Essay Proposal

Does Toy Advertising Reinforce Gender Stereotypes in Children?

Thesis:

Before having children I paid little attention to how children’s toys are marketed. I didn’t notice just how divided the toys and clothes sections are in most stores. And it made me wonder why. Are girls predisposition to like princesses and pink? Do boys only like construction toys and cars because this is something inherit within them or does advertising reinforce society’s gender stereotypes? Children may be restricted in their play choices due to advertisers reinforcing gender stereotypes and subsequently limiting their future life-choices.

Rationale:

This study will help me understand how advertising impacts children. It will help me understand whether or not advertising affects children’s perception of gender. Do children have preferences for certain colours and toys or is the preference conjured by advertising? Should children have a preference is this heightened and reinforced by advertising beyond their biological preference?

Aims and Objectives:

–Does the language use in adverts aimed towards children reflect gender stereotypes?
–Does the behaviour used in adverts aimed towards children reflect gender stereotypes?
–Does advertising affect how children choose toys which they believe are appropriate to their own gender?
–Does a child’s developing brain increase the impact gendered stereotyped advertising has?
–Does the increased screen time, due to technological changes (the invention of the Internet, Smartphones, Tablets), increase the impact of gender stereotypical advertising?
–Research how toy advertising has changed it’s depictions of gender over time.
–Are children born with gender preferences? Do girls prefer dolls and pink and boys blue and cars for example?
–How does imagery and body language reinforce gender stereotypes?
Research marketing techniques and promotional design aspects aimed at children.

Development of Theoretical Ideas/Practitioners and Theorists/Primary Sources:
Using a range of sources I will evaluate the impact that advertising has on children. I will evaluate research which includes statistics on children’s advertising and the gender stereotypes contained within these advertisements.

Looking at Piaget’s theory of cognitive development will help me understand what impact advertising has on a child’s brain. And how advertising may have more influence on a child’s developing brain.

Development of Theoretical Ideas/Practitioners and Theorists/Primary Sources:

Using a range of sources I will evaluate the impact that advertising has on children. I will evaluate research which includes statics on children’s advertising and the gender stereotypes contained within these advertisements.

Looking at Piaget’s theory of cognitive development will help me understand what impact advertising has on a child’s brain. And how advertising may have more influence on a child’s developing brain.

Research Material/Reading List:

Children and Television – A Global Perspective, Dafna Lemish

http://lettoysbetoys.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/LetToysBeToys-Advertising-Report-Dec15.pdf – Who gets to play? What do toy ads on UK TV tell children about boys’ and girls’ play?

https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/45638/11199_2005_Article_1195.pdf – The Effects of Commercials on Children’s Perceptions of Gender Appropriate Toy Use

https://journals.tdl.org/jrwg/index.php/jrwg/article/view/24 – The Language of Toys: Gendered Language in Toy Advertisements

Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices (Culture, Media and Identities series) – Stuart Hall

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(07)01559-X – Biological components of sex differences in color preference

https://www.asa.org.uk/asset/2DF6E028-9C47-4944-850D00DAC5ECB45B.C3A4D948-B739-4AE4-9F17CA2110264347/ Depictions, Perceptions and Harm, A report on gender stereotypes in advertising

https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2011/may/09/pink-toys-girls-passive-princesses – Are pink toys turning girls into passive princesses?

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/12/toys-are-more-divided-by-gender-now-than-they-were-50-years-ago/383556/?single_page=true – Toys Are More Divided by Gender Now Than They Were 50 Years Ago

 

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