Gender Typing in Children

Gender typing is common and has been overlooked as part and parcel of sexism. Sexism is defined as discrimination based on one`s sex. Gender on the other hand is defined as a social construct which defines masculinity or femininity by assigning a set of roles, mental, physical and behavioral expectations (Franz 2009). In the modern world where any type of discrimination is prohibited by law, there is a common trait that seeks to separate the sexes based on their gender. This means that gender typing is a social accepted norm though it can be a rich ground for developing other socially unacceptable trends (McGraw, 2003). A visit to the Toys R Us stores reveals the extent of gender typing.
Toys R Us is one of the leading retail stores globally that strictly stocks play items for kids. The stores stocks, arranges and displays their items based on gender types. This means that there two basic market segments and two general products types, for boys and for girls. The stores source their toys to fit their different market segments. To suit the needs of the market, the retail store thus influences its suppliers and toy manufacturers on the types of toys to be supplied in the market. The retail store has clearly labeled its aisles as boys section and the girls section. In fact, in one of the stores in Miami, the boys section and the girls section are on different floors. The boy`s section in this particular store is dominated by male attendants while the girl`s section is dominated by female attendants.
The coloring and the packaging of the toys are very different. Girl toys are colored in feminine colors such as pink while boy toys are colored masculine colors such as solid black. The aisles of the boys` section are also decorated in different colors from the girls` section. The boys` section colors alternate between blue, jungle green and white while the girls section is dominated by pink and sky blue. Most play items for girls are Barbie dolls, teddy bears and other feminine characters especially from popular cartoons. As for toys meant for boys, they comprise race cars, police cars, heavy machinery toys, military artillery and so forth. The boys` section is also decorated by male super heroes such as Superman and Flash while the girls` section is decorated by female super heroes such as cat woman.
However, there are those items that are perceived to appeal to both genders. These include board games such as monopoly and scrabble. Others include comic books that have a clear balance between the sexes. Other unisex items include video games that do not glorify a single sex. Nonetheless, there are video games that are specifically targeted to a specific sex. For instance, the Beach Head game which largely involves aiming and shooting was noted by one of the store attendants as a popular game for boys and one best suited for boys. However, there was another differentiation of the products by age. The attendants explained that developmental requirements and a child`s cognitive abilities have a great influence on the type of toy or video game a child can play and understand.
The two classes of toys are clearly set apart. This kind of gender typing has forced parents and children alike to stick to the items set out for respective genders. Girls are discouraged from buying toys meant for boys and the other way round. This idea of setting toys for a specific gender are constructs and developed from gender stereotyping in the modern society.
Franz, S. (2009). Gender Identity and Gender Stereotypes as Interacting Influences on
Children`s Adjustment. New York: ProQuest.
McGraw. (2003). Gender Roles and Gender Differences. Retrieved online on 28[th] Sep from,
Toys R Us. Retrieved online on 28[th] Sep from,

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