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Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Students Have Submitted Their First Blog Posts: Online Toy Shopping Field Work: Gendered Consumers/Engendering Consumerism


For the students' blogs, choose from the links at the right (sidebar).

The students have posted their first blog post. The following is the
assignment they were given to focus their blog posts on the messages about
gender that are disseminated by toys. Although this specific assignment is
different from the "each student chose a topic" format for the previous
semester's blog project, the class has developed just as diverse a collection of
blogs and responses to this assignment as the previous class.

Online Toy Shopping Field Work: Gendered Consumers/Engendering Consumerism Assignment:

Analyze the role that toys (and products marketed for children) play in the gendered socialization of children using the products marketed to them.
In order to address the assignment, go “shopping” (online or in a store) as if you were purchasing toys/clothing/food/etc for the child, whose biography was created by one of your classmates, and then analyze what you find in relation to gender and children’s socialization.

Questions to consider:

  • What messages are sent to children about “boys” and “girls” through their toys?
  • How do toys facilitate the understanding of normative gender roles and stereotypes in childhood?
  • If toys are cultural products that are considered benign and ‘innocent’ by virtue of their target demographic group, how do toys represent powerful methods of information dissemination (think of the arguments we read in the pieces by Lull, Henley & Freeman, and Hall)?
  • Look at the age-ranges for the toys you’ve found, what messages are being sent? How can toys relate to an issue/value/aspect of adulthood? Try to find a gender-neutral toy that would appeal to the child you’ve been shopping for…how did it work out?

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