The Downfalls of Gender Specificity

Published: 2021-09-11 22:20:10
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The Downfalls of Gender Specificity
Since at least the turn of the century and the industrialization of America, there have been significant differences in the way male and female children were raised as well as what they played with. Not until the social revolution and retooling of the dynamics of American households was this issue addressed. The feminist movement drew more attention to this topic; however, it remained at the back of society's issues. Until recently, this topic has received little attention by the media, however, it is now quite often debated and discussed by people throughout the U.S. Many research groups have begun to conduct research on the effects of how gender specific products harm us psychologically and socially. Commonly argued as nature vs. nurture, people debate whether these products are purchased due to the way they are marketed, or is it the parents themselves that perpetuate these stereotypes. In addition, it is often debated weather these products are harmful or helpful; an argument of freedom vs. conformity. Those who are pro-gender specificity argue that it is a naturally ingrained instinct for males to fill the traditional role of breadwinner, wile also arguing that women also naturally drift towards being caregivers. On the other side of the fence, those who oppose gender specification, argue that these products do not allow people to express their individuality, with whom I agree. Gender specific products cause more harm than good, because of how they create barriers to developing a child's individuality.
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Some may argue that gender specific products don't limit a child's individuality, citing scientific studies, such as those conducted by City University whose results showed that, "[I]nfants showed a strong preference for the toys which were stereotypically representative of their own Gender"(Children). While it may be true that the infants did prefer toys that corresponded to their gender, it does not determine why. The reason that infants choose these toys is because even at such a young age they are already determining what other kids are playing with, an example of a natural instinct. Without outside influence, these children would have chosen evenly between the car and the doll. Since the day they were born, they were already being subjected to gender specific clothing, pink or blue. Parents, especially dads want their sons to grow up being "manly" this, in addition to it being the cultural norm, is why you don't see male infants playing with pink teddy bears and female infants playing with blue ones. At this age, with the inability to speak, or really control any aspect of their lives, they are already being show what is socially acceptable, that boys act like boys, and that girls act like girls. Therefore, the results of this experiment are skewed, not because of an error in the experiment itself, but because the scientists failed to recognize that even at such a young age, children are already being manipulated into choosing products based upon if they are socially acceptable for their gender. Furthermore, if the scientists used children who had not been surrounded by gender specific
products, they would see very different results.
Parents, however, are not all to blame. Toy companies are themselves to blame, at least as much as the parents are, if not more. In areas such as puzzles and board games,
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males and females are quite close, but, in most categories, the data is polarized, males either dominating or females from a technological standpoint, males and females are quite similar as well, but in every other non-electronic or board game based category, that was far from the truth. (Morrison). This is because of the way toys are marketed to children. Very rarely do you see girls in commercials for trading cards, nor do you see very many arts and crafts marketed towards males. While I recognize that this is simply a marketing strategy, very few companies have even attempted to sell their products to the opposite sex and those that do have it all wrong. Instead of making a pink power ranger, or a pink baseball bat to try to sell to females,

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