By Duane Cruz, Staff Writer
Toy companies have nearly always used gender to market their products. From the original Barbie in 1959 to Hot Wheels in 1968, it is standard practice for companies to target a specific gender and to stereotype these genders.
California state Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill mandating stores that exceed an employee headcount of 500 to include a section of toys that is gender-neutral. This mandate will affect department stores such as Walmart and Target, and includes toys and “childcare items”, but not clothing.
Students believe that the mandate is a positive change for California, and hope that more states, like New York, will also mandate similar protocols.
“I think it will [have an impact on the generations growing up],” sophomore environmental studies Noah Perez said. “My generation might see it as different because what they see as different is what they don’t know. We are the stepping stone between the younger and the older generation. I think this is a good thing for California because to have the option of gender neutral toys gives people the option to choose.”
Graduate student Johnathan Rentes agrees with Perez.
“Genderless toys shouldn’t have any type of problem or implication on the child’s future. There is bias when it comes to certain toys [that they] should be made only for boys and certain toys should only be made for girls,” he said. “I think psychologically it may have an impact, due to the fact that it allows for say borderless playing . . . it will definitely merge the boys and girls together when it comes to playing, instead of boys only playing with these types of toys and girls only playing with these types of toys. It will create a type of uniformism.”
One of the effects displayed with having gender-marketed toys is that it creates a preset of rules that the children are subconsciously influenced by; boys wear blue, like dinosaurs, play with race cars, etc. The stereotyping of toys translates into the stereotyping of people, not giving them a chance to learn their own preferences, and excluding any other types of thinking.
“If they have toys for kids that are genderless, it might open the eyes of the past generations,” Perez said. “I think it will[ have an impact on the generations growing up]. My generation might see it as different because what they see as different is what they don’t know. We are the stepping stone between the younger and the older generation. I think this is a good thing for California because to have the option of gender neutral toys gives people the option to choose.”