Overcoming Gender-Based Toy Marketing One Advertisement At A Time

Many kids grow up thinking that pink is for girls and blue is for boys, as the picture below shows. Dolls, princesses, and beauty related toys are typically marketed to girls, whereas building sets, cars, and action figures are mostly advertised to boys. However, such stereotypical marketing can have negative effects, providing children with narrow views of what it means to be a girl or a boy. Brands and marketers have received much criticism in the past few years for perpetuating these traditional constructions of gender, however, others are slowly seeking to change this problem. One of our Youth Advisory Board members, Julia Tanenbaum, weighs in on this subject, highlighting areas of frustration and where progress is being made. 

Overcoming Gender-Based Toy Marketing One Advertisement At A Time

Pink and Blue ToysDespite conventional wisdom that today’s children can pursue whatever career or lifestyle they please without their gender impairing their ability to succeed, the toys we raise them with send a completely different message. This year has given us toys like Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood “award” nominated LEGO Friends Butterfly Beauty Shop, which shows girls that they can only learn engineering principles when their materials are pink beauty supplies and they can “get primped and pretty” instead of, say, building. Although LEGO has received much attention for its offensive gender marketing, children are constantly bombarded with toys espousing equally damaging messages. Bratz dolls and Barbies teach girls to focus on their appearance and aspire to be stick thin, while Nerf guns and military themed toys inspire boys to be violent and active, with little scope for nurturing or creativity. These toys and their limiting messages are bad enough in themselves, but they are just part of…

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “Political correctness is a two-way street of respect and telling the truth.”—Female, 17, WI

One teacher has declared war on homework. A note that has gone viral on Facebook and Reddit outlines a teacher’s new policy that homework will be limited to the work that students did not complete during the school day. They explain, “Research had been unable to prove that homework improves student performance, Rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eating dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early.” Schools in Massachusetts have also adopted a “no homework” policy, signifying the start of a larger trend. (Mashable

Adidas is winning out with young consumers of all ages in China. According to RTG Consulting Group’s brand relevance report, Chinese Millennials and teens agree on similar brands as the most relevant in the apparel and footwear industry. Adidas came in first for both groups, for its products and social media strategy, and Zara, Uniqlo, and Nike followed. The least relevant fashion brand was H&M for Millennials, and Converse for teens. (Sourcing Journal

Game developer Blizzard is using the Broken Windows Theory—the idea that disorder breeds more disorder—in its war with cyber bullying. For its team-based shooter game Overwatch, Blizzard has implemented a chatbot to keep an eye out for negative phrases and turn them into “charming, self-effacing statements.” For example, “gg ez,” a commonly used phrase to let opponents know that victory was too easy, is automatically turned into phrases like "I'm wrestling with some insecurity issues in my life but thank you all for playing with me." The developer hopes that by hiding toxic behaviors, others won’t be encouraged to do the same. (Motherboard

Millennials are more likely than Boomers to marry someone with a different approach to finances. A recent TD Ameritrade survey asked respondents to categorize themselves as either savers or as spenders, and found that although more than half of Millennials and Boomers agree that savers being married to savers prevents financial disagreements in a marriage, 66% of Boomer savers are married to other savers, compared to 52% of Millennial savers. The younger generation is also more comfortable with it: only 23% of Millennial savers said they wouldn’t be happy with a spender, versus 40% of Boomers. (Investor’s Business Daily

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, schools should be teaching coding as a second language. Computer programming been shown to help “kids see the world algorithmically, in patterns, and in cause and effect,” and some experts say coding education is crucial for kids to stay competitive. Although the youth of North America are well versed in Snapchat and YouTube language, one media theorist argues: "Unless kids understand how [the platforms they use] ­­are created…they're at a disadvantage to those who do know how to build and take apart these platforms." In the British Columbia province of Canada, students will soon be required to take coding from Grades 6-9. (CBC News)

Quote of the Day: “I follow the news because it’s there and I can't avoid it.”—Female, 28, ME

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