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The Truth About Girls and BoysChallenging Toxic Stereotypes About Our Children$
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Caryl Rivers and Rosalind Barnett

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231151634

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231151634.001.0001

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Toy Choice

Toy Choice

(p.91) 6 Toy Choice
The Truth About Girls and Boys

Caryl Rivers

Rosalind C. Barnett

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the idea that girls “naturally” rush to play with dolls and tea sets, while boys head for the guns and trucks. One study, involving a rhinestone gun and spiky tea set, has proven that even when children are presented with gender-typed objects, they are more likely to think about what “boy stuff” and “girl stuff” looks like when choosing a toy to play with, rather than base their decisions on any innate qualities of the objects themselves. These choices reflect the preferences of advertisers more than any basic gender differences, a clear display of the power of marketing. The chapter cites Dora the Explorer as an example of a gender neutral product, something that appeals to both sexes and utilizes the multiple intelligences theory instead of using gender as a premise for the character.

Keywords:   gender-typed objects, boy stuff, girl stuff, rhinestone gun, spiky tea set, marketing, Dora the Explorer, multiple intelligences theory

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