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The toy salesperson: A voice for change in sex-role stereotypes?

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A field experiment was designed in which students approached sales personnel in 31 different retail settings, asking for help in selecting toys for a twin niece and nephew, 5 years of age. A majority of salesperson suggestions involved a sex-stereotypic selection of toys for both the male and the female child. Limited support was found for hypotheses that the responses of sales personnel would vary by retail setting (specialized toystore, department store, dimestore/discount store) and by sex of salesperson; responses did not vary by salesperson's age, however. Because more different toys are available for boys than for girls, female role expansion in children's play activities is a more likely outcome than sex-role convergence.

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Kutner, N.G., Levinson, R.M. The toy salesperson: A voice for change in sex-role stereotypes?. Sex Roles 4, 1–7 (1978).

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