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Right Gift for Kids


When it comes to buying gifts for children, everything is color-coded: Rigid boundaries segregate brawny blue action figures from pretty pink princesses, and most assume that this is how it’s always been. But in fact, the princess role that’s ubiquitous in girls’ toys today was exceedingly rare prior to the 1990s—and the marketing of toys is more gendered now than even 50 years ago, when gender discrimination and sexism were the norm.

In my research on toy advertisements, I found that even when gendered marketing was most pronounced in the 20th century, roughly half of toys were still being advertised in a gender-neutral manner. This is a stark difference from what we see today, as businesses categorize toys in a way that more narrowly forces kids into boxes. For example, a recent study by sociologists Carol Auster and Claire Mansbach found that all toys sold on the Disney Store’s website were explicitly categorized as being “for boys” or “for girls”—there was no “for boys and girls” option, even though a handful of toys could be found on both lists.

That is not to say that toys of the past weren’t deeply infused with gender stereotypes. Toys for girls from the 1920s to the 1960s focused heavily on domesticity and nurturing. For example, a 1925 Sears ad for a toy broom-and-mop set proclaimed: “Mothers! Here is a real practical toy for little girls. Every little girl likes to play house, to sweep, and to do mother’s work for her”:
An ad from a 1925 Sears catalog (Sears)

Such toys were clearly designed to prepare young girls to a life of homemaking, and domestic tasks were portrayed as innately enjoyable for women. Ads like this were still common, though less prevalent, into the 1960s—a budding housewife would have felt right at home with the toys to “delight the little homemaker” in the 1965 Sears Wishbook:
An ad from the 1965 Sears Wishbook (Sears)

While girls’ toys focused on domesticity, toys for boys from the ’20s through the ’60s emphasized preparation for working in the industrial economy. For example, a 1925 Sears ad for an Erector Set stated, “Every boy likes to tinker around and try to build things. With an Erector Set he can satisfy this inclination and gain mental development without apparent effort. … He will learn the fundamentals of engineering”:
An ad from a 1925 Sears catalog (Sears)

However, gender-coded toy advertisements like these declined markedly in the early 1970s. By then, there were many more women in the labor force and, after the Baby Boom, marriage and fertility rates had dropped. In the wake of those demographic shifts and at the height of feminism’s second-wave, playing upon gender stereotypes to sell toys had become a risky strategy. In the Sears catalog ads from 1975, less than 2 percent of toys were explicitly marketed to either boys or girls. More importantly, there were many ads in the ‘70s that actively challenged gender stereotypes—boys were shown playing with domestic toys and girls were shown building and enacting stereotypically masculine roles such as doctor, carpenter, and scientist:
In the 1970s, Sears catalogues had a higher proportion of gender-neutral advertisements. (Sears)

Although gender inequality in the adult world continued to diminish between the 1970s and 1990s, the de-gendering trend in toys was short-lived. In 1984, the deregulation of children’s television programming suddenly freed toy companies to create program-length advertisements for their products, and gender became an increasingly important differentiator of these shows and the toys advertised alongside them. During the 1980s, gender-neutral advertising receded, and by 1995, gendered toys made up roughly half of the Sears catalog’s offerings—the same proportion as during the interwar years.

However, late-century marketing relied less on explicit sexism and more on implicit gender cues, such as color, and new fantasy-based gender roles like the beautiful princess or the muscle-bound action hero. These roles were still built upon regressive gender stereotypes—they portrayed a powerful, skill-oriented masculinity and a passive, relational femininity—that were obscured with bright new packaging. In essence, the “little homemaker” of the 1950s had become the “little princess” we see today.

It doesn’t have to be this way. While gender is what’s traditionally used to sort target markets, the toy industry (which is largely run by men) could categorize its customers in a number of other ways—in terms of age and interest, for example. (This could arguably broaden the consumer base.) However, the reliance on gender categorization comes from the top: I found no evidence that the trends of the past 40 years are the result of consumer demand. That said, the late-20th-century increase in the percentage of Americans who believe in gender differences suggests that the public wasn’t exactly rejecting gendered toys, either.

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What Toys Did Caveman Kids Play With To Pass The Time

Back in the days, when home was a cave stuck on the face of a cliff.

Kids, babies, cubs, kittens or whatever you like to call the offspring, all have one thing in common. They love to play. So I think we can safely assume that caveman kids played. But with what did they play with.

What amused the minds of our ancestor’s kids. When they were lying around the fire after a hard day learning about staying alive. We are still trying to work out the minor details of the past lives of children of prehistory, but we can dream.

Anyway, were the first jigsaw puzzles just leaves that had been ripped up into little pieces so the little ones could put them back together. Was this a teaching aid so the kids could learn which plants were safe to eat. We will possible never know but it is good to ponder.

Back in prehistory, before houses and cars and TVs, video games and all the modern gadgets that we have nowadays. What toys did caveman kids play with, when daddy was out hunting the mighty mammoth or giant sloth. And mommy was gathering vegetables and herbs and grasses and whatever else they ate back then.

Anyway many artifacts have been dug up, mostly bone and rock carving of people and wild animals. Beautiful carvings, something to be really proud of. Don’t you think that maybe, just maybe, it might have been made by a dotting daddy for his little son.

In the future when future man digs up what we leave behind, what conclusions will they come to. Looking at some of the dinosaur toys available, would they conclude that these beasts actually walked among the skyscrapers.

In the 25th century if you dug up an old car toy that hadn’t rusted away, how would you explain it.

Would you say it was some sort of God that we worshiped, or was it a decorative item we used to show power. It could have been a model of the king’s chariot.

But do we stop to think, that it may have been something for our kids to play with. While we were out making more money to buy even more things for our kids to play with.

We have war games with tiny toy soldiers and cowboy and Indian sets. What is to stop the tiny carved human figures from prehistory being toys to teach the kids the best way to hunt down a mammoth or rhino or deer.

If we made some replica models of some of the artifacts, and gave them to our kids to play with in the sand pit. We might see them reenacting a mammoth hunt or chasing a wild deer into the ground.

Some of the most valuable artifacts would suddenly be delegated from God status to kid status.

I like to look at what we do now and them dream about what could have happened in the caveman days.

Nowadays in any toyshop there is a shelf of toy plastic animals. Anything we see in the wild or on the farm or in the home is there in little packets.

Did the caveman kids also have collections of toys. Now, our kids even have toy cavemen to play with, so what did caveman kids play with.

I can remember “Fred Flintstone” on TV but did Pebbles and BamBam have any toys. All I can remember is BamBam running around with this big club. Now you can buy big air-filled clubs and hammers that don’t hurt when they hit you on the head.

But back to reality, kids love to play and caveman kids would also have played, but with what.

Toy bows and arrows and toy spears. Like kids today who love anything to do with war. Would all the spear points belong to daddy’s toolbox or would the smaller ones belong to the son.

They must have had something to play with, but with what.

Maybe in the future someone scratching around in a long forgotten cave will unearth the Barbie prototype. Or the lovely bird carved from a long dead mammoth tusk just might have been from mummy to daughter.

And not some elegantly carved offering to an unknown God.

Article by copyright © Peter Legrove 2006, at

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Why depriving your kids of toys is a great idea

toysMy 5 siblings and that i grew up in a very cruel barren of deprivation that enclosed wholemeal cereals, secondhand article of clothing and shared rooms. to feature insult to injury, we have a tendency to didn’t even have a TV to distract U.S.A. from our hardship.

My folks weren’t poor, thus as a baby I merely assumed they’d a sadistic streak. trying back currently, as a wise previous 31-year-old, I get it. And not solely do i purchase it, I’ve return to comprehend that depriving your youngsters is wildly underrated.

