Gender-Neutral Toys Still Affecting Girls Differently Than Boys In Subtle But Harmful Ways

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald December 27, 04:00 am
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Toy makers and stores have somehow eliminated classifications of toys for girls or boys, but the marketing of it might not have changed.
(Photo : Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images )

Are gender-neutral toys really breaking down the stereotypes and narrowing the gap in the differences between girls and boys? Toys are not just a fun diversion for children as these are also tools for learning. What kids choose to play shapes their ideals and perception, including about gender.

Even though gender-neutral toys are the norm these days, it might still be influencing young girls differently than boys in subtle ways, according to National Geographic. The stereotypes continue to exist in how these toys are marketed and the article posits it could still be harming daughters because of gender bias.

The article starts by outlining the history of how toy manufacturers first started developing and marketing gender-specific toys. Before the World War II, the distinction was clear between what items are meant for boys and girls.

Over the decades, development of toys changed to become more gender-neutral, to the point of the elimination of boy and girl categories for toys in store catalogs. What didn't change, however, is gender-based marketing. For instance, most gender-neutral toys actually have colors that are more identified as masculine than feminine like gray, blue, green or red.

Last Christmas, gender-neutral advocates urged parents to stop buying pink toys for girls, BBC reports. They said that doing so could dissuade the girls from aspiring for a career in science and technology.

Yet as the National Geographic article points that toys inspired to push science or technology in kids -- such as Lego that caters to boys building things --  do have available and sellable versions for girls. But even then, Lego toys for girls are actually about role-playing than building or construction, which again highlights the bias that harms young girls.

But PJ Media calls out the National Geographic article for its own politically-correct agenda. It points out that unless the toys in question are about "hidden knives in dolls," then the "harm" in having gender-specific toys is only a "socially engineered" concept.

Which side of the debate on gender stereotypes do you favor? Do you think gender-neutral marketing is making a difference or should the toys' classification even matter? Let us know your thoughts in the comments?

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