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Gendering of Toys Assignment

Post to Category: 7. Doll Reports (4 points) by noon on Monday 3/26

Assignment: Visit a toystore (or online retailer) to analyze dolls and/or gendering of toys like these:


Take a “tour� of a doll retailer like Toys R Us, KB Toys, Amazon or FAO Schwarz . You can focus on Barbie, Bratz, Polly Pocket, My Scene, American Girl, or any doll (toy or “action figure� like GI Joe or Superman). Pay attention to how the dolls are gendered (and perform gender identity), and are raced, classed, organized (shelved or put into categories), constructed, dressed, marketed, etc.

In a 300 - 500 word post discuss your findings. Consider the following prompts to help guide your response:

* How are dolls sold (think space, place, marketing ploys)?
* How does gender, race, class and sexualities get mapped onto dolls (and/or toys)?
* What influence, if any, do you see dolls (toys) having on the gendering and socialization processes?
* What is your response to your findings? Did you think of your own days of playing with toys? Are you suprised, shocked, angered or not affected by what you've encoutered?
* Was it easy to find a doll/toy that looks like you, represents some of the salient pieces of your identity (race, ethnicity, skin color, hair texture, cultural groups, etc.)?

Use key terms, the films and the readings (assigned or optional) to guide your theorizing. Post a reflection write-up (and, if you are so inclined, a creative presentation of your findings for 5 extra credit points (Think photography, drawing, diorama, reconstructed doll...).

BONUS Extra Credit Assignment: Do you have a "doll narrative"? - a story about you and your dolls (like those that appear in Barbie Nation>? Share your story (in addition to the theoretical post) for 2 extra credit points). The film is available for viewing in the Walter LRC Library if you want to watch the tape.

Due to many requests, EXTRA CREDIT CAN BE COMPLETED ANY TIME BEFORE THE END OF THE TERM (the final date to turn in extra credit assignments, the Dec date specified in the syllabus).

NOTE: The reading "Ethinically Correct Dolls: Multicultural Barbies and the Merchandizing of Difference" is from this text: