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Gender Socialization of Children


Gender refers to behaviors, mindset, and feelings associated with one being male or female. The tendency of using pink hat for a baby girl and blue hat for a baby boy leads to children learning their roles with respect to gender. Once children are born, their parents play a major role in molding them according to gender. It has been proved that a child is able to learn about its gender as early as when it is one year old and can be able to distinguish sexes at the age of two or three years. Generally, children learn about their gender through the kind of clothes they put on as well as the toys they play with. Once the children are able to identify their sex, they start associating themselves with certain categories of toys and clothes.

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Patterns in clothing and toys stocking in store

On visiting various stores that sell baby toys, it was possible to identify different categories of toys. The stores stocked their toys based on the gender. Toys attributed to girls were organized separately from those attributed to boys. In girls section one could find varied toys colored pink ranging from dresses made from different designs. There were also a lot of household toys such as tea sets, cups, plates as well as Barbies. The boys’ section was one of the areas that were easy to recognize. The section was staffed with toys that made loud noises ranging from fake guns and beeps. Engine sounds could also be heard from all corners within the section.

From using various toys and clothing during their life, children learn different issues pertaining to gender. Most of them believe that by using various toys or wearing certain clothes they violate gender norms. For instance a boy who tends to play with toys attributed to girls is reprimanded by his friends while girls do not entertain their fellow girls who tend to wear clothes attributed to boys. From the kind of toys and clothes these children wear, their character is also greatly influenced. By girls playing mostly with domestic toys such as kitchens and dresses, they tend to develop a passive character. Most of the girls become very humble and submissive. They give great value to looking gorgeous as well as developing household skills. To the contrary, Boys who play with toys such as fake guns, tractors as well as action packed games tend to be very radical and hostile. It has also been found that, through boys using various toys that are linked with mathematics and science; they have been able to develop great skills in these fields. Most boys have been seen to do well in areas pertaining spatial abilities and mathematics (Serbin & Connor 315- 316).

What clothes and toys teach children about gender

Through various toys such as doll sets, girls are able to learn that their roles revolve around domestic chores. They learn that it is the responsibility of females to look after their young ones and to attend to household jobs. Various toys contain some descriptions on their packages which helps the children know of their roles. Most of the girls’ toys attach a lot of value to appearance for one to be accepted in society. Through these girls learn how to keep themselves stunning to be acknowledged in the society (Singleton PP. 1&2).

By playing with Barbie dolls, most of young girls develop interest in attaining small hips and flat tummies. They also desire for clothes designed as those worn by these dolls. Eventually, it leads to them adopting various practices in an attempt to achieve a body type that resembles that of the Barbie. They start admiring grown up ladies. This is because the Barbie is designed to have the features of a woman. In the attempt to resemble the Barbie, the young girls end up coming up with ways to make them look as if they are grown ups. With boys using toy guns, most of them develop the interest of playing and acting like soldiers. This eventually leads to most of them developing an interest of serving in the military. This implies that various toys arouse different interests to children depending on their gender.

It is possible to distinguish people according to their gender depending on the kind of activities they most prefer to engage in. Toys and clothes best distinguish between a boy and a girl. There are those clothes and toys that are specifically attributed to boys and vice versa. According to Warren (Par. 7-11), a child born and its gender not being made public can be identified by the kind of toys or clothes it prefers to ware. No matter how one tries to hind its gender, its selection of toys and clothes will eventually declare its gender.

Toys that are gender neutral

Some of the toys that are gender neutral include blocks, board games and cards. Most of these toys are aimed at entertaining as well as educating children. Due to the society attributing different toys to specific gender, boys and girls become restricted to their genders. They are not given an opportunity to discover other roles that are outside their genders. This also has played a role in creating a difference in matters to do with cognitive and collective skills between the genders. Girls loose personal identity making them unable of developing whereas boys are given opportunity to pursue their dreams to their best (Starr Par. 1-6).

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Gender alignment through toys and clothes encourages conventional gender roles. Most of the parents do not understand the effects of the toys they buy for their children. There is great need for parents to know of the consequences of the toys they buy to their children. They should also encourage games that are gender unbiased as early as possible for their children to grow to respect all genders.


Serbin & Connor. “Sex-typing of children’s play preferences and patterns of cognitive performance.” The Journal of Genetic Psychology 134 (1979): 315-316.

Singleton, Karen. “Educational Toys For Girls And Boys – Is There A Difference?” 2009. Web.

Starr, Denise. “How Toys Teach Children Stereotypical Gender Roles: A Look Inside a Local Toy Store.” 1999. Web.

Warren, L. “Beyond Barbie’s Influence on Girls’ Self-Image”, 2007. Web.

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