Advertisement

Sex Roles

, Volume 23, Issue 5–6, pp 291–303 | Cite as

Adult sex typing of children's toys

  • Donna Fisher-Thompson
Article

Abstract

A primary focus of this study was to determine whether adults use traditional sex-type standards when choosing toys for boys or girls. I also investigated whether an adult's sex or gender role influences this decision. College students were shown pictures of 74 toys, and were asked to indicate whether they would buy each toy for a boy or girl. Traditional sex-type ratings were found. In addition, male subjects sex-typed toys to a greater extent than female subjects. Subjects' gender role was unrelated to sex-type ratings. Subjects also judged whether each toy provided educational value, required activity, and encouraged cooperation. Toys rated as requiring activity were not considered educational, but many toys considered educational were also rated as encouraging cooperation. In addition, toys considered masculine were rated as requiring more activity than feminine toys.

Keywords

College Student Social Psychology Gender Role Male Subject Female Subject 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bem, S. L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 155–162.Google Scholar
  2. Bem, S. L. (1975). Sex role adaptability: One consequence of psychological androgyny. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31, 634–643.Google Scholar
  3. Bem, S. L. (1985). Androgyny and gender schema theory: A conceptual and empirical integration. In T. B. Sonderegger (Ed.), Nebraska symposium of motivation: Psychology and gender. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bradbard, M. R. (1985). Sex differences in adults' gifts and children's toy requests at Christmas. Psychological Reports, 56, 969–970.Google Scholar
  5. Bradbard, M. R., & Parkman, S. A. (1984). Gender differences in preschool children's toy requests. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 145, 283–285.Google Scholar
  6. Caldera, Y. M., Huston, A. C., & O'Brien, M. (1989). Social interactions and play patterns of parents and toddlers with feminine, masculine, and neutral toys. Child Development, 60, 70–76.Google Scholar
  7. Carter, D. B., & Levy, G. D. (1988). Cognitive aspects of early sex-role development: The influence of gender schemas on preschoolers' memories and preferences for sex-typed toys and activities. Child Development, 59, 782–792.Google Scholar
  8. Downs, A. C. (1983). Letters to Santa Claus: Elementary school-age children's sex-typed toy preferences in a natural setting. Sex Roles, 9, 159–163.Google Scholar
  9. Eaton, W. O., Von Bargen, D., & Keats, J. G. (1981). Gender understanding and dimensions of preschooler toy choice: Sex stereotypes versus activity level. Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, 13, 203–209.Google Scholar
  10. Fagot, B. I. (1974). Sex differences in toddlers' behavior and parental reaction. Developmental Psychology, 10, 554–558.Google Scholar
  11. Fagot, B. I. (1978). The influence of sex of child on parental reactions to toddler children. Child Development, 49, 459–465.Google Scholar
  12. Fagot, B. I., & Leinbach, M. D. (1989). The young child's gender schema: Environmental input, internal orgnaization. Child Development, 60, 663–672.Google Scholar
  13. Fisher-Thompson, D. (1989). Christmas shopping for children: Predictors of adult toy selection. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  14. Huston, A. C. (1983). Sex typing. In P. H. Mussen & E. M. Hetherington (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 4. Socialization, personality, and social development (4th ed.). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  15. Jacklin, C. N., DiPietro, J. A., & Maccoby, E. E. (1984). Sex-typing behavior and sex-typing pressure in child/parent interaction. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 13, 413–425.Google Scholar
  16. Langlois, J. H., & Downs, A. C. (1980). Mothers, fathers, and peers as socialization agents of sex-typed play behavior in young children. Child Development, 51, 1217–1247.Google Scholar
