established that ethnic and racial status has a deep impact on the future lives of children and it influences their thoughts, actions, beliefs and perceptions (Quintana 27; Harro 15). Toys play a significant role in shaping the child’s beliefs and attitudes related to their ethnicity and race. A visit to the local retail store that houses a large toy department was an eye opener in many ways. At first glance the toy store looked bright and colourful with various eye-catching gadgets, devices and playthings that trigger the desire to purchase. The toy store had toys for all age groups. However, a closer and more professional evaluation of the toy department at the local retail store revealed some disturbing aspects.
The first and most distinguishable was the segregation of toys for boys and girls. Gender discrimination was most apparent with toys meant for boys in blue displaying action games, cars, building blocks, and aggressive games. The toys in the girls section coloured pink stocked dolls, soft toys, games and activities related to beauty (beads, fashion accessories for dolls) and domesticity. Some games are unisex and hence segregated according to age-groups. These included board games, puzzles, learning toys etc.
Another distinctive aspect seen in the toy department was the ethnicity of dolls displayed on the shelves. Chinese Barbie dolls could be seen everywhere reflecting the local cultural influence on Barbie dolls. The dolls represented Chinese culture and their fashion accessories reflected the local lifestyles. The other segment of Barbie dolls had white complexion and were displayed attractively with their counterparts.
The toys in the store were organized in two distinct segments – blue and pink. The blue segment represented the boys and the pink for the girls. In the boys segment, action games and heroic figures were highly visible while in the girls segment, dolls and fashion accessories were more prominent. Toy guns, video gaming sets, ...
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