Toys as Socialization Agents

Kids become exposed to socialization agents at a very tender age,although this might vary with regard to the social and culturalcontext where the kids are born and brought up. Notably, kids becomeaware of their gender and gender roles at significantly early stageof their life, and toys have been found to contribute a great deal inthis matter. The brief write up will examine the socialization roleof toys with regard to their color and language use in packaging ofthe toys among others. Further, the paper will examine the themesthat are evidenced in toys, which are likely to be gender inclined.


Blue and pink colors were the major colors that were used todifferentiate most of the boys’ toys from girls’ toysrespectively. On the same note, black color was used frequently withboys’ toys while girls’ toys had red color as one of thedistinguishing feature (Andersenand Howard 179). It is noteworthy that the pink and redcolor was the colors for most dolls and stuffed animals that weremostly stocked in the boys’ section of toys. On the contrary, bluecolor and black colors were used in lots of toy cars, trucks, boatsmotorbikes and military toy jeeps for boys.


The following languages were used in differentiating gender in thepackaging of toys. With regard to girls, toys in the section hadlanguages like adorable girls, beautiful hair, stylish dress, cuteangels and so on and so forth. With regard to boys, toy packages hadlanguages as super speed, heroes, power, speed and battle (Andersenand Howard 234). These languages were somehowcommunicating the gender roles assigned to girls of being homely,lovely and nurturing. On the contrary, boys were given the notion ofcompetition and aggressive life, which entail talking and actingtough.


One of the most common theme in girl toys was love. Lots of toys inthe girls section had some to say about love or passion. Secondly,nurture was another theme that was vastly represented. Further, thetheme style and fashion, either for hair or dresses claimed a fairshare of representation (Handel118). On the side of boys, the theme of aggression wasdominant. Most toys either had something to say about speed orcompetition. Further, the theme of power and strength was evidenced,not forgetting domination.


According to girls’ toys, girls were being socialized to becomegentle, homely and nurturing. Most of their toys, which were dolls ofyoung children that needed care tended to socialize girls to know howto care for their families (Handel88). For instance, a doll of a small girl with longhair had something to say about caring for a child and nurturing theguiding the child on good behavior. It is most likely that girlswould spend considerable time carrying the dolls on their backs(Andersen andHoward 312).

Boys were getting the socialization messages of toughness aggressionand domination. For instance, the toy military jeeps with big gunswere a symbol of military conquest. On the same note, super speedsport cars carried the message of competition and aggressive driving,which surrounds the life of a man in most societies.


A social norm of female submission was being carried on by a soft andgentle doll of a girl. The pink dolls were also delicate that theywould torn apart in a short while in the hand of boys (Handel236). On the other hand, the tough implication of boys’toys confirmed the social norm of male domination. For instance, toytrucks that were preferred by boys asserted the social arrangementwhere males take on the challenging tasks in the society.


The socialization messages remained fairly similar across the ages ofconcern. The difference that was there was based on the clarity ofmessages, which were designed to match the age of older kids who hadbetter communication skills than the younger ones (Zhao212). Besides socialization messages the toys for olderkids were bigger with better methods of propulsion as motors, thansmaller kids’ toys. In a nut shell, the domination and submissionsocialization message in boys and girls and boys respectively wereupheld.


Behaviorism is the best theoretical perspective to explain thesituation with the socialization role of toys in kids. Kids arebought up in an environment full of messages with genderinclinations. Given assertions of the behaviorism theory that kidslearn lots of things from their environment, the toys communicatelots of things to kids concerning the functioning of the world aroundthem. The roles that are played by their fathers and mothers aretransferred to boys and girls respectively. Recent versions ofbehaviorism theory as social learning theory prove that kids canlearn from their models as siblings and parents concerning the socialroles and the appropriate toys to match the expectations (Zhao124). Most parents will buy different toys for theirboys from those of girls. A boy who sticks to the preferred toys isprobably rewarded for that, and the same may apply to acting in themanner suggested by the toys. The converse is true with toys forgirls.

Works Cited

Andersen,Margaret L, and Howard F. Taylor.&nbspSociology:Understanding a Diverse Society.Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2008. Print.

Handel,Gerald.&nbspChildhoodSocialization.New Brunswick: Aldine Transaction, 2006. Print.

Zhao,Bin.&nbspTheLittle Emperors` New Toys: A Critical Inquiry into Children andTelevision in China.Berlin: Springer, 2013. Internet resource.