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Communicated Gender: A Content Analysis of Contemporary Children's Toy Commercials in the U.S. BY MACKENZIE PAWLIGER A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Sociology and Gender Studies New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Sarah Hernandez Sarasota, Florida May 2012
Pawliger ii Dedication This thesis is dedicated to my grandmother, Josephine Lesser who has been a tremendous source of motivation, encouragement, and positivity. I wish that you were around to see who I am and to experience this change with me. I know that you would be here if you could and that you would ask me "what can I do for you?" throughout the process. The memory of your voice, optimism, genuine nature, laugh, and unparalleled kindness has s erved as inspiration for me to keep going, even when feats have seemed impossible to overcome. You are my role model and constant source of inspiration. You have shown me unconditional love. I have learned through my interactions with you that kindness com es from a place of not having expectations or motives. Kindness comes from the deepest and most genuine source of love. It is a gift that everyone can have access to, but few deliver it with pure intentions. You are, were, and always will be one of the exc eptions. I carry these lessons and memories with me everywhere. I know that you are proud of me. I wish I could tangibly see and hear you say it. I love you and miss you.
Pawliger iii Acknowledgements I want to thank everyone who has helped me along the way. I want to thank people with trans* swagger, survivors, friends, WRC S taff ( Bre, Emile, and Andrew) I want to thank Amy Reid for encouraging me to believe in myself. I want to thank Jan Wheeler for b eing a positive voice, for supporting me, and making me smile when I was losing hope. I want to thank my parents and brother who have provided me with love and affection when I have needed it most. I want to thank my roommates, Ali, Kate, and Allison for indulging my ridicu lous tendencies and impulses. Kate, our whining, stomping, and secre t leg shake will live on. Ali, our meetings will continue, whe ther through skype or any other medium. Allison, I forgive you for that weird scie nce experiment first year. Although we are not as close, you are still one of my best friends and I love you dea rly. Grace Fisher, I have so much to thank you for. You have been my soundboard, my comfort, and inspiration. I love you more than words can expres s and I want to thank you for helping me come out of the dark confines of my mind. You have reminded me that people can be kind and genuine. I don t know where I would be this semester without you. I can t wait to see you grow and gain confidence. One day you will see what others, not just I, see in you and that day will be incred ible. I am so proud of you and feel unbelievably thankful to have you in my life, lover. Here is a list of people I love: Br ie McLemore, Paula Pulmano, Zoe Rayor, Dany Rizzo, Allie Whitcomb, Naushin, Kathleen O Neal, Erica, Trunk, Caroline Reed, Erin Robinson, Rachel Robinson .I want to thank ellipses for existing and mustaches for all that they have done for me. There are so many more people. I will miss your faces.
Pawliger iv COMMUNICATED GENDER: A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF CONTEMPORARY CHILDREN'S TOY COMMERCIALS IN THE U.S. Mackenzie Pawliger New College of Florida, 2012 ABSTRACT This sociological study was performed to contribute to an understanding of the role of gender in contemporary children's toy adver tisements in the U.S. Content analysis was conducted on 60 children's toy advertisements selected from the Amazon 2011 Holiday Toy Wish List and Achilles Effect blog Analysis was guided by eight mega codes, which encompassed twenty nine mini codes. Toys a re not inherently gendered; however, social meaning is conveyed th r ough layers of detail in advertisements and aspects of the toy itself. To understand gender or any other central aspect, it is necessary to analyze the types and relationships among a wide a rray of variables. Gender is reproduced and redefined through interactions. This study found that gender neutrality and masculinity are often conflated and as a result, femininity is deviant. A toy acquires gender by gaining feminine attributes. _________________________ Dr. Sarah Hernandez Division of So cial Sciences
Pawliger i Table of Contents Dedication i i Acknowledgments iii Abstract iv Table of Contents v Chapter 1: Introduction 1 Chap ter II: Literature Review 7 Chapter III: Methods 16 Chap ter IV: Results/Analysis 22 Chapter V: Discussion/Conclusion 78 Appendix A: Index of Commercials Use d 88 Appendix B: Coding Sheet 91 References 93
Pawliger 1 Chapter I Introduction "Baby alive is so real, you can feed her. I made a stinky.' And then she leaves an uh oh in her diaper." (Script for Hasbro's Baby Alive) "Battleground. Prepare to attack. Fire" (Script for Battleground Crossbows & Catapults) In modern American society, the media impacts people of all backgrounds. As a society, we constantly receive messages about societal/cultural norms and expectations; we learn what is expected of us and what the repercussions are for not meeting these expec tations. Oftentimes these messages are delivered through media and advertising. Through my research, I explore how gender is currently portrayed in children's televised toy commercials 1 in the United States. I argue that commercials contribute to the rigid gender socialization of children. My argument is shaped by the assumption that gender is socially constructed, arguing against the popular western assumption that gender is an inheren t biological trait, instead asserting that our gendered behaviors are learned, conditioned, and fluid, and that we learn these gender roles in early childhood. Although numerous psychological studies have been conducted on the topic of gendered children's toys, I examine the topic through a sociological framework, arguing that gender i s an institution that influences society at large rather than an individual's self concept. In the United States, children are socialized to conform to the gender roles expect ed from them given their particular sex. 1 In this stud y, the terms "advertisement" and "commercial" are used interchangeably.
