Even if you are not aware of gender policing and socialization, they are social processes that you have almost certainly been influenced by and taken part in. Our materials this week demonstrate the complex ways we learn to “do” gender as well as the many ways society polices our gender performances.
For this week’s discussion activity, visit a retail store either in person or online that sells toys, clothing, bedroom decor, toiletries, or greeting cards (birthday cards etc.) and observe how gender is constructed. You only need to choose one category or section of the store/website to observe. Submit a photo or screenshot of how the store or the webpage/app and the products themselves are marketed according to gender and discuss the following: (for this discussion write like you would if you were telling a friend about your observations.)
What are the gendered messages conveyed in merchandise marketed to children and adults?
Is merchandise is divided into ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ or ‘gender neutral’ categories?
What messages do the colors, textures, characters, or activities on packaging/ website images convey about gender?
Is there any evidence of pricing or packaging differences between “male” and “female” versions of a product?
Does anything in the area challenge traditional ideas of femininity or masculinity?
Anything else that seems important or interesting about the area/products/marketing and how it relates to creating gendered messages.
What are your initial reactions and opinions to your observations?
You might also want to include other information that supports your observations by discussing any of these that might apply:
How the products are staged such as graphics and photographs, aisle markers, height of shelving, signage or which products are highlighted or at the top of the webpage/app etc
The amount of space devoted to either gender (is one area larger/smaller etc)
Reactions from children or adults shopping in that area
How employees behave in that area
For your response, please take a look at the photo and discussion by one of your classmates that is in a different category/area than the one you observed and respond directly to their post with your reactions and reflections on what they have shared. You should also discuss the following based on what your classmate has shared:
How might the messages, images, and expectations presented contribute to gender socialization? (Remember gender socialization is a lifelong process so this applies to kids areas as well as adult although perhaps in different ways)
What gender rules do you think are conveyed by the products and marketing of this area?
Do you see evidence of gender policing and in what way?
Do you agree that the number one gender rule is to “do gender”? Why or why not? How do your observations from your own post and what was posted by your classmate support your opinion?
What are the gendered messages conveyed in merchandise marketed to children and adults? The gender messages conveyed in the merchandise market to children is that boys like action figures, shark boys, and Godzilla toys, and girls like dolls, playhouses, and princesses
Is merchandise is divided into ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ or ‘gender neutral’ category. Yes the merchandise is divided into boys and girls
What messages do the colors, textures, characters, or activities on packaging/ website images convey about gender? the messages conveyed for girls is that colors like pink, red, textures like little soft smiley toys, and characters like princesses, dog, teacups, dresses, and long beautiful hair. for boys, it was colored like dark grey, green, and no shiny light colors. textures like rough-ended toys with swords, and grin faces. characters like gremlins. warriors. soldiers, superheroes, wwe wrestlers, and cars.
Is there any evidence of pricing or packaging differences between “male” and “female” versions of a product? for the most part, it looks like the prices were about the same but for the gurls with the dollhouses teacups that come with it cost more than regular boy toys with just a soldier.
Does anything in the area challenge traditional ideas of femininity or masculinity? I did not see any area that challenges traditional ideas of femininity and masculinity mostly everything was traditional
Anything else that seems important or interesting about the area/products/marketing and how it relates to creating gendered messages. I thought it was interesting that right when I clicked on the boys part it asks me if I was shopping for boys and girls if that boy and girls count like the same toys
What are your initial reactions and opinions to your observations? My initial reactions and opinions are that boys and girls do like the same toys and that as a company you do not need to separate everything. Some girls might enjoy playing with cars or boys enjoy playing the dolls.
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