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Will sex toys damage childhood development?

Any parent of the middle number is tired of the pink and blue gap in the toy aisle. Just last month, the White House held a meeting on the gender stereotypes of toys and media, with many toy manufacturers and experts attending. After feedback, Target announced in 2015 that it would eliminate the label for tagging toys for boys or girls. A British campaign called Let Toys Be Toys is designed to Let retailers stop classifying Toys and books as a gender.

Developmental psychologists and sociologists are happy to finally see their parents’ delay. Lisa Dinella, associate professor at Monmouth university and lead researcher at the gender development laboratory, said the researchers were concerned that toys would be affected by gender segregation.

The obvious pink and blue aisles, with dolls and tea sets on one side, and trucks and building blocks on the other, are actually quite new. As recently as the 1970s, toys sold in the United States were not always marketed with an obvious gender distinction.

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University of California, Davis, sociology lecturer Elizabeth Sweet explained: “marketers realize that now unfavorable use gender stereotypes to sell their products, because the broader dialogue around gender.

Advertisements in the 1970s showed that children played with all kinds of toys, such as red, green or yellow, bright and happy. Sweet said, by the 1980 s and 90 s, against feminism has also rebounded, toys become more gender segregation, although it is not like now such a serious the pink and blue.

While this may seem like a minor problem, toys can help children learn new skills and develop intellectually, Dinella said. Dolls and pretend kitchens are good at teaching their children about the cognitive ordering of events and early language skills. Lego and jigsaw puzzle pieces teach spatial skills, which helps to lay the foundation for studying math principals. “If we put our kids on a track and they can’t explore, then the sexes are lost,” Dinella said.

Doll also teach children compassion, how to care for others, “associate professor, university of Kentucky cristian piers Brown (Christia Spears Brown) said,” how to raise children is not influenced by gender stereotypes “.

The sex preference for toys only shows up when a child knows her gender. ‘babies don’t have any preferences,’ Mr. Brown said.

In fact, when children like to play with toys, there are more differences between the sexes than between men and women, says Sweet. For example, she points out, studies of young children show that boys don’t like toys with wheels, which are traditionally given to boys, than girls.

Brown says gender is important for children between three and five years of age. So when children see clearly separated pathways such as pink or blue toys that reinforce gender cues, they pay great attention. Children also get a lot of clues from each other.

In the experiment, if you take a truck and show a girl a group of other girls playing with the truck, the girl is more likely to play it and see it as a girl’s toy.

Children also tend to think in “black and white” and try to “be very typical of their gender,” brown explained.

For example, in one experiment, the researchers took toys that the children had never seen before in a toy box, put them in a rigid girl box or a stereotyped boy’s box, and gave them to a group of children. The girls played with toys in the toy box, and the boys drew the toys to the boy’s box. Both sexes focused on the toys in the box instead of the toys marked with the opposite sex.

In about four or five years of age, brown says, children will find that their gender is constant, and what types of toys they play are more flexible. Some parents try to introduce other types of toys, away from strict pink and blue differences.

But Dinella says it’s hard for parents to ignore marketing and make their children’s toys or other gender-specific clothing. Dinella explains that while some parents try to expand the toys their children are exposed to, it is often socially costly to go through a gender boundary.

“Every decision about a child’s birthday, the clothes you choose, every decision brings a social cost to a child,” she said. So it’s hard for parents to rule out the rules. ”


Brown reference “small School Bus” (Little People School Bus) as saying: “now have a pink School buses,” he asked suspiciously, why would a toy company give something without sex, such as a School Bus, sex can refer to.

It seems counterintuitive that the gender segregation of toys has become so pronounced when women are the majority of college students. Brown assumes that as long as there is a lot of cultural change in one direction, there will be a rebound in the other direction.

In recent years, toy marketing has not only been a pink and blue box, but also a flood of princesses and superheroes.

In the 1960s, girls’ dolls had traditional feminine roles – like housewives and mothers – while boys’ behavior had scientists, engineers or cowboys.

In recent years, as women have become an important part of the labor force, you may expect that the girl’s dolls will be primarily designed to take care of the careers of women who buy for their children. Instead, Sweet says, people have turned to fantasy characters, many of them becoming princesses and pop singers, and the action characters become superheroes.

Sweet says that while children like to play with princesses and superheroes, the characters are “adult ideas that children want.” They are “an exaggeration of masculinity and femininity”.


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