March 6 Talk: Liz Sweet, Passive in Pink? Exploring the Gendered World of Children's Toys and Toy Advertising
Scholars and cultural critics have just begun to explore the seemingly intensified role of gender in contemporary children’s toys and toy marketing, yet there has been little systematic study of how the gender segregation and stereotyping we observe in toys today fits into a historical context. Without this context, it is unclear whether the toys of today truly are more gendered than were those of the past or if we are simply seeing the novel repackaging of a persistent gender ideology. This talk will examine the ideas about gender encoded in children’s toys and toy advertising over 20th century, looking at whether and how the gendered messages in toys changed over this span of time. Data are drawn from an original content analysis of toys and toy advertisements in a sample of Sears catalogs spanning the years 1905-1995, measuring the extent to which toys and ads were gendered at key time points and the specific ways in which this gendering is evidenced. The larger dissertation project from which this talk is drawn seeks to understand the ideological function of gender in children’s toys by examining how changes in the gendering of toys relates to larger societal level shifts in gender relations over time.
Presented by The UC Davis Consortium For Women & Research
Mar 06, 2012