Applied Exercise: Consuming Gender

Greeting cards

The greeting cards have multiple colors depending on the intended customers. For example, Girls cards are pink; boy’s cards are blue and green. On the other hand, mom’s cards are white and pink, while dad’s cards are black, grey, and green. The cards use variety of ways to demonstrate gender and stereotyping. For example, the boy’s cards have animal, and car prints, while girls have Barbie themed prints. Additionaly, dads have pictures of cars, and movie or film characters, while mothers cards have flowers. Not all cards are people centered because the cards are animal, and fashion themed. Most of the cards are environmentally centered. The main pictures shown on girl’s cards are of Barbie doll, and flowers, while the pictures on boy’s cards include trucks, and bikes. Mother’s cards have flowers, while dad’s cards have cars and super heroes on them. The messages conveyed are designed along gender. It is also important to note that the messages are quite different and are mainly along socially constructed themes. For example, messages of beauty are written on the girl’s card, while messages of adventure are on the boy’s cards. The mom’s card has messages of love, while the father’s cards are messages of motivation and hard work (Hellendoorn, & Harinck, 1997, pp. 340–354).


The toys are marketed differently for boys and girls. The girls toys (Barbie) are mainly pink. I find the color pink to limit the girlhood as the boys have wider options while the girls are limited to pink (gender stratification and inequality) as the girls are given less options while boys have a wider option in terms of colors, toy types and sizes. This is gender inequality that limits the girl’s adventurous skills to physical attractiveness, nurturance, and domestic skills. Additionaly, the guns are marketed for boys because of the blue, green and yellow colors. Many toys are marketed to only boys such as trucks, and bikes, while flowers, plastic cooking toys, and Barbie dolls are marketed for girls (Alexander,&, Hines, 2002, pp. 467–479).


There personality characteristics promoted by different toys include strongly masculine toys for boys, while girls have feminine trait. These types train girls about their gender roles. For example, the toys bought for the girls stimulate pretend play of gender roles in the house, the girls are given toys that allow them to stay indoors, while the boys are given toys that make them adventurous. Boys’ toys are dangerous, violent and competitive. While the toys are gendered, I find it most awkward that the toy companies exploit gender stereotypes. I also realized that as children continue to play with toys, there are toys and stereotypes that tend to influence the children’s development and this is particularly from age two when children realized they are in a socialized world where duality (male, female/boys and girls) permeate all social institutions. This stick in the mind of the children as they grow up


Alexander, G, & Hines, M. (2002). Sex differences in response to children’s toys in nonhuman primates (Cercopithecusaethiops sabaeus). Evolution and Human Behavior, 23, 467–479.

Hellendoorn, J., & Harinck, H. (1997). War toy play and aggression in Dutch kindergarten children. Social Development, 6, 340–354


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