Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes in Children: Two Examples

Not everyone seems to agree about how much advertising and media influence social behaviors, stereotypes and assumptions, but there's little doubt that it does, and there's special concern when it comes to our children. Recently I've come across two useful examples of reinforcing gender stereotypes.

Thanks to our friend, Lisa Ray, at Corporate Babysitter, we discovered a great (informal) assessment about how toy ad vocabulary reinforces gender stereotypes. Crystal Smith, author of The Achilles Effect, used Wordle to create an image of the kinds and frequency of words used in ads for toys for boys & for girls, targeted to ages 6-8ish. Here's what she found:

You can read the complete post here. And, Crystal's post received so much feedback that she posted a follow-up here.

I can't remember where I first saw this second example, but The Center for a Commercial-Free Childhood has reproduced it here.

The small type says:

For girls, it's the "Perfectly Pink! Pack: Little princesses will love these five enchanting stories -- filled with everything PINK!"

For the boys, it's the "Power Pack: Keep active kids reading with five power-packed books about rockets, bulldozers, and more."

These examples would make great discussion starters in media literacy, psychology, language arts, art, and similar classes.

~ Marsha

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