Manifestation of gender social construct in a toy store. Gender by itself is neutral and does not have any significance other than its biological function. It is however given definition and meaning by society through various implement such as toys where the social construction of gender is imposed on us…
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Gender by itself is neutral and does not have any significance other than its biological function until society provided a meaning to it through social construct. In its primitive definition, gender through its genitalia only serves the call of nature to excrete waste from our body. As toddlers, we are not even aware of it nor cared about it because society’s definition and construct of gender roles is not yet imposed on us. Until of course we begin to grow up and begin to interact with her various elements that begun with our parents who call us boy or girl and assign us roles in multitude of ways from labeling us as boy or girl and with it, the expectation and the roles we should play. Thus, we are told not to do this or that because we are girl or boy or told to do this or that because we are a girl or boy as a part of instilling social construct to us. Toys help create and reinforce strict definitions of gender. Toy is one of the implements of society that effectively defines to us the meaning and significance of our gender. It helps us to reinforce what should be a male or female through the symbolism and functionality of toys. You can call it brainwashing because it practices to perform the roles and functions expected of us by society at large. For example, girls play dolls because they are expected to be nurturers and dolls serves as a practicing kit on how to perform such role. Boys on the other hand plays trade tools such as cars, helmet etch as a conditioning tool that they ought to have a craft or a job to be a man as a expected by society. These toys have social meanings as well. For the toys of the boys, they convey “control, strength, efficiency, competitiveness, toughness, coolness under pressure” (Flores, nd) while for the girls, their toys also orients them about ”cooperation, mutuality, equality, sharing compassion, caring,...emotional expressiveness” (Johnson cited in Flores, nd). In a way, social construction perpetuates gender stereotyping as it already “boxes” us into gender roles beginning from our childhood. Such, when one enters a toy store as an adult, one cannot help but be drawn to the section to the gender that we are oriented to. The imposition of society’s social construction of gender manifests when we visit a store because we are drawn to the section of the toys (male or female section) where our respective genders are oriented or accustomed to. These toys however are more than tools of fun. They are also symbolisms of what is expected of us or as our training of the roles that we have to play in society. For example, As a male, one is expected to play only with toys that reinforce his gender role or identities. Role that is expected of him by his peers (which could be very strong if he is adolescent) to be strong, virile, rough and competitive. Thus, he would be expected to play cars, guns, robots, swords or any symbols of the toy that represent and reinforce his virile masculinity which is necessary for his role in society. Women on the other hand will manifests similar attachment to toys that her gender is oriented to. She may find it uncomfortable to be in the men’s section of toy store and instead will play with dolls that reinforce her gender role. Thus, it would not be an exaggeration to say that social construction which is “how society groups people” exerts such a powerful influence on us that it dictates ...
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