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Are Boys Socialized Different Than Girls?

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Are boys socialized differently than girls? The answer is yes. Gender is a social construct; gender socialization begins the moment a child is born, the way children are spoken to, touched, and played with; all which establish societal norms and expectations, thus socializing children from birth. Societal expectations influence the way parents raise their children. These societal influences are the leading cause relating to gender specific stereotypes. Boys predominantly play with trucks, soldiers, and tools and girls play with dolls, and kitchen sets. From greeting cards to toys, through marketing and advertising, stereotypical societal behaviors are encouraged on a daily basis.

Overview of the Problem

In conducting my field research, I frequented two stores that Parents most utilize for their children's toys and greeting card purchases; Wal-Mart and Toys R US. I also went a little further with investigating; AmericanGreetings.com, Walmart.com, and Toysrus.com. I furthered my research as to discover if there were any differences between "click" and "brick", mortar vs. online purchasing. The following is a list of my observations in which boys are culturally encouraged to behave differently than girls.

1. Greeting cards for boys; specifically colored in blue, displaying drawings or pictures identifying sports activities, i.e. baseball, football. Others display action figures, i.e. Spiderman, Ben 10. In addition, cards for the pre-teen boys with animation reflecting various different sociably accepted career choices for males, i.e. fireman, police officer, doctor.

2. Greeting cards for girls; specifically colored in Pink and Purples. Displaying drawings or pictures with teddy bears, pretty baby dolls, and pretty dresses. In addition, I viewed pre

teen girl's cards with art work which displayed two or more young girls on the cover with lipstick, and purses, one with a cell phone, and note pad for making a hair appointment and nail appointment for her birthday gifts.

3. Interestingly enough, I did find in viewing Americangreetings.com the gender difference was not as extreme. There were several cards that could be purchased either for a girl or boy. Most unisex cards displayed TV characters such as "Blue's Clues" or "SpongeBob", neither of which I find gender specific.

4. Toys R Us; in roaming the isles very slowly, I took notice to the complete separation of products within the store layout. On one side of the store, every row consisted of toys just for boys. The opposite side of the store, every row consisted of toys just for girls, a complete separation. In the middle of the store, is a carpeted section, with lower unit shelves, which I would refer to as the gender neutral section? This was the only section that contained items that were not specific to either gender, such as; crayons and coloring books, reading books, and play dough, etc. However, the products, even though together, shared various different themes directed at both genders. For example, my little pony color books for girls and Spiderman for boys.

5. Wal-Mart; in walking the toy section, of course there was not a large variety compared to toy r us, but there was the division of toys throughout the shelves based on gender difference as well. Both boys and girls toys were separated.

6. I took notice in both stores as to the images, signage, either on the shelf, or on the product packing of various toys. Small photos



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