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Analysis Of Perceptions In Child's Play

1130 words - 5 pages

The Target store located at Dallas Highway in Marietta, Georgia, was chosen for the fieldwork assignment. This particular store was selected because of recent renovations to the toy area. The new arrangement of the toy department appears slightly different than traditional organizations of toys in the past. The location of the toys is in direct relation and physical flow from the baby equipment, supplies, and apparel. Toys transition from birth in the infant area initially in terms of age demographics, type of activity, and brand of toy to more obvious gender divisions beginning in the preschool toys. In the toy section for school age children, gender separation is clearly established. Gender divisions become more obvious in this age group according to colors, themes, and character depiction. The girl toys feature pink, purple, and pastel colors. The highlighted décor in the store’s displays and packaging for girls involves embellishments such as pictures of girls, flowers, glitter, and jewels. The boy section portrays color schemes that are primarily in blue, red, yellow, gray, and black. Packaging images are of male children. The sections including educational toys, games, sporting equipment, outdoor play, sound and music, building, puzzles, and arts appear to be more gender neutral although some gender specific items can be identified by color or themes such as princess/fairytale or Ninja Turtle. The configuration of the toys clearly states that color, themes, and character representation are irrelevant to infants and toddlers, while parent’s attitudes about color and gender may be important aspects of unintentional socialization in the maturation of children. Marketing strategies appeal to children, but adult’s perception of what is appropriate for boys and girls may contribute a great deal of influence on the appearance and nature of gender concentrated toys and games.
The toys in the girl section and boy section are very different, yet they also share some similarities. The most striking distinction is in the number of aisles dedicated to each gender. The boy section initially appears to features twice as many aisles as the girl section. In reality, all the aisles may not be geared to boys alone. Gender neutral toys need to appeal to boys more than to girls, because society finds it more acceptable for girls to play with boy toys than it is for the reciprocal process. It may be easier for a female child to cross gender lines due to the overwhelming obsession with boy’s masculinity. The themes in each gender section contrast drastically. While girl toys focus on domestic activities, child and pet care, fashion, beauty and grooming, the boy toys diverge into themes of fighting, aggression, competition, protection, building, and transportation. Even in certain toys that seemingly offer two models, such as the Easy Bake Oven in purple or black and white versions, marketing to a specific gender is more accurately defined by what the toy does...

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