Kelly said...

This article seems to be centered on stereotypes in advertisements that are aimed at young children.
Some well-supported claims are found in the reference that colors are usually very significant of the different sexes. It is more acceptable to have a girl playing with a blue toy rather than a boy playing with a pink toy.
To deepen the analysis, references to class readings could have been included to support your arguments. A little more in depth analysis with more specific examples would also have been helpful.

Jessie said...

You've made some great observations about the toys you found in relation to the seemingly paradoxical ways that the toys are gendered via color. Why are such paradoxical messages such as your observation that "Girls toys are usually pretty and glamorous, or include things like a kitchenette set that they can cook on. The "norm" that women stay at home, take care of the children, and cook dinner for the family is already being given to girls at a young age. If mom was the one who took care of the children more often then dad, and she was the one who usually cooked dinner, then perhaps the girls were just emulating their mom and want to be like her. But, why wouldn't the boys be doing the same if they too were around mom more often then dad?"

In order to answer (or more accurately, investigate possible rationales for) your question, you clearly needed the course readings for this assignment. Although the "what you expected to find" method for beginning your intro is a great way to start, the lack of course readings is evident in the omission of a thesis to end the trajectory of your 'exploratory' search for toys. Try doing the research first, using the course readings to define what the stereotypes are, and then write your post as a complete analysis. The next assignment absolutely needs to be a complete body of work (intro w/ thesis, points supported by the texts, and analytically based, with a conclusion). Try writing the assignment in word (or whatever word processor you use) as you would for any other paper, then paste the final version to your blog as your post.
-Jessie

Natasha said...

Good words.