Toys play a major role in shaping males and females into specific gender roles. Children are given gender related toys before they are even born and are taught what colors are acceptable for their gender at an early age. Children’s nurseries are painted gender specific colors and filled with gender specific toys prior to children being born. Once the children are brought home they are showered in gifts specific to their gender.
Boys’ rooms are painted blue and covered in sports decor. Their pacifiers are blue or shaped like footballs. Boys are dressed in pants, t-shirts, and baseball caps. As they become older they are given G.I. Joe “action figures”, Legos, Nerf guns, and toy cars. They are placed in competitive contact sports early on. When the male children do not display dominance in a sport or the correct form they are told they “play like a girl”. On the other hand, growing up, if i fought with another boy people simply stated “boys will be boys.” Parents, family members, and other alloparents discourage crying and displaying pain. Another difference come in the form of compliments people give to males. People compliment boys with words like handsome and strong.
Girls’ nurseries are often plastered with pink and feature soft whimsical decorations. Female babies are handled delicately and with extreme care. They are dressed in dresses and frilly socks with shoes with straps and bonnets with embroidered flowers. Girls are expected to play well with each other and share while displaying nurturing attributes. Girls are given EZ Bake Ovens, Barbies, kitchen play sets, and baby dolls. The place in the store where these toys are found even have pink back splashes on the shelves. Female children are encouraged to try activities like tap dancing, ballet, gymnastics, beauty pageants and cheerleading. Girls are consoled if they appear sad or discouraged. Females are frequently told that they are pretty and helpful.
These differences make males feel like their role in life is to be the soldier, protector, and aggressor. The toys, color schemes, and people’s attitudes towards males instills a rigid toughness in men. Vice versa the toys, color schemes, and people’s attitudes towards females instills a soft, caring, and nurturing quality in women. Developmental patterns of gender typing lead to males and females embracing their gender role. These examples of contrasts during the early years of childhood affect child development and lead to gender differences.