Saturday, May 5, 2012
Gender Stereotypes in Toy Advertisements
So I was watching the Buffy vs Edward video, yet again, and I started looking into Rebelliouspixels' work, (the guy who made the video) and found that he/ they do a lot about gender roles and advertising. In fact they've also made a second site called The Gender Advertising Remixer which does mashups of the video and audio to toys marketed towards boys and towards girls. Here's an example of one (it's not the best, but it's one that could be embedded into the blog)
Watching this, and even making my own mashups, really made me realize how ridiculously stereotyped toys are for young kids. Personally, I grew up playing with toys geared towards both genders including, American Girl dolls, Polly Pockets, Legos, Rockenbok, among others and my sister and I loved playing with either. What's even more concerning now, is not only the blatant stereotyping, but the violence associated with toys geared for boys. In the video below is a mashup of different LEGO advertisements over the years and the increasing amount of violence and weapons.
It seems that now a days, toy companies think boys won't be interested in a toy unless it blows up, or gets destroyed, or has a very deep male voice narrating the advertisement. For girls, unless it has something to do with hair, puppies, or the color pink, toy ads don't think girls will be interested. It amazes me how gender is thrust upon us from day one. No, not even day one, but several months before we're even born. Right when mom and dad know "it's a girl!" they, and their families go out and buy a TON of pink, and anything associated with this. Once we're old enough to pick our own toys, we've already been surrounded by gender geared toys and advertisements and are practically drilled into buying the appropriate toy. What's even worse, is the notion that it's okay for girls to like video games and legos, but it's not acceptable for boys to play with Barbies (unless you're a dad to two little girls). The gender roles and their repercussions surround us as children and keep us separated. While there is obviously some cross over, with too much we are ridiculed. If anything, I believe that for true gender equality we need to go right to the source, our childhood, and fix these classifications and judgements. Maybe one day they'll finally make a LEGO Star Wars advertisement with girls playing too, because contrary to the company's belief, girls can like Star Wars too!