The road to the present realization was long. In my mid-20s, i spotted that, though reusing and utilization had become well-liked, the idea of reducing was being left within the mud, mostly as a result of nobody may discover the way to build cash off of it. i started shopping for less, creating additional, and taking a vital check up on what proportion I consumed. As I delved any and any into the outre world of bamboo-fibers and up-cycling, my austere childhood took on a wholly completely different slant. i spotted with a shock that my folks were cool: they’d been aware regarding our planet and its resources since the Seventies.

It wasn’t an excellent surprise then, that after I became pregnant with my girl Olive, I vowed to hold on this family tradition of neglect.

The reasons, in my mind, were easy. overwhelming for consumption’s sake is a pandemic – particularly once it involves children. the instant we have a tendency to see that second line on the bioassay, the looking begins. This relentless pursuit is dear, stressful, takes a devastating toll on the setting, and has become thus commonplace that we have a tendency to barely blink once somebody suggests a $30 plastic ontogenesis toy as a “must-have” item.

I’m currently one momma and since I build most of the daily selections in my daughter’s life, my insane concepts encounter just about no opposition. I’ve become drunk with power. Yet, whereas specializing in experiences as critical material things has been a positive selection, I typically have doubts.

I see Olive delight over battery-operated guitars and plastic dolls at friends’ homes, and that i feel sharp pangs of guilt. I check up on her space, all of her toys contained in one meager basket, and that i feel associate degree uncomfortable ill-natured feeling settle into nether region of my abdomen. I don’t wish her to miss out, I don’t wish to be the mean momma, and what’s additional, I don’t wish her to seem back at her childhood and see lack, rather than love.

Some drown their mom-guilt with wine, i favor to bury it below reams of cold, arduous analysis. thus I started dig, and what I discovered is nice news not just for the piles of plastic toys slowly dyspnoeic in our landfills, except for our youngsters, too. in a very study designed to spot and forestall addictive  patterns in adults, 2 German researchers (they would be German) somehow convinced a preschool to get rid of all toys from the room for 3 months.

Remarkably, the state of affairs didn’t devolve into Lord of the Flies acted go into miniature. Instead, lecturers reported  that whereas on the primary day the kids appeared lost and confused, by the tip of the third month they were engaged in wildly creative  play, able to concentrate higher and communicate additional effectively.

Similarly, a study by yankee childhood organic process researchers reported  that once youngsters below 5 have too several toys, they can’t target one factor long enough to really learn from it, instead they feel compelled to rummage through and bit everything while not ever absolutely immersing themselves in anyone activity.

It’s not simply science that recommends you say affirmative to less; your notecase and also the flora and fauna outside your door agree. the typical yankee social unit has over $15,000 in mastercard debt and Americans generate 254m plenty of trash a year. Those within the GB don’t fare far better, with a mean social unit shopper debt of £6,454, and 100m plenty of waste.

I don’t assume it’s abundant of a stretch to infer that a minimum of atiny low portion of that’s from all of the gear we have a tendency to purchase for our youngsters. It’s robust on our pocketbooks and it’s tragic for the landfills.

This is particularly pertinent currently, once several folks ar headed to the shops with back-to-school looking lists in hand. If you’re feeling formidable, attempt to use this looking hell to undertake out a replacement, scaled-back approach: as you look, attempt to value whether or not what you’re shopping for may be a wish, or a need. can it augment your child’s life or distract from it?

It’s time to rethink deprivation as a parenting strategy. Living with less, it seems, means more. more cash in our bank account, extra space on our shelves, and better of all, additional communication, imagination and concentration from our youngsters.

If all else fails, I comfort myself with the concept of Olive on a therapist’s couch in fifteen years. “I wasn’t allowed to possess balloons at my birthday parties,” she’ll gasp, through thick sobs, “Because they were plastic.”

Sadistic, indeed.

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