Buying Gender

People ignore gendered things they see whenever they go to the store without even meaning to. These are a few examples of what you may see.

Cute or Heroic?

Baby clothes could easily be non-gendered, but parents want to show off whether they have a boy or girl. Instead of just choosing colors that are usually seen as boy or girl colors, they reinforce other gender stereotypes through something as simple as baby clothes. Boys are portrayed to be heroes, and they have to be strong. Girls have to be princesses and cute, all while letting the boys protect them.

Degree of Gender

Deodorant companies like to say that men and women need different deodorant because of biological differences. This isn’t really true, women don’t have softer or more delicate skin than men or anything of the sort naturally. Along with these claimed differences, women’s deodorant tends to be weaker than men’s and has to be applied more often when they are being active, even if it is the same amount of activity as men. The scents are made to be recognizable as male or female, further gendering a product that could be neutral.

Always the Hero

If a person or character is shown on a video game cover, it is often a male. Most games have male characters as the primary character, with females being supporting characters. A lot of games allow customization, but that was a more recent development in video games, and often times the people who play female characters identify as men. Men are often shown as the saviors. Girl gamers are seen as a rarity because video games are so male dominated. Women can enjoy games just as much as men, but it has been socialized that it is a more male thing to do.

Playing with Gender

One way that children are socialized as their gender is dependent on the toys they play with. This of course is dependent on the toys that they are allowed to play with. They chose to separate the toys meant for boys from the ones meant for girls. The types of toys that boys are expected to play with include cars, superheros, and dinosaurs as seen on the left. The toys girls are supposed to play with are shown on the right and include dolls, stuffed animals, and model kitchens.

Gendered Lunches

Originally I hadn’t even thought about how lunch boxes or cups may be gendered. I had idea for most of the other pictures, but this one surprised me when I was just passing by it. There is no reason that a cup or lunchbox needs to be gendered. The only reason would be that the children already ascribe to their gender and would want a certain character from a movie or show over another. Another possibility is that the parents bought it for them on the basis of their gender instead of their interests. I never had a lunchbox growing up that was overtly masculine, it was neutral, and I was fine with that.

3 thoughts on “Buying Gender”

  • Very interesting! Your essay really highlights how color controls gender! You don’t really think about it, but companies have a huge part in creating gender norms. I loved your essay!

  • I appreciate how you included the video games in your blog. It is commonly thought that boys are only supposed to play video games, and I believe the nature of how video games are created reflect this notion. Girls like to play games too!!

  • I liked how you took a picture of the isle of the boys and girls toys. Just by looking at the picture, you can see a considerable amount of differences between which section is whose. The boys having more of a blue toned color in their toy packaging, and the girls having more of a pink packing in theirs. Having a picture like that really captures stores and how they do gender!

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