Pawliger 2 Necessary Definitions Because societal understandings of terms such as gender and sex differ from their academic meanings, I explain how I use these terms throughout this thesis. Judith Lorber defines gender as a "social status, a legal designation, and a personal identity" (2010). Julia Serano (2007) expands on this definition of gender by saying that it commonly refers to an individual's gender identity, whether they identify themselves as male, female, both, or nei ther; the individual's gender expression; and gender roles, which refers to whether they act masculine, feminine, a combination of the two, or neither, and the privileges they're allotted, the way in which they are stereotyped, expectations imposed upon them, and limitations that they face as a result of which sex people perceive the individual to be Another important term is "gender roles," which refers to "behavior and attitudes appropriate to women and men that are learned in growing up and appl ied to adult work and family situations" (Lorber 2001). Although they are often conflated, gender and biological sex are distinct categories. Julia Serano (2007) makes the point that in our culture, assumptions about biological sex are largely related to genitalia. An individual's biological sex is assigned by a doctor at birth, and the sex assignment is based on the presence or absence of male genitalia (Serano 2007). Yet Lorber (2010 : 15 ) defines sex as "a complex interplay of genes, hormones, environme nt, and behavior, with loop back effe cts between bodies and society". Hence, while for Serano sex is a simple biological determination, for Lorber the distinction seems to come from her belief that gender is not simply a social construction, but rather a s ocial institution; sex invo l v es what most scholars consider gender (gender
Pawliger 3 roles), while gender involves the institution, the mechanism, through which patriarchy is imposed. These terms and concepts are important throughout this thesis because they provi de the foundation for the terminology that I use. It is especially important to recognize that gender is a social construct because traits are socialized rather than inherent; this study examines the construction of gender in commercials. Studying gender a s inherent would be counterproductive. Media, Gender, and Children Children below the age of six can sing songs from commercials in addition to being able to identify the manufacturer's trademarks like logos and reappearing characters (Borzekowski and Robinson 2001). It is clear that children spend a significant amount of time watching commercials and the fact that they often remember and parrot these tunes signifies that these commercials are memorized. In fact, children may see up to fifty toy and foo d commercials on any given Saturday (Atkin and Heald 2006). Hence, the extent of exposure to commercials, in conjunction with children's susceptibility to learn from them, points to the significant role commercials can play in children's socialization into gender roles. At a time when there is a growing movement to challenge rigid gender roles, it is important to explore how television either fights against these challenges or the extent to which we observe the expression of new approaches to gender roles. Gendered toys serve an important societal purpose: to teach children to perform the gender roles that they will be expected to fulfill in adulthood. Commercials and the
Pawliger 4 toys that they market serve as guides for children, teaching them what they should wa nt. These advertisements show children which toys are appropriate for play in congruency with their biological sex, and by association, the type of behavior that is acceptable for each sex. Children's toys are a major aspect of the gender socialization, which Judith Lorber (2010) defines as the work that parents do in raising their children to be future members of society. These gendered messages in toys and their advertisements do not remain in childhood, but carry on into the children's adult lives (Ru ble, Balaban, and Cooper 1981). Additionally, the overwhelmingly gender dichotomous nature of children's toys has the effect of putting children into rigid boxes, establishing the appropriate roles for males and females. By limiting boys' ability to expres s emotions and subordinating girls into passive roles, both male and female children suffer from the societal institutionalization of normative gender (Miller 1987). It is through socialization, social interactions, parenting, and largely from the media that these messages are delivered and then internalized. These sources inform us of gender norms and expectations, which tell us what is and is not appropriate for our gender. Furthermore, they make us aware that there are social repercussions for our acti ons, such as social estrangement/alienation or being othered, if we choose, whether consciously or not, to deviate from these norms and not meet expectations. Expectations for gender roles in society are communicated through children's toys. Children who a re exposed to media, as well as people in general, become aware of the social consequences of socially deviant actions through the way that social desirability is portrayed in the media and are affected by it.
