Children™s Toys  Use the assigned readings (linked below) and course material to address each of the prompts provided

Children’s Toys 

Use the assigned readings (linked below) and course material to address each of the prompts provided below.

  • Number your responses to each prompt.
  • Your responses should be substantive yet concise (please follow the specified length parameters). The goal of this requirement is to practice written communication that is reasonably developed while remaining focused on the most essential points and examples to explain and support your ideas.
  • You should make clear connections to course material (including concepts and terminology) as much as possible.   
  • Include in-text citations to specific sources in your response (see below for more information about formatting).
    • You must meaningfully draw on/refer to all of the assigned articles (at least once each in your submission).
    • When you use a particular course concept, be sure to cite the source (e.g., textbook, lecture) accordingly.


Assigned Articles: 

(I recommend reading these in the order that they are listed)

  • Toys Are More Divided by Gender Now Than They Were 50 Years Ago (Links to an external site.)
  • Are gendered toys harming childhood development? (Links to an external site.)
  • ‘A Doll For Everyone’: Meet Mattel’s Gender-Neutral Doll  (Links to an external site.)
    • (Note that this article incorrectly defines trans — it is presented in an overly narrow way by tying it to some form of transition.)
  • Op-Ed: The Alarming Message of Mattels Gender-Neutral Dolls (Links to an external site.)


Assignment Prompts:

  1. Describe changes over time in the extent to which childrens toys are made and marketed in gender-typed ways. (2-4 sentences)
  2. Were you surprised by these historical patterns? Why/why not? Explain. (3-4 sentences)
  3. According to the readings, why does heightened gender-typed marketing among childrens toys matter (i.e., what is the effect of this practice for childrens development)? (1-2 paragraphs)
  4. What is an alternative way to organize childrens toys (that is not gender-typed)? (2-3 sentences)

 How changes in childrens toys relate to larger social shifts:

  • As you read, despite progress toward gender equality during the second half of the 20th century, messaging in childrens toys and marketing was simultaneously increasingly gender-typed, presenting an interesting paradox. Some scholars suggest that one explanation for this trend is that as women gained social and political power (e.g., an increasing presence in the labor force, higher education, and the political realm), toys have come to embody an ideological backlash to this progress. That is, as the roles of men and women become more similar in larger society, there is a greater need to distinguish between masculinity and femininity within the culture, and to emphasize that the traditional aspects of gender roles have not been abandoned.
  1. What do you think about this explanation for the documented trends in gender-typing children’s toys? (You are presenting your subjective evaluation here.) (3-4 sentences) 
    • OPTIONAL: You are welcome to assert another possible explanation or counter-argument for this trend. 
  1. In your opinion, what are the (a) merits AND (b) limitations of Alex Myers argument presented in the Op-Ed regarding Mattels gender-neutral dolls? (1-2 paragraphs)
  2. Explain what you found most surprising, interesting, and/or important while completing this assignment.  Be sure to specify what it was and why it captured your attention. (1-2 paragraphs)



Including citations signals that your ideas are an extension of and/or supported by what you are learning in this class, as well as giving credit to work/ideas that are not your own. Even if you already have pertinent base knowledge, it is still important to demonstrate how you are drawing on specific course material to inform and support your ideas for coursework submitted in this class.

  • Cite in parentheses in the sentence where you use the information. Include the name of the source and location.
  • Examples (the red font needs to be updated based on your usage):
    • In this sentence, I am pulling information from an assigned article (Article Name).
      • (It is okay to abbreviate/use shorthand please just make it obvious/clear which source you are drawing on.)
    • Here is an example sentence with concept such and such from the textbook (Wade & Ferree, p. xx).
    • Here is another example with an idea we discussed in class (Class Lecture, date).
    • Another source of material to draw on is a video we watched (Video Name). It is ideal to also include the timestamp (e.g., 3:14 to indicate 3 minutes 14 seconds)
  • You do NOT need to include a reference list for your responses if you are only citing the required course materials. We all know where it came from so there is no need to give a full reference as long as you cite it within the sentences where you use it 🙂
    • Although no additional sources are needed, be sure to include a reference list with the source name and link so it can be located if you draw on any other materials. This does not need to follow any particular format; just include the requested info. 

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