Stereotypes in Children’s Toys

Stereotyping starts earlier than you may think.

By Emily Byrd, Zoe Cox, and Lauren Penington


Thousands of people experience stereotypes daily, from children to teens, from girls to boys.  Although we try to eliminate them, such things are inescapable. They surround us daily in even the simplist of things. Even in our day to day lives, we experience things that perhaps we don’t recognize as being stereotyped. Why has pink been deemed the “girly” color? Or, why do we seem to gravitate towards certain looking toys for our children?

“I have a daughter and a son. I think that gender roles are definitely something that plays a part in our lives especially when I was buying my kids toys when they were little. I started to notice the packaging for girls were more pasteles and pinks and things like that and the boy’s stuff, to me, I thought it looked like more fun. The bright colored lego bricks and the primary colors and stuff like that. Things were tougher. They seemed more physical or kinesthetic and the girls stuff seemed kinda like dolls and ‘girly things.’ And so gender roles have definitely affected me as a mother,” graphic design teacher Ashley Barr said.

The difference is staggering and yet as a society, we’ve accepted this as “normal,” if only because we see them on an everyday basis. They’ve become engrained in society. Children grow up thinking this is what they should be, that women should be feminine and girly, while boys should be masculine and strong. Millions of stereotypes surround us, and yet the ones placed on children are the most powerful. This can be due to a number of reasons, but the most prominent one is perhaps the fear that these children could be different, so people try to squeeze them into color coded boxes.


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