Pawliger 5 Ruble, Balaban, and Cooper's (1981) researc h finds that children are more inclined to reject a toy if they saw a child of the opposite sex playing with it in a televised toy advertisement. Additionally, Greenfield (1984) discovered that children who watch television frequently tend to have a more t raditional understanding of sex roles as compared to those who watch less television. These individuals also tend to embody and embrace gender stereotypes in the workplace and often pursue jobs that are associated with their assigned sex ( ibid ). In other w ords, when children are exposed to stereotypes such as those related to gendered employment, they have a higher likeliness of pursuing gender normative jobs and embracing gender stereotypes into adulthood. As a major facet of identity and socialization, g endering largely informs interactions, behaviors, presentations, and individual's self concept. The implications of gendering in society include the inherent hierarchy that accompanies it, social organization, and learned expectations as well as the awaren ess of the repercussions that come with deviation from gender norms. Gender largely impacts and informs individual position in society. Gendered messages carry onto adulthood, which impacts society because we constantly receive these messages throughout ou r lifetime and they become social facts; gendered expectations and roles become our internalized reality, and many people live their lives without ever questioning gender. This study seeks to examine the production of gender through media: specifically, ch ildren's toy advertisements because toys are tools for socialization and children are impressionable groups.
Pawliger 6 Current Study The current study seeks to combine past studies, from both academic sources and feminist blogs, namely in term s of sample and foc us. I was inspired by past academic research and feminist blogs' findings and analysis regarding gendered soci alization through advertisement. I borrow ed the advertisements from one feminist blog to build half of my sample, while comple menting the sample w ith my own selection from Amazon. Content analysis was performed on both samples of children's toy commercials the feminist blog (The Achilles Effect) and my selection from Amazon's Holiday Toy List for 2011. Both sets of commercials were based in the United States with focuses on voices in children's toy commercials, gendered word usage and other manifestations of gender Chapter two explores scholarly work pertaining to my study. Chapter three explores methods employed. Chapter four presents the results from the content analysis The final chapter concludes and offer s suggestions for further research.
Pawliger 7 Chapter II Literature Review An expanding body of sociological, psychological, and marketing literature has evidenced the claim that one way that children learn societal expectations is through the media, which includes advertisements for toys. The following is a compilation of the li terature that provides the necessary background and arguments that are the foundation of my thesis. It will explore the socialization process at large; effects of media, children's exposure to, and consumption of, media on socialization; market expenditure s for advertising targeting children; children as target audience; gendered advertising and how and what messages are delivered to children; stereotypes in advertising and how they are perpetuated; representations of girls and boys (women and men) in the m edia; and lastly, sexism and the way that it instills gender antagonisms. Gender Stereotyping and Media During the sixty years of its existence, the popularity of television has rapidly increased. Condry, Bence and Scheibe (1988) and Kunkel (2001) estima te that the average child watches approximately four hours of television daily, nearly thirty advertisements hourly, and 30,000 to 40,000 product commercials annually. Despite the fact that commercials last a few minutes at most, and on average about thir ty seconds, they have proven to be greatly influential in our lives. As of 2006, the estimated total marketing expenditures of products marketed towards children in the United States were between $15 billion and $17 billion (Schor 2004; Horovitz 2006). T his shows a significant increase from the $100 million spent in 1983 (Schor 2004).
