For this assignment, I would like you to go out to a store (or two) and observe some of what our consumer culture
offers children for playing with or wearing. You may choose to window shop online as a COVID alternative (if you’re trying to minimize your time spent in stores). Whether you decide to go out into the real world or do a virtual tour of our consumer culture, you will need to pick a store, check out the children’s department, and record your observations on either (or both) clothing or toys. Please take notes on the differences between products designed for and marketed toward girls and those for boys.
you choose to look at the clothing or top aspect of children’s consumer
culture, please use the reflection paper to describe what you see
(what’s your empirical evidence), what you think that says about how
we’re socialized into our gender identities, and then the potential
consequences for understanding the gendered expectations we/others have
for our behaviors/interests/adult lives.
Start with the infants’ clothes and then look for each age group
(toddlers, preschoolers, elementary school age). Is there a difference
between “girls’ clothes” and boys’ clothes?”
(Note the differences in style, color, and texture of boys’ versus girls’ clothes.)
Now look at clothes/stores for preteens and teenagers. How do
clothing styles and materials differ along gender lines at this age
For each age group, think about why these gender differences exist.
What do these differences say about the kinds of social activities in which boys and girls are expected/encouraged to engage?
Can you detect a boys’ section and girls’ section? How can you tell?
How do the toys differ?
What sorts of interactions with other children do the toys encourage?
Which toys are designed for active play?
Which seem to encourage passive play?
For what sorts of adult roles do the toys prepare children? Specific examples?