  17. Liss, M. B. (1983). Learning gender-related skills through play. In M. B. Liss (Ed.), Social and cognitive skills: Sex roles and children's play. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  18. Maccoby, E. E., & Jacklin, C. N. (1974). The psychology of sex differences. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Masters, J. C., & Wilkinson, A. (1976). Consensual and discriminative stereotypy of sex-type judgments by parents and children. Child Development, 47, 208–217.Google Scholar
  20. Miller, C. L. (1987). Qualitative differences among gender-stereotyped toys: Implications for cognitive and social development in girls and boys. Sex Roles, 16, 437–487.Google Scholar
  21. O'Brien, M., & Huston, A. C. (1985). Development of sex-typed play behavior in toddlers. Developmental Psychology, 21, 866–871.Google Scholar
  22. O'Brien, M., & Huston, A. C. (1986). Activity level and sex-stereotyped toy choice in toddler boys and girls. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 146, 527–528.Google Scholar
  23. O'Brien, M., Huston, A. C., & Risley, T. R. (1983). Sex-typed play of toddlers in a day care center. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 4, 1–9.Google Scholar
  24. Peretti, P. O., & Sydney, T. M. (1984). Parental toy choice stereotyping and its effects on child toy preference and sex-role typing. Social Behavior and Personality, 12, 213–216.Google Scholar
  25. Rheingold, H. L., & Cook, D. V. (1975). The content of boys' and girls' rooms as an index of parents' behavior. Child Development, 46, 459–463.Google Scholar
  26. Richardson, J. G., & Simpson, C. H. (1982). Children, gender, and social structure: An analysis of the contents of letters to Santa Claus. Child Development, 53, 429–436.Google Scholar
  27. Robinson, C. C., & Morris, J. T. (1986). The gender-stereotyped nature of Christmas toys received by 36-, 48-, and 60-month-old children: A comparison between nonrequested vs. requested toys. Sex Roles, 15, 21–32.Google Scholar
  28. Roopnarine, J. L. (1986). Mothers' and fathers' behavior toward the toy play of their infant sons and daughters. Sex Roles, 14, 59–68.Google Scholar
  29. Rubin, J. Z., Provenzano, F. J., & Luria, Z. (1974). The eye of the beholder: Parents' views on sex of newborns. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 44, 512–519.Google Scholar
  30. Schau, C. G., Kahn, L., Diepold, J. H., & Cherry, F. (1980). The relationships of parental expectations and preschool children's verbal sex typing to their sex-typed toy behavior. Child Development, 51, 266–277.Google Scholar
  31. Schmitt, B. H., Leclerc, F., & Dube-Rioux, L. (1988). Sex typing and consumer behavior: A test of gender schema theory. Journal of Consumer Research, 15, 122–128.Google Scholar
  32. Serbin, L. A., & Conner, J. M. (1979). Sex-typing children's play preferences and patterns of cognitive performance. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 134, 315–316.Google Scholar
  33. Smith, P. K., & Daglish, L. (1977). Sex differences in parent and infant behavior in the home. Child Development, 48, 1250–1254.Google Scholar
  34. Snow, M. E., Jacklin, C. N., & Maccoby, E. E. (1983). Sex-of-child differences in father-child interaction at one year of age. Child Development, 54, 227–232.Google Scholar
  35. Sprafkin, C., Serbin, L. A., Denier, C., & Conner, J. M. (1983). Sex-differentiated play: Cognitive consequences and early interventions. In M. B. Liss (Ed.), Social and cognitive skills: Sex roles and children's play. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  36. Tauber, M. A. (1979). Sex differences in parent-child interaction styles during a free-play session. Child Development, 50, 981–988.Google Scholar
  37. Tavris, C., & Wade, C. (1984). The longest war: Sex differences in perspective. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.Google Scholar
  38. Thompson, D. F., Molison, K. L., & Elliott, M. (1988, April), Adult selection of children's toys. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Buffalo, NY.Google Scholar
  39. Weinraub, M., Clemens, L. P., Sockloff, A., Ethridge, T., Gracely, E., & Myers, B. (1984). The development of sex role stereotypes in the third year: Relationships to gender labeling, gender identity, sex-typed toy preference, and family characteristics. Child Development, 55, 1493–1503.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donna Fisher-Thompson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNiagara University

Personalised recommendations