Pawliger 8 Clearly, there has been a concerted effort, in terms of time and money, on the part of corporations to target children in their advertisements. This can be further exempli fied by the fact that by the time a person reaches the age of seventeen, that person has been exposed to over 350,000 commercials (Bretl and Cantor 1988). This estimate is about twenty years old, yet, given the consistent increase in expenditures in adver tisement, it is reasonable to assume that this number has increased significantly; however, there is also contention about the amount of media consumed by individuals. We see that the average American family leaves its television on for at least seven hour s a day, but we do not see confirmation that individuals are watching television throughout that time (Gerbner 1994). Children, who are still developing cognitive abilities, are the most susceptible of all people to media's influence (Borzekowski and Robin son 1999); they have a hard time separating commercial and regular programming on television (Atkin 1982). Research has found that around the time a child reaches the age of eight, they have the ability to understand that the function of advertisements is to instill the desire in them to buy something (Kunkel and Roberts 1991). Yet, girls have much less ability than adults to comprehend and cope with cultural messages (American Psychological Association 2007). The implications of the APA research are that girls have been found to be more impressionable when it comes to societal messages delivered through media, especially when they are related to body image and mainstream ideals of femininity/beauty. A large body of research suggests that one of the ways that children are affected by this exposure to technology is that it dramatically increases their tendencies towards sex stereotyping. For example, dating back to the mid 1970s, studies have shown that
Pawliger 9 children who spend more time watching television tend to have more rigid views about what behaviors are acceptable for men and women and, perhaps more importantly, what behaviors are unacceptable for each gender (Freuh and McGhee 1975). At a young age, children begin to be socialized into roles that are co ngruent with their gender and to learn what is expected of them. These messages are often received through media, and the effects of these messages have been observed through various studies. In fact, children between the ages of three and six who view t elevision frequently are more inclined to impose gender stereotypes on occupations than their counterparts who are exposed to less media (Beuf 1974). Additionally, messages from media encourage gender policing and conformity for children themselves. Thir d and fifth graders who watch more television have a higher likelihood of stereotyping gender related qualities and activities in a conventional manner (Rothschild 1979). The prevalence of stereotyping in advertisements targeted at children can potential ly harm children by affecting their gender socialization and understanding of themselves and others (Bandura 1986; Bussey and Bandura 1984; Kolbe 1990; McNeal 1992). Deviations from the rigid stereotyping of girls and boys in advertising are rare. The ex ceptions are seldom anything but a minor difference in appearance, and often this has the result of reaffirming and perpetuating the preexisting stereotypes (Eiss 1994). These binary displays have a tendency to both present an overly simplistic and exagge rated understanding of issues surrounding gender identity which restrict children's options in self expression, behavior, and choice in general (Sobieraj 1998). It is obvious from these findings that this continued depiction of rigid gender roles and expe ctations is intended to be internalized by viewers of all ages.
Pawliger 10 The internalization of stereotypes is not limited to gender. For example, in terms of racial stereotypes and preferences, studies have found that most white participants express an automatic association between African Americans' names or faces and adjectives that hold negative connotations (Cunningham, Preacher, and Banaji 2001). This trend holds true, not only for children, but also for adults (Baron and Banaji 2006) and occurs across gender ed lines (Banaji and Greenwald, 1995; L. Rudman and Kilianski 2000). Although parents impose their preferences on children, images in the media seem to be the more substantial force, influencing children's choice of product, their values, and their self e steem (Ward, Wackman, and Wartella 1977). It is notable that the influence is not purely from the media (Pike and Jennings 2005; Gerbner, Gross, Morgan, Signorelli, and Shanahan 2002). Eiss (1994) speaks to this, what gets communicated to parents about their kids encourages them to reproduce a rather limited range of gender stereotyped appearances and reinforce a rather limited range of gender bound behaviors...parents encourage the[se] gender differentiated play preferences. Parents have also been taught not only to accept, but also to embrace these restrictive societal gender norms; they become sources of encouragement for their children's conformity and often reward their children's expressions of gender congruency (Sobieraj 1998). Despite diffe rences in the delivery of media messages, there are parallels, in terms of stereotypes, between advertisements targeted at adults and those targeted at children (Durkin 1985; Kolbe 1990, Macklin and Kolbe 1984; Schwartz and Markham 1985). Although childre n are more impressionable and vulnerable to the predatory nature of
