Traditionally, toymakers market their products to either girls or boys. The toy industry presents dolls and dresses as being girls’ toys, while cars and construction tools are for boys. In recent years, advocates have highlighted the presence of harmful gender stereotypes in such marketing tactics. Considering our society’s ongoing discussion of gender identity, should children’s toys continue to be gendered?
No, toys should not be genderedShow moreShow less
Gendered toys reinforce stereotypes and harm childhood development.
Until the 1940s, girls and boys often enjoyed the same gender-neutral toys. The toy industry realized that advertising separate toys for each gender would increase sales, and thus created a lucrative industry by aggressively distinguishing between girls' and boys' toys.  Manufacturers also realized in the 1940s that wealthier families would buy entirely new sets of clothing, toys, and other products for their children of different genders if the products were marketed for boys and girls separately. So, instead of a family passing down their older children's clothes and toys down to younger children, regardless of gender, families would buy separate sets of toys for daughters and sons.
Furthermore, gender-specific toys are actually hurting toy companies now more than they are helping them. One recent study of U.S. adolescents reported that 24% were either not heterosexual or not cisgender, so having toys that cater to those kids can improve business. Mattel is one example of a company that has been adjusting their product line to break away from gender norms, releasing a line of gender-neutral dolls that can be dressed up in a variety of hair and clothing styles. The new generations of parents are also moving away from gender-specific toys. In a 2017 study, more than 75% of those surveyed agreed that it's good for parents to encourage young girls to play with toys or do activities "associated with the opposite gender." Gender-specific toys are hurting toy companies more and more each day. These kinds of toys are a relic of corporate greed and have no place in our modern society.
The toy industry might have produced gendered toys as a means of furthering sales. However, that does not necessarily indicate that gendered toys are harmful.