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Gendered Media Messages in Commercials of Toys Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Jul 8th, 2021

When children watch cartoons or special programs for a young audience in the morning or during the day, they can also focus on certain advertisements representing different toys. These commercials of toys are created to attract children’s attention and motivate them to persuade their parents to make a purchase. However, in addition to that, promoted advertisements and toys, in particular, also provoke the development of certain visions in children regarding their gender roles. To discuss gendered media messages reflected in the commercials of toys for children, it is important to concentrate on the analysis of such toys as Boxy Girls, DreamWorks Trolls, and Marvel Avengers.

Boxy Girls

Boxy Girls dolls are promoted in different media, including TV, and they are available to buy in Walmart and other stores and online. The key and obvious message conveyed in commercials is that these dolls prefer online shopping and unbox the bought items, including clothes, cosmetics, accessories, and other fashion-related pieces. These dolls are sold with four boxes each, and it remains a secret for a child what these boxes contain until unpacking them. With a focus on this toy, it is possible to state that young girls are stimulated to accept the idea that they should like shopping, make-up, and fashion. Moreover, they are provided with items in boxes that are gender-oriented in terms of colors, patterns, and functionality.

The used boxes are packed only with items that can be easily identified with women to accentuate and cultivate femininity as well as gender-related based behaviors. According to Wood (2017), it is typical for advertisements to represent women as involved in their female tasks, concentrated on beauty and homemaking. The use of Boxy Girls dolls influences the socialization process for women, not only emphasizing the activities expected to be interesting to them but also promoting the importance of online shopping for women.

DreamWorks Trolls

These toys created to represent the characters of the DreamWorks movie are promoted as appropriate for both girls and boys. However, there are obvious differences in appearances of these toys to differentiate between female and male characters, and there are differences in items with which they are sold. Thus, female toys are packed with tiaras, earrings, shoes, and dresses, and male toys are packed with shirts and shorts. As a result, children learn differences in the appearances of toys in relation to their gender as well as differences in treating and using these toys. Thus, approaches to decorating male trolls seem to be limited in comparison to female trolls.

Furthermore, children can also be expected to play with these toys imitating gender-related behaviors noticed in the DreamWorks movie about the trolls. Following Wood (2017), a young audience seems to be educated regarding conventional views for behaviors typical of women and men. However, in the context of trolls, female characters are expected to behave more actively and bravely than it is common for female characters. Still, despite their courage and will, the femininity of female trolls is accentuated with reference to their appearance.

Marvel Avengers

The toys that are also actively promoted on TV are from the series Marvel Avengers, and they include both female and male characters. Nevertheless, the number of female characters presented in these toys is low in comparison to male characters. Both male and female toys accentuate the same qualities, including courage, heroism, determination, persistence, honesty, and power. The tendency of depicting powerful women in media is also discussed by Wood (2017), and she also states that some male-related features in the characters of portrayed women are usually compensated by their accentuated sexuality and attractive appearance. Thus, in the context of Marvel Avengers toys, they are stereotyped not only against men because of focusing on extreme masculinity and aggressiveness but also against women. The reason is that their heroic female characters are not presented separated from their femininity and sexual objectification.

Conclusion

While referring to the observed commercials to promote toys for children, it is possible to state that boys and girls are expected to complete different socialization processes in terms of developing certain behaviors in them. Girls are educated with the help of media messages and toys to become attractive and interested in beauty aspects, fashion, and shopping. When they are represented as superheroes, they are still promoted as sexual objects, in a way, because of their appearance. On the contrary, boys are expected to act as fearless and powerful superheroes who not only protect but also dominate women. Therefore, messages in media for boys and girls can be regarded as different, and they are correlated with conventional views of gender, as is stated in the reading. It is possible to note that stereotypical views are spread in commercials, and they also influence the creation and promotion of toys. As a result, children begin to follow behavioral patterns demonstrated as appropriate for their gender in the media, and commercials in particular, as well as with the help of toys.

Reference

Wood, J. T. (2017). Gendered lives: Communication, gender, and culture (13th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth.

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IvyPanda. (2021, July 8). Gendered Media Messages in Commercials of Toys. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/gendered-media-messages-in-commercials-of-toys/

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"Gendered Media Messages in Commercials of Toys." IvyPanda, 8 July 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/gendered-media-messages-in-commercials-of-toys/.

1. IvyPanda. "Gendered Media Messages in Commercials of Toys." July 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/gendered-media-messages-in-commercials-of-toys/.


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IvyPanda. "Gendered Media Messages in Commercials of Toys." July 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/gendered-media-messages-in-commercials-of-toys/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Gendered Media Messages in Commercials of Toys." July 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/gendered-media-messages-in-commercials-of-toys/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'Gendered Media Messages in Commercials of Toys'. 8 July.

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