Pawliger 11 media, adults are also targeted by advertisements in a gendered way. It is evident that in both cases, for adults and children, society has very distinct roles in place for each gender an d, as we will see below, media portrayals reflect this. Stereotyped Portrayals of Boys and Men in the Media Men and boys tend to be portrayed as aggressive, autonomous, and powerful (Bretl and Cantor 1988; Butler and Paisley 1980; Courtney and Whipple 198 4; Kolbe and Albanese 1996). This repeated portrayal is internalized by men and boys as the norm and highlights the expectation associated with masculinity. They begin to learn that in order to be real men (or boys), they have to display aggression (or v iolence) and be entirely independent and strong. The internalization of these stereotypical portrayals can have negative consequences: The abuse...continues to be encouraged and sustained by a masculine culture of dominance and violence which devalues women at the same time it glorifies masculine values such as toughness, emotional repression, and dominance enhancing behavior...much exposure to the masculine culture comes through everyday life, but we find it in its most concentrated form in segregated environments like violent sports, the armed forces, fraternities, barber shops, and bars. (Bowker 1986: 39) Advertising imagery creates a solid link between masculinity and violence. It teaches boys that aggression is an integral part of proving one's masculinity, and often this depiction is void of any repercussions (Katz 1994). Stereotyped Portrayals of Girls and Women in the Media Women and girls, on the other hand, are portrayed as unintelligent, passive, and submis sive and are associated with emotionality, helplessness, and affection (Kuhn,
Pawliger 12 Nash, and Brucken 1978). This negative portrayal of girls and women establishes expectations and roles of femininity in ways that are stunting and generally detrimental to girls and women. It teaches girls that they are expected to be stupid, hypersensitive, and subordinate to and entirely dependent upon men. The internalization of these messages can be exemplified through the fact that children as young as five associate men wi th strength and women with weakness and recognize men as representing the stronger gender (Williams and Best 1990). Girls in advertisements are typically depicted in conventionally feminine roles like playing with dolls and activities associated with the kitchen; boys typically exhibit masculine roles and are portrayed as more physically active (Smith 1994). In terms of occupations, men are almost always seen working outside the home, and women are portrayed as almost entirely domestic (Smith 1994; O'Kell y 1974). This can often have negative effects on children. For example, teenage girls who were exposed to commercials that heavily emphasized beauty internalized conventional notions of beauty as a necessity and were more fixated on their appeal to men th an those who were exposed to commercials that included nontraditional portrayals of women like women outside the domestic sphere (Tan 1979). This often results in lower self esteem and changes in girls' perception of their own (physical) attractiveness be cause these girls tend to see how they compare to girls/women in media (Martin and Gentry 1997; Martin and Kennedy 1993). In fact, numerous studies have found that young women have more extreme appearance anxiety after being exposed to media depictions of conventionally attractive and hyper sexualized women's bodies (Monro and Huon 2005). Similar results have
Pawliger 13 been found in young women who are exposed to sexualizing terms that are frequently on magazine covers, like "sexy and shapely" (Roberts and Gettman 2004). In addition to findings related to women/girls and self image, solid evidence confirms that exposure to media portrayals which focus on ideals of sexual desirability has a strong association with higher rates of body dissatisfaction among girls and young women (Groesz, Levine, and Murnen 2002; Holmstrom 2004). More than thirty eight experiments, thirty two surveys, and two interview studies have been performed which explore these detrimental correlations, most of which confirmed these detrimental ef fects (American Psychological Association 2007). This can be tangibly observed through Hargreaves' and Tiggemann's study (2004), in which high school girls and boys viewed commercials that either fell under the "beauty ideal" or under "nonappearance" cat egories. They found that girls who viewed commercials focused on beauty ideals had markedly higher levels of body dissatisfaction. In another study, Turner, Hamilton, Jacobs, Angood, and Dwyer (1997) investigated the effect of exposure to fashion magazin es on women's body image. They found that adolescent girls who were exposed to fashion magazines as opposed to news magazines expressed desires to weigh less, were more dissatisfied with their bodies, expressed more frustration about their weight, were mor e concerned with the aspiration to be thin, and were significantly more terrified of becoming fat than the others who were exposed to news magazines. As a result of the prevalence of stereotypes in commercials and children's increased consumption of media there has been a rising concern among parents and academic professionals alike about the effects this has on the children exposed to it.
Pawliger 14 Contemporary society has certainly seen many social advances in favor of women's equality. One notable example is T itle IX, a federal law enacted in 1973 which guarantees that no organization that receives federal funding may discriminate on the basis of sex. However, these advances are hindered by the continued trend in modern American culture to depict sexist portra yals of women and girls, a pattern that has not decreased as gender equality has gained more prominence in the law (Macklin and Kolbe 1984). Despite pushes for gender equality, traditional portrayals of men and women tend to outnumber more progressive one s (Klassen, Jasper, and Schwartz 1993). Sexism is both a theme within and a consequence of media (Strouse, Goodwin, and Roscoe 1994; L. M. Ward, 2002; L. M.Ward and Friedman, 2006; L. M.Ward et al., 2005). As women watch more television, they tend to int ernalize more sexist ideology, which can manifest as a belief that one sex (male) is superior to the other (female) or an assumption of general inferiority on the behalf of women; however, women who watch less television do not experience any increase in s exist ideology (Morgan 1982). Boys' level of sexism increases as their television consumption increases (ibid). Other forms of automatic associations, like the link between power and sex, are present in some individuals (Zurbriggen, 2000). Despite the f act that these attitudes, convictions, and associations are unconscious, they are not immutable (American Psychological Association 2007; Dasgupta and Greenwald 2001). The power of empowering or non stereotypical portrayals of women can be shown by the fa ct that exposure to female leaders has been found to lead to a decrease in women's immediate gender stereotyping (Dasgupta and Asgari 2004). This clearly shows that the integration of more powerful and less rigid gender portrayals can have positive effect s on viewers.
