Leo-Rhynie, Elsa A.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Girls' toys, boys' toys: Forming gender identity
Caribbean journal of education
Date of Publication
The extent to which toys could be a factor in forming and perpetuating gender stereotypes in Jamaica is assessed. The vital importance of 'male' and 'female' toys and other play materials in learning gender roles and developing gender identity is examined. Data are obtained from (1) a survey of toys in a sample of well-known toy stores and an assessment of these using specific criteria, and (2) interviews with purchasers of toys, and with children in toy stores. Results point to a clear distinction between toys for boys and those for girls, with the distinction reinforcing traditional stereotypes of male and female activity. Children become aware of these differences while still very young. Women, the major purchasers of these toys, rarely purchase 'boys' toys' for girls, and never purchase 'girls' toys' for boys. Children tend to select toys 'appropriate' for their sex, and boys especially reject the idea of playing with toys considered sex-inappropriate. Implications for children's development of gender identities are discussed.....