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Despite the growing awareness of gender stereotypes, companies such as Disney and toy makers still create their products based on gender (Auster & Mansback 2012).Stereotypical feminine toys include dolls and similar toys which reinforce domestic oriented behavior, whereas the male toys included action figures, weapons, and vehicles which may elicit a different type of behavior. Although there is a category labeled for both boys and girls, the toys still presented more male-coded features (Auster & Mansback 2012). The masculine toys continue to reinforce stereotypes based on gender. However, another research showed that boys who watched Disney programs display less stereotypical behavior (Bussey &Bandura, 1999). Disney princesses are often portrayed to be attractive, docile and display prosocial behavior, who get rewarded for this behavior (England et al., 2011). Having exposure and being rewarded for more feminine behaviors further reinforces girls in consuming this media, while changing masculine behaviors displayed by boys. With gender labeling and identifying starting as early as 18-24 months (Todd et al., 2018) and reaching its prime around 3-6 years old (Ruble & Martin, 1998), the present study aims to examine how gendered toys affect children’s display of prosocial behaviors. More than 60 children were assessed in their verbal indication and physical selection of a favorite from a toy box consisting of gendered toys. Furthermore, teachers were asked to rate these children in the classrooms, using Social Competence and Behavioral Evaluation (SCBE, LaFrenier, 1995) to report children’s prosocial versus oppositional behaviors. We expect children who select female-coded toys will be more empathetic, nurturing, and willing to help others. On the contrary, those who select the male-coded toys will tend to be more aggressive and less in tune to the emotions of others. Detailed results and implications will be discussed at the conference.


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19 Jul 2022
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  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 2204

  • Event date
    • 2 November 2019

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022