Pawliger 15 As the amount of television and media consumption rises, children's understandings of reality parallels the realities present in media; the understandings of gender roles of the young viewers eventually correlate with those depicted on televi sion (Kinsky and Bichard 2011: 147; Frost et al., 2004: 126; Signorielli 1989). This is significant because what is shown on television and other forms of media are internalized as being reflective of social realities. Advertisements teach boys and girls respectively what they should want relative to their gender. For instance, young girls should want to purchase makeup, clothes, and accessories in order to make themselves more appealing to men in adulthood (O'Connor 1989). Additionally, boys and girls prefer shows that feature characters of their same sex (Sprafkin and Liebert 1978). Children not only internalize these messages; they also enforce the rules behind them. In fact, children as young as four are more inclined to select a toy associated with their gender after seeing a child of the same sex play with it in an advertisement (Ruble, Balaban, and Cooper 1981). It is clear that children not only embrace these stereotypes, they also align themselves with them, and police other children, especiall y boys, for expressing non gender normative behaviors and preferences (Durkin 1985; Frueh and McGhee 1975). As Sobieraj clearly states, "media, parents, and other agents of socialization help maintain the facade of objectively real, mutually exclusive, ge nder differences" (1998). That is to say, these differences exist insofar as they are produced, reproduced, and perpetuated through social and cultural exchanges.
Pawliger 16 Chapter III Methods To determine the contemporary representation of gender in children's toy advertisements in the United States, I performed content analysis of sixty children's toy advertisements. In this chapter, I explain the methodology for my study. To incorporate both quantitative and qualitative data, content analysis serves as the ideal method. According to Babbie (2005:328), content analysis is the study of recorded human communications." It can be in the form of print, audio, visual, cyber, or any combination th ereof. It involves the careful assessment of what message is intended by the speaker, writer, or producer of the idea and what message is received by the audience. Babbie simplifies this notion by noting that this method is useful for answering "the classi c question of communications research: who says what, to whom, why, how, and with what effect?'" (320). For example, the relationship between body image and commercials for women can be analyzed to demonstrate the extent to which these commercials are see king to portray a particular view of female beauty. In order to know this, we need to view the commercials, and identify the factors that compose it. For example, what are the women wearing and doing? Are they wearing loose or tight clothing ? A re they act ive or passive? Are they alone or interacting with others? Are parts of their body exposed or are they fully clothed? What is the environment surrounding the women like? Are they in public or private spaces? What colors surround them? Having identified the se elements, then one can proceed to explore what the intended meanings are behind these colors, spaces, interactions, clothing, etc.
Pawliger 17 This process of identification of the parts of the commercial and their meaning are best assessed through qualitative res earch. However, once this initial analysis is completed, it is possible to quantify the extent to which certain patterns are observed/emerge. We can say, for instance, that in 90% of the commercials we studied, women are portrayed in passive states, such a s sitting, lounging, or watching TV; that in 50% of the cases they wear tight clothing, while in 70% of the cases they are interacting with a male. The use of both qualitative and quantitative analysis provides a fuller picture of the process through which certain messages are communicated to a larger audience. This methods, therefore, is the most appropriate to use in order to understand the gendered character of the messages being delivered to children. I employed two methods for identifying the advertis ements I would study; to some degree, both involve convenience sampling. First, I used a sample from a study conducted by a feminist blog called Achilles' Effect. This sample included 27 commercials geared towards boys and 32 commercials geared towards gi rls, which could have created a bias in the sample because the number of commercials respective to each gender was unequal. I utilized the blog list because it had the advertisements readily available for viewing: the blog provided the lists of commercials and their accompanying links. To find more commercials and minimize the bias that may be involved in the Achilles' Effect sample, I also used the Amazon 2011 Holiday Toy Wish List. From this list, I selected advertisements targeted for the age range of 5 7 years and organized that list by "best selling" for each gender (boy and girl). I went through both lists and only
