Gender and Society

Children’s Toys: A Content Analysis of Toy Store MerchandisePurpose: This project is designed to explore the relationship of children’s toys and play to the development of gender identity and the maintenance of gender roles.Instructions: Take a trip to a local store that has a well=stocked toy department. Select a specialty toy store or a discount department store that has a wide selection of toys for children of different ages. Spend abut one hour examining the toys and packaging materials and making notes about the extent to which you observe evidence of gender stereotyping and gender-specific messages.In your analysis, consider colors (e.g., pastels, black, red), picture of boys or girls on the packaging, and specific indications of gender (e.g., “for girls aged 4 to 6 years”). In addition, consider factors such as placement in the store (for example, are all of the dolls in the same aisle as the bake sets?) or the interest that young children in the store might express toward certain toys.There is not a specific page limit required. I will be grading on how thoroughly you address each of the questions and the degree to which you refer to specific examples. You may type out each question and then answer the question, or you may write this in essay form. Just be certain to address all of the questions.Summarize your findings by answering the following questions:1. What were your first reactions when you walked into the toy department? Are thetoys different from those you recall from your childhood?2. Did you find that some toys were related to adult gender roles (for example,homemaker, nurse, doctor, police officer, etc.), and were these toys directed towarda specific sex?3. How would you characterize boys’ toys? What were their most common featuresor uses?4. How would your characterized girls’ toys? What were their most common featuresor uses?5. Did you find any toys that might be considered gender neutral? Which ones?What proportion of the toys would you estimate fell into this category?Text for reference:Barnett, Rosalind and Caryl Rivers. 2004. Same Difference. NY: Basic Books.Johnson, Allan. 2005. The Gender Knot. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press.