Gender Differences Toys and Messages

Gender Differences Toys and Messages Boys and girls are different. But you know that right. They look different physically – and that is even their brains. So why is it, that people are so adamant that they should be the same and what to ignore these differences? Yes I know that all girls want to play with dolls and all boys want to play with cars, but generally there are certain ways in which the genders can be observed to be different. In fact advertisers know all about these differences and they utilise them. For example even young children have a preference of how fast the camera angle is, and the tempo of the music for example. I am sorry I wanted to back this all up with research but I seem to have mislaid it.

Gender Differences Toys and MessagesI think people need to stop focusing on whether toys are seen to be for a boy or for a girl but to instead focus on the more important issue – what message is that toy giving them about their gender? If children see that dolls are for girls then surely that is the way the doll is being presented. Is it because they are pink? Rather than the fact that it is in a section labelled “girls toys.” But what about the doll – what is the message behind it? Does the message that the doll gives to the say that females have to stay at home and look after babies? Or does the doll come with a doctor’s set that says that females can go into medicine, and take care of babies?

Gender Differences Toys and MessagesGirls (generally) like stories. They like details. And I for one am glad to see the LEGO Friends range. Yes not every girl likes pink, and not every girl needs pink to say that LEGO is for them. But you know what some girls DO like pink (and some boys – it’s not even called LEGO girls is it!) I for one love the fact that there is LEGO in such pretty colours. And what about the messages it sends out to girls? Well take a look at Mia’s Roadster – which comes with just one female doll, who knows how to do everything with her car independently. She fixes it with her tools, checks the oil level (although I was disappointed that there’s not actually an engine, which is probably why the bonnet doesn’t lift up), fills it with fuel (although it doesn’t stay flat on the floor to do this) and cleans it. She doesn’t require assistance from anyone else. Maybe I am wrong but traditionally this kind of thing has been seen as a man’s role – so it is good to see things changing. Oh and it’s not that pink either – well more of a darker purplish pink – but still enough to appeal to my girlie side anyway.

What do you think about the messages that toys send out to the different genders?

You may also be interested in Gender Neutral dressing-up play with Fafu and Dolls designed to readdress stereotypes associated with boys.


This is not a sponsored post. I bought my own LEGO and my opinions are the result of a lot of Scientific Research whilst doing my dissertation for my first degree.

12 thoughts on “Gender Differences Toys and Messages”

  1. My 3 year old can’t read the signs that say girls toys or boys toys yet, and we have always given her the choice. She has dolls, dr’s bags, princess castles, lego and even a scalectrix. As parents we have never said, and never would say, that is for boys so you can’t have it. We let her choose what toys she wants to play with. When you ask her favourite colour it is always pink and I see nothing wrong with that – she has made her own decision on it, not had it pushed on her, so I suppose it follows that toys in pink will appeal to her more.

  2. It’s a tough one isn’t it. I LOVE LEGO friends, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest that the figure are different or that the predominant colours are on the girly side, I just think it’s great that some little girls out there who wouldn’t normally choose LEGO ( and would therefore miss out on its awesomeness ) now get that experience as part of their childhood. Those little girls who don’t need the girly encouragement have plenty of other sets to choose from.

    In our house the LEGO friends are mixed in with Star Wars, anything goes 🙂

  3. I just don’t think about it, to be honest. We let the kids decide what they want to play with, I don’t restrict them to certain shops or sections. Surveying the toys strewn around the front room floor at the moment, I’d say we’ve got a pretty good mix of just about everything, and it’s all played with by all three kids.

  4. When it was launched lego friends incited me to meet with them and some other bloggers and talked to us about the extensive researth they had done into why girls were not playing with traditional yellow…tryurns out they want ed characters with real faces not yellow ones, they wanted names, they wanted social play situations like workshops and cafes. Colour was low down on their list. Obvs their research really worked. it has been a huge success. I love that it gets my daughter building reading instructions and using her imagination.

  5. It seems a minefield, but isn’t it funny that children don’t care at all? They want a toy to be fun and exciting, not pink or blue. Amy for one couldn’t care less. She loves sparkly princess dresses one day and her tool box the other x

  6. My son is eight and wanted to buy a pink camel soft toy on our last holiday abroad (he had pocket money to spend). I was annoyed that his mum and auntie both said to him “But that’s for girls”. I told him he could buy anything he wanted, and not to listen to them – and he ended up choosing a blue camel. I was really annoyed he’d been shamed out of going for what he wanted. Younger children are free to choose as they like, but the gender stereotypes eventually sink in, or people make them feel that some things are for girls, and others are for boys. It’s really sad. But is it society, or the toy industry that’s more to blame?

    • See my boys have always had pink stuff if they want it, but sometimes it’s sad that it is not available in a colour other than pink. My youngest loves Frozen but doesn’t want pink and so much of it is (or they do the girls not in Pink and then Olaf in pink!) I am sure that there’s girls out there that would like the same product not in pink too. Anyway my son wanted a nerf rebel crossbow but yes it was the fact his friends would laugh that he didn’t have it. And he only wanted the pink one as it didn’t come in other colours.

  7. I think you’re right that it is absolutely about the way toys are presented. I love this new Lego approach and the doll with a medicine kit – which would normally be put together by switched on parents. My boys have an aversion to pink but the biggest bully in the eldest’s class loves it! It’s great that there’s a shift not to sterotype or gender divide – quite exciting really, but the biggest influence will be the parents 🙂


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