Pawliger 18 selected toys that had direct links to their commercials. I selected 27 for boys and 32 for girls. Together, the Achilles' Effect and Amaz on sources offered 118 cases for my study. Given the time limitations, I was not able to do content analysis for all of these cases. Therefore, I used random sampling to select 30 advertisements for each gender group, representing a total of 60 advertise ments (see Appendix A). There were four lists in total; 15 cases for boys' commercials from the blog list, 15 cases for girls' commercials from the blog list, 15 cases for boys' commercials from the Amazon list, and 15 cases for girls' commercials from the Amazon list. Since each list has different sizes, I first decided how many I needed to count e.g., every other case; then, to randomize the start number, I folded two pieces of paper (numbered 1 2), closed my eyes, and selected a paper. I started with th e selected number and then counted off every other case until I had 15 per sample. I created a proportion by dividing the samples by the number of cases. This did not produce whole numbers; because it resulted in a decimal number, I counted them off until I reached a whole number. For example, one of my proportions was 1.8 (2715), so after I counted every other case, reaching 5 cases, I included the next case in order to have a whole number (.2x5=1), and then started selecting every other case again until the next 5 th case and again included the next case. Once I realized that some of the toys had multiple commercials, I folded another paper, marked 3, and would select one of the three pieces and based on the number, I would select the commercial for that t oy My study includes eight mega codes, which were solidified after watching commercials that were not selected in my sample and taking note of significant concepts that I wanted to explore/were recurring. I also used some codes from past studies that
Pawliger 19 ha ve been performed like Johnson and Young's 2002 study. This allowed me to code for specific facets of the commercial: case number, analysis of toy, voice, content, people, environment, technical, and random/notable. Each of these mega codes, with the excep tion of case number, had subsections, mini codes, of additional variables (see also Appendix B). "Analysis of toy" had nine mini codes: gender of toy; color of toy; shape of toy; name of toy; toy manufacturer; type of toy; intended usage of toy; whether o r not the toy has a voice; and whether or not the commercial advertised additions to the toy. "Voice" had three mini codes: child vs. adult (who was speaking), gender of person or people speaking, and the tone of voice. "Content" had five mini codes: the v erbal aspect (a transcription of what was said aloud/audio), whether the commercial was instructional or intended to be entertaining, which terms and/or qualifiers were used to describe the toy, and the written text in the commercial (any text that appeare d on the screen was included in the coding sheet). "People" had three mini codes: the type of people featured in the commercial (age/gender); the interaction type (what the people were doing with each other); and the ethnicity of the people because I noti ced that very few commercials featured people of color. "Environment" had four mini codes: whether or not there was music, including type, and if there was sound or music, whether or not it changed; visuals in the commercial (shapes, for example); content (things in the space); and the color of the space.
Pawliger 20 "Technical" had four mini codes: the duration of the commercial (most were between thirty and sixty seconds and a few were shorter); source (Amazon or the feminist blog); whether or not the case appeared in the boys' and girls' list (this only applied to Amazon commercials); and whether a recommended age was provided. The final mega code, "random," did not have a set number of mini codes; it was established to discuss notable aspects that were not direct ly mentioned in the coding. There were several repeated examples of instances that I categorized in this section: for example, if a commercial only shows a part of a person, if it featured animation, if there were no words said aloud, and if no people were featured in the commercial. Each mega code was chosen to examine gender at a closer level. For example, I decided to look at the role of voice in these commercials because Johnson and Young's (2002) study found that commercials targeting boys always have men narrating, but women do not exclusively narrate commercials targeting girls. This is important to explore further because the implications behind this phenomenon were striking; the implication is that only men can be authorities of male socialization, but women are not the exclusive authorities of female socialization. I created a coding sheet that consisted of various items to examine for detail and others to be quantified. Of the twenty nine mini codes, twenty seven of which were quantifiable except for the transcription of audio and text; all contributed to my qualitative analysis, which I used to analyze the sixty commercials in my sample. There were disadvantages and advantages to the methods I employed. Although the blog sample was already establ ished by someone other than myself (I was not initially involved in the selection of the sample), after I randomized it, I was able to ensure that
Pawliger 21 both samples were of the same size Amazon does not feature all toys; however, it had an extensive list. Also with a larger sample (more cases), I would have gathered more information; however, this was not feasible given my time frame. This study is unique in that it combines scholarly resources and data from popular media. Many recent studies on this topic ha ve been conducted by popular mediums such as blogs. I was able to gather very recent data from blogs (Achille's Effect), which gave me a more up to date analysis because the blogs had the most recent examination of this topic. Because I compared data from Amazon and Achille's Effect, I was able to gain a broader perspective. The two sources were very different and the samples were as well. By applying past research to my current study, more so using some aspects that they focused on and expanding it to incl ude my own, I hope to fill the void that currently exists in academia on this topic.
