On Gender Typing Toys

Whenever I buy someone a present, I ask myself:

What does this person really want?

The answer has to do with their personality, and interests. But it also has to do with gender.  In toy stores, the first thing we notice—if we notice it at all—is that boys’ and girls’ toys are shelved separately.  This reflects a host of assumptions and attitudes about gender construction that are being widely investigated by social scientists today on a scale not seen before.

In their groundbreaking book, Gender Typing of Children’s Toys: How Early Play Experiences Impact Development, editors Erica S. Weisgram and Lisa M. Dinella and their contributors investigate the causes and consequences of gendered play in early development.  As research shows, different toys teach children different skills, including lessons about how they should and should not behave.  Gender-typed play both reflects and codifies gender stereotypes, and can serve to constrain later roles in adulthood.  Contributors to this book describe the social, cognitive, and biological factors that influence the design and marketing of gender typed toys.  They offer empirically-based play interventions for clinicians, and a blueprint for how researchers, parents, and activists can help fight gender stereotypes and enable children to make their own choices about the people they will become.

This book will be released in February, 2018.  You can preorder it now.


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