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The Gender Marketing of Toys: An Analysis of Color and Type of Toy on the Disney Store Website

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Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to especially thank the editor, Irene Frieze, as well as anonymous reviewers for their valuable and insightful comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Carol J. Auster.

Appendix

Appendix

Table 6 Examples of types of toys

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Auster, C.J., Mansbach, C.S. The Gender Marketing of Toys: An Analysis of Color and Type of Toy on the Disney Store Website. Sex Roles 67, 375–388 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-012-0177-8

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