Pawliger 22 Chapter IV Results/Analysis In this chapter, I present the results and findings from my study, which I organize based on the eight mega and twenty nine mini codes not ed in the previous chapter. Toys themselves are not inherently gendered; however, social meaning is conveyed through various aspects of the advertisements such as the gender of the narrator, the demographics of the actors, the way the toy is described, the color of the background, and the name of the product itself. The codes that I developed and that also arise from my observations of the commercials, allow us to see the ways these social meanings are conveyed through advertisement. This section is organiz ed according to the order that the mega codes and mini codes appeared on my coding sheet. ANALYSIS OF TOY It is necessary to first establish the extent to which the toys themselves are gendered. Later in this chapter, I will also explore other aspects of the advertisement. The mega code "analysis of toy," as noted previously, has nine mini codes. By looking a t gender, color, shape, name, and type of toy I am able to explore the extent to which the toy itself carries gendered meanings. I also explore the intended usage, toy manufacturer, whether or not the toy has a voice or additions to the toy. Analysis of Toy: Gender of Toy Gender of the toy had three options: masculine, feminine, and neutral/ambiguous (or N/A for short). I determined the gender of the toy mainly by noting the use of
Pawliger 23 pronouns to refer to the toy. As a result, toys like Barbie Glamour Camper was neutral/ambiguous because even though it was pink and had other feminine attributes, the camper itself was not explicitly gendered. Out of the total sixty cases, thirteen (21.7%) of the toys were feminine, and eight (13.3%) featured explicitly mascul ine toys. Most of the remaining thirty nine cases (65%) featured neutral/ambiguously gendered toys. As previously noted, this accounted for the majority because most of the toys, though gendered, did not have pronouns referring to them, but did have gender ed characteristics, which were analyzed and will be discussed more extensively throughout this chapter. Table 1A: Gender of Toy Total Gender Frequency Percentage Neutral/Ambiguous 39 65 Feminine 13 21.7 Masculine 8 13.3 A closer analysis reveals that the blog sample contained more gendered products than did the Amazon sample. In the Amazon sample, twenty three of the cases (76.7%) were neutrally/ambiguously gendered; while five of the cases (16.7%) were femininely gendere d and two had masculine gender.
Pawliger 24 Table 1B: Gender of Toy Amazon Gender Frequency Percentage Neutral/Ambiguous 23 76.7 Feminine 5 16.7 Masculine 2 6.7 The blog sample had a slightly different distribution. The majority, sixteen of the thirty cases (53.3%) were neutrally/ambiguously gendered. A bit more than a fourth, eight of the thirty cases (26.7%) were feminine in their gender, while one fifth, six of the thirty cases (20%), had masculine gender. Table 1C: Gender of Toy Blog Gender Frequency Percentage Neutral/Ambiguous 16 53.3 Feminine 8 26.7 Masculine 6 20 Evidently, there is bias in the blogger's selection process, which seems to underestimate the number of toys with a neutral character and may exaggerate the extent of traditional gendered representation in children's advertisement. However, in both cases, there are toys that themselves are gendered and hence continue to contribute to a gender socialization process through advertisement. Provided half of the advertisements are meant for boys and half for girls, it is interesting that in both samples there ar e more feminine toys than masculine. Perhaps this points to there being a greater effort to emphasize feminine identity to girls, while doing so significantly less for boys. This can
Pawliger 25 be explained by the fact that femininity is defined by deviating from the norm, which is masculinity. Analysis of Toy: Color of Toy While analyzing the color of the toy, rather than code by color, I recoded each color or color scheme for gender using the traditional gender stereotypes for colors. Hence, I had these codes: ne utral, masculine, feminine, n/a=none. For example, beige and white were coded as gender neutral colors. Pink was coded as feminine. Red and black were coded as masculine. In the girls' lists, seventeen of the cases (56.7%) had neutral/ambiguous colors. T en of the cases (33.3%) had feminine colors. Finally, three cases (10%) from the girls' lists had masculine colors. Table 2A: Gender of Color of Toy Feminine (Girls') Gender List Gender Frequency Percentage Neutral/Ambiguous 17 56.7 Feminine 10 33.3 Masculine 3 10 The majority of cases, twenty one of thirