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Why do all of the girls have to buy pink stuff?

Confronting and Creating Culture
by

Erin Gardner

on 6 September 2013

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Transcript of Why do all of the girls have to buy pink stuff?

Why do all of the girls have to buy pink stuff?
Gender marketing to youth.
cul·ture 
 [kuhl-cher] verb, cul·tured, cul·tur·ing.
noun
1. the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.
2. that which is excellent in the arts, manners, etc.
3. a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period: Greek culture.
4. development or improvement of the mind by education or training.
5.
the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group: the youth culture; the drug culture.
Gender Role. (2004). In Encyclopedia of Women's Health. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/sprwh/gender_role
"Gender Role Interviews" source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VqsbvG40Ww
Ginsburg, K. R., and the Committee on, C., and the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of, C., & Family, H. (2007). The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds. Pediatrics, 119(1), 182-191.
Meg Barker & Robbie Duschinsky, (2012) Sexualisation's four faces: sexualisation and gender stereotyping in the Bailey Review. Gender and Education 24:3, pages 303-310.
"Riley on Marketing" source : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CU040Hqbas
"Toy Ads and Learning Gender" source : http://www.feministfrequency.com/
Works Cited
Female Gender Roles:
Domestic provider.
Cooking.
Cleaning.
Primary caregiver.
Appearance is important.
Feminine.
Put together.
Emotional problem solving.
Male Gender Roles:
Financial provider.
Emotionally distant.
Dominant social interactions.
Problem solving skills,
Builders.
Designers.
Physical problem solving.
Common American Gender Roles
How does culture relate to gender?
What does it do?
What is culture?
Culture gives importance to activities,
titles, or tasks within a community. It is often the values of a group, which in turn helps to shape the behaviors and expectations within the group.
Some expectations created by a society
can relate specifically to ones gender. These are called Gender roles
When culture dictates expectations based on gender, it is referred to as a gender role.
According to the Encyclopedia of Women's Health (2004) a gender role is:

Sex-based categories that specify appropriate rules of conduct for males and females in a particular culture or society. Although grounded in biological differences between males and females, gender roles are social constructs.
In American culture, the "gender role" is largely believed to have been removed from a child's learning environment; but with play still being the most integral part of early childhood development the gender role has proven to be both large and in charge.
According to American Academy of Pediatrics (2007)
What's so important about playing?
What does play develop?
Stringing beads together helps
develop fine motor skills.
Simon Says helps develop gross motor skills and understanding of consequences.
Playing pretend helps develop problem solving skills and social skills.
Why do the boys have to buy different colored stuff?
Puzzles assist with spatial reasoning and problem solving.
Shape toys help develop spatial reasoning and problem solving.
What is appropriate for one child is not always appropriate for every child. One toy may be too advanced for their development, while another may be too simple. A ten year old is not going to find a stack of blocks as interesting or challenging as a container of Legos.
Age appropriate toys:
For children below the age of one years old it is recommended that they play with items like:
Mobiles - to stimulate visual tracking.
Rattles - sensory integration.
Simple toys with high contrast to improve visual associations.

Who gendered these?
Rattles are an excellent sensory toy for young children; they can hear them, feel the weight in their hand, and are able to track their movement with their eyes.
Why couldn't a female child just as easily enjoy hammerin' or being busy?
Their purpose requires absolutely no gender.
Why is it important to indicate how important fashion is to an infant? Why does this girl have to be sweet? Can't a boy want a diamond ring?
But how do they already know what the expected gender roles are?
Who noticed?
We showed them.
Girls sit demurely.
Girls wear skirts or dresses.
Boys have adventure.
Boys do science and build.
Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them. Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes in conjunction with other children or adult caregivers. As they master their world, play helps children develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges. Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills. When play is allowed to be child driven, children practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue.

Ideally, much of play involves adults, but when play is controlled by adults, children acquiesce to adult rules and concerns and lose some of the benefits play offers them, particularly in developing creativity, leadership, and group skills.
Also, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (2007)
Let's look at this again.
Hair accessories.
Sparkly wings.
"Look at how pretty my wings are!"
"Powerful alone. Unstoppable together."
Encourages action and adventure.
Encourages physical intervention.
The reality is that we expose our own children to who they should be at a very young age. A girl wearing pink or playing with dolls isn't harmful. A boy wearing all blue and having a war with small soldier figurines isn't harmful either. That's a part of developing as a person at that age. What is harmful is telling these children that this is who they have to be. Exposing your child to different ways of play is healthy, and allows them to be feel comfortable in those roles as their life continues. A boy playing with a doll encourages them to care for something. A girl playing with a toy tool set encourages her to build. Children all build with the materials and opportunities we provide them. Don't let a culture of gender stereotyping prevent a child from the person they could be.
That seems fairly harmless...
Let's be honest here, kids are kids. They want to play with what they want to play with, or what their friends want to play with. So, how realistic is this? In truth, very. If you expose a child at a young age to gender neutral toys they have more opportunities to grow as a person. Early childhood (ages 0-5) is an integral part of a person's life. A child who is more comfortable in all aspects of play is going to be more comfortable exercising those choices as they get older. So, if that person decides that as a female they want to play with dolls and be a princess when they grow up? That's fine, but the skills they developed from building with blocks will help them in math. That male child wants to shoot stuff with his cowboy gun and be a doctor? Awesome, making jewelry out of beads will help him establish pattern recognition and develop manual dexterity.
What does a "gender neutral" toy even look like?
Gender neutral doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't have an intended audience. It means allowing your child to be that audience, and letting them decide what it will be for them.
Because, they notice.
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