Children, just like adults are also affected by advertising. According to Fennis & Stroebe (2010), advertising is arguably the most powerful tool influencing consumer behavior. Consequently, stores that sell children’s toys ensure that they project adverts aimed at attracting youngsters who then sway their parents to purchase different products. The marketing strategies used in advertising also impact the child’s understanding of gender roles and play. This paper examines a toy catalog and presents various facts concerning the promotion of children’s toys.
I visited a toy store and noticed that boys and girls toys were arranged in different positions. I also observed a section that had both boy and girl toys located on a separate section referred to as the gender appropriate section. Hughes (2009), discloses that most stores that sell children’s toys categorize their products in terms of gender. The objective of the classification is to ensure easy access. In addition, the store owners unknowingly pass the message that children should play with toys that are supposedly gender –appropriate (Hughes, 2009). It can, therefore, be argued that the advertisers shape the gender opinions of children and how they should play.
The pictures in the packaging were very attractive with images whose aim is to draw the attention of the child. In the boy’s toy section, for instance, the pictures displayed on most of the products demonstrated just how heroic the child would be when playing with the said toy. Images of strong and gigantic men were displayed on most male toys.
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The difference in the colors of the toys was also evident. For instance, girl’s dolls were designed with floral patterns and bright colors such as pink, red and yellow. Toys manufactured for the male child such as toy cars had dark colors such as black, grey, and brown. The toys were placed at the child’s eye level. In most cases, the smaller toys were positioned at the eye level for the youngster to easily access and carry.
I did notice one parent who tried to tell their daughter to get the girls toys. However, the young child seemed more interested in getting a plastic car meant for boys. It is apparent that parents also shape the gender inclinations of their children in terms of how they play and how they should perceive themselves (Brown, 2014).
In conclusion, my visit to the toy store made me come to the realization that advertisements help in influencing gender attributes and how children play. When a parent goes to the store and sees either of the two labels, this being ‘’boy’s toy section’’ and ‘’girl’s toy section’’, they are bound to follow the directions which will further shape how their children play and their gender inclinations.
Brown, S. (2014). Parenting Beyond Pink & Blue: How to Raise Your Kids Free of Gender Stereotypes. Ten Speed Press.
Fennis, B & Stroebe, W. (2010). The Psychology of Advertising. Psychology Press.
Hughes, P. (2009). Children, Play, and Development. Sage.