Paper #1 - Adam Fender Dr. OHara English 701 December 5,...

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Adam Fender Dr. O’Hara English 701 December 5, 2009 Toys and Gender What are gender identities and why do they exist? Aaron Devor notes that “Gender identities act as cognitive filtering devices guiding people to attend to and learn gender role behaviors appropriate to their gender statuses”(Devor 140). This is important because gender identities teach children how to act, specific to whether they are male or female. Within these two categories it is appropriate to act in a certain way. Children learn to act suitable to their gender at a very young age. By the age of three, most children can grasp the concept of gender. A few years later, they are most likely in pre-school or some kind of children’s first program. In such an institution, the children learn the alphabet, how to share, but also they learn gender in a “hidden curriculum”. Sociologist Karen Martin, in her examination of schools, argues that gendering processes are institutional and create a difference between genders that we sometimes take for advantage. Martin claims that “the hidden school curriculum of discipline the body is gendered . .. making gendered bodies appear and feel natural” (Martin, 350). Here, Martin emphasizes the nature of the secondary lessons that school curricula make possible. The hidden curriculum in schools may subconsciously use toys to show the young children, of each gender, the right way to act. Toys can be a powerful factor in the way a child acts; not only are they fun to play with but they can be educative as well. Boys’ toys and girls’ toys differ greatly in many ways. For example, boys’ toys usually have to do with construction or manual labor while girls’ toys are dainty and pretty and usually deal with cleaning or tending to someone or something. Also, the fonts on the boxes of each
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gender’s toys differ greatly, as well. If one looks at a box of Star Wars Legos, one may see Star Wars in unique, large black lettering while in the background you see shooting and flying. More specifically, if you look at the faces on the Star Wars Legos, they have evil grins and a look of determination. On a box meant for a girl, such as a Barbie doll, you see pink lettering and Barbie with a cute smile on her face in a perfect dress. The companies that create these toys target young audiences to nurture them into gender categories. We can see the “hidden curriculum” in
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This note was uploaded on 04/19/2011 for the course ENGLISH 0701 taught by Professor Johno'hara during the Fall '10 term at Temple.

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Paper #1 - Adam Fender Dr. OHara English 701 December 5,...

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