Posted by: drshollen | February 2, 2014

Gendering over time

Gendering over time

(You may want to take a look at my previous post first.) Then…

Take a scroll down on this link and see the comparisons from “then” and “now”. Does anyone have ideas about why this shift happened? What factors may have influenced the designers of these products to change their products in this direction? We have talked often about “degendering” leadership (among other constructs)…is society willing or able to move in that direction given what you see here?


  1. I, personally, think that the media plays a part in why many companies are “gendering” their products more and more. I think the characteristics that are considered typical of males and females are highlighted more than ever these days. For example, the beauty industry prides themselves on highlighting the concept of femininity in all of their ads, magazine covers, and commercials. Little girls that see these things are then taught to believe that that’s how a female should look and behave. I feel like many aspects of the media today show what divides the sexes more than what brings them together. Children of this generation then grow up having set distinctions in their minds of what typical male and females should look like and then these toy companies cater to these ideals. With media becoming a bigger and bigger part of our lives, it is no surprise that gender is reflected in objects as simple as toys. After all, gender is typically taught throughout childhood, so marketers see it as a way to market their products accordingly. I like how the little girl who wrote to the Lego company in the previous post mentioned that she would like to see more girl Legos doing things besides shopping and laying around the house all day. These “now” pictures of toys seem to be highlighting stereotyping and gender roles, as well. This is why it may be important to allow children to play with toys regardless of the gender they are catered to, because otherwise, the gender stereotyping presented in these toys will then transfer onto their own viewpoints. We do have the ability to “degender” these products. We just have to be willing to not view the sexes as being two separate entities.

  2. I think it is extremely sad that toys have changed so much. I had many of the products they showed for the older versions. I feel like there could be boys out there that love horses. What toy do they have for that? None that I’ve seen. Horses have become a gendered animal because all the little girls dream of having a pony. The companies promote that stereotype by only producing very pink, rainbow, heart, and various other “girly” images with their pony, or horse, products. We do have the power to degender these toys, but I don’t know if that’s an option in this society. I think a better possibility would be to make each toy with a lot of different makes. That would help children feel more open to choosing what they want and not what society wants them to want. Another thing that needs to happen is a degendering of the toy sections. I know in all the stores I’ve been in, there is a boy’s section and a girl’s section which further limits children.

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