Over the weekend, I visited a very popular toy store called "ToysRUs." The store is huge - filled with literally thousands of toys boys, girls and adults! The first unique thing I noticed about the store was that they separated the toys that were for boys on a completely different side of the store and away from all the girl's toys. In the middle of the store however, there was the toys that were made for both genders to play with. It was almost like they purposely separated the boys and girls toys from each other so that the neither gender would wander over to toys designed for the opposite gender.
The toys that they had for boys in the store looked like they were typical toys that boys have been playing with for generations. Some of them were action figures, nerf guns, legos, male Disney character stuffed animals, footballs, toy airplanes, and numerous building sets. The girl's side of the store on the other hand looked completely different. It was much prettier then the guys side and seemed to be in a lot better condition. There were no toys out of place like the guys side, and the area in general looked more appealing. Some of the girl's toys were Barbie dolls, tea sets, easy bake ovens, and numerous girl action figures.
The middle of the store seemed very plain and neutral, which was where they kept the toys for both genders to play with. The toys in the middle were either soccer balls, basketballs, multi-gender board games, or play sets. I realized that it was almost as if society was telling the children already what toys they can and can't play with. Otherwise they would have just had a bunch of toys in a store and there wouldn't have been signs indicating what were boys and girls toys.
These toys play a huge role in the process of gender socialization. The children are taught mainly by their parents that the appropriate behavior is to go to the side labeled as their gender.