The Gender Marketing of Toys: An Analysis of Color and Type of Toy on the Disney Store Website
- 19k Downloads
The purpose of this study was to examine 1) the extent to which the gender marketing of toys on the Internet replicates findings of previous studies of the gendering of toys, and 2) the extent to which toys for “both boys and girls”, a previously overlooked category of toys, share characteristics, such as color and type of toy, with toys marketed for “boys only” or for “girls only”. The sample consisted of the 410 toys listed for boys and the 208 toys listed for girls, including 91 toys that appeared on both lists, on the English language U.S. Disney Store website. The marketing of toys on the Disney Store website is important not only because of the growth in e-commerce, but also because of this company’s global domination of the children’s entertainment industry. Tabular analysis and chi-square revealed that bold colored toys, predominantly red, black, brown, or gray toys, and those that were action figures, building toys, weapons, or small vehicles typified toys for “boys only” on this U.S. website. Pastel colored toys, predominantly pink or purple toys, and those that were dolls, beauty, cosmetics, jewelry, or domestic-oriented typified toys for “girls only”. A majority of toys for “both boys and girls” were mostly “gender-neutral” in type, but they resembled toys for “boys only” in terms of their color palette, presumably to appeal to boys, who are less likely to cross gender lines than girls. The potential impact of the gendering of toys on individuals as well as limitations of this research and suggestions for future research are discussed.
KeywordsGender Toys Socialization Children Disney
We would like to especially thank the editor, Irene Frieze, as well as anonymous reviewers for their valuable and insightful comments and suggestions.
- Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
- Bandura, A. (2002). Social cognitive theory of mass communication. In J. Bryant & D. Zillman (Eds.), Media effects: advances in theory and research (2nd ed., pp. 121–153). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Bell, E., Hass, L., & Sells, L. (Eds.). (1995). From mouse to mermaid: The politics of film, gender, and culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
- Clark, E. (2007). The real toy story: Inside the ruthless battle for America’s youngest consumers. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
- Corsaro, W. A. (1997). The sociology of childhood. Thousand Oak: Pine Forge.Google Scholar
- Davis, A. M. (2006). Good girls and wicked witches: Women in Disney’s feature animation. Eastleigh: John Libbey.Google Scholar
- Disney Store. (2010). Retrieved on July 9, 2010 from http://www.disneystore.com.
- Fishel, C. (2001). Designing for children: Marketing design that speaks to kids. Gloucester: Rockport Publishers, Inc.Google Scholar
- Gerbner, G., Gross, L., Morgan, M., & Signorielli, N. (1994). Growing up with television: The cultivation perspective. In J. Bryant & D. Zillman (Eds.), Media effects: Advances in theory and research (pp. 17–41). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Giroux, H. A. (1997). Are Disney movies good for your kids? In S. R. Steinberg & J. L. Kincheloe (Eds.), Kinderculture: The corporate construction of childhood (pp. 53–67). Boulder: Westview.Google Scholar
- Goldstein, J., Buckingham, D., & Brougere, G. (2004). Toys, games, and media. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Kline, S. (1993). Out of the garden: Toys, TV, and children’s culture in the age of marketing. Toronto: Garamond.Google Scholar
- Maglaty, J. (2011). When did girls start wearing pink? Retrieved from http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/When-Did-Girls-Start-Wearing-Pink.html.
- Neuendorf, K. A. (2002). The content analysis guidebook. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Orenstein, P. (2011). Cinderella ate my daughter. NY: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
- Pennell, G. E. (1994). Babes in toyland: Learning an ideology of gender. Advances in Consumer Research, 21, 359–364.Google Scholar
- Pew Research Center. (2010). Attention shoppers: Online product research. Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1747/e-shopping-researched-product-service-online.
- Ruble, D. N., Lurye, L. E., & Zosuls, K. M. (2007). Pink frilly dresses (PFD) and early gender identity. Princeton Report on Knowledge, 2. Retrieved from http://www.princeton.edu/prok/issues/2-2/pink_frilly.xml.
- Schor, J. B. (2004). Born to buy: The commercialized child and the new consumer culture. New York: Scribner.Google Scholar
- Seiter, E. (1993). Sold separately: Children and parents in consumer culture. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
- Steinberg, S. R., & Kincheloe, J. L. (1997). Kinderculture: The corporate construction of childhood. Boulder: Westview.Google Scholar
- Stern, S. L., & Schoenhaus, T. (1990). Toyland: The high-stakes game of the toy industry. Chicago: Contemporary Books.Google Scholar
- Thorne, B. (1993). Gender play: Girls and boys in school. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
- U. S. Census Bureau (2011). Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2012 (131st ed.). Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
- Wasko, J. (2001). Understanding Disney: The manufacture of fantasy. Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers, Inc.Google Scholar
- Wiersma, B. A. (2000). The gendered world of Disney: A content analysis of gender themes in full-length animated Disney feature films. Unpublished dissertation, South Dakota State University.Google Scholar
- Williams, C. L. (2006). Inside toyland: Working, shopping, and social inequality. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Wimmer, R. D., & Dominick, J. R. (2011). Mass media research: An introduction (9th ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth.Google Scholar