11 thoughts on “Marketing for Boys & Girls

  1. Not to pick on the kid – she’s young, and she’s peppy, good for her – but “it’s a grand conspiracy, girls and boys all want to play with the same stuff, but they paint stuff pink to trick the girls”… c’mon. Think it through. If girls are far more interested in pink stuff than any other color on average, you’ve already established “girls like different things than boys”. It’s a bad argument, but damned if I can’t see a professor of women’s studies making it anyway.

    I assume this was linked because the girl’s pretty adorable in her ranting, not a “the child makes an excellent point” deal. Actually, I assume otherwise, but it’s Christmastime. Trying to be kind here.

  2. Hi Crude, thanks for your festive effort to be kind. It was posted because it was topical (it’s a time of year we’re buying a lot of toys for our young relatives), because she is indeed pretty adorable, and as with everything on the blog, in hopes of promoting lively discussion. No endorsement was intended, only the hope that it would encourage people to reflect on what sorts of presents they choose to buy for boys and girls and why.

  3. So, Crude, is your claim that marketing and advertising don’t change people’s (children’s and adult’s) buying preferences? I know some advertising folks who would be pretty upset to hear that.

  4. I think the point she wants to make is that boys and girls are told what they are “supposed to like” or dislike. She feels like she is told not to like super heroes. Without the pressure and brainwashing, it is quite possible that more girls would play with super hero toys. Girls are “tricked” in the sense that they are told what they are supposed to like based on the package being pink. They aren’t “supposed to like” anything like that. It’s a fallacious form of persuasion.

  5. It is all very cute and the little girl is denouncing the “conspiracy of marketers”, fine. But skeptic me believes she has been manipulated by her parents discourse. I doubt very much a girl that age can articulate such a view, even a flawed argument, as Crude suggested.
    That said, being conscious of what one buys is key. However, what do you do with a niece who absolutely loves pink in all shades and only includes Barbies, princesses and Sirens on her wish list? I would hate to see her reaction if I was to get her a superhero!
    Just thinking…

  6. If I’m not mistaken, pink was the “strong” boy’s color in the 19th C. and blue the “weak” girls color.

    Christine: “But skeptic me believes she has been manipulated by her parents discourse.”
    So you’re saying that young children sometimes listen to what their parents say and then repeat it later on? Or even learn what about what is important and right/wrong from them? Is that manipulation?

  7. Well, it is, strictly speaking, manipulation, albeit a “good” one? I mean, it just goes to show how easy it is to gear children toward loving pink or seing through it. Doesn’t it?

  8. I highly recommend Peggy Orenstein’s recent book, “Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture.” Orenstein is a journalist investigating this matter, and she writes about how marketers have pushed pink toys on girls in an attempt to sell more toys. While a girl would have played with legos or tinker toys of any color, now that they make pink ones and market these as for girls–and only girls–toy companies can sell twice as many toys.

    As someone without kids (and pretty clueless about this stuff), I found this a fascinating read. It seems that the gendering of toys has gotten so much worse since I was a child in the 70’s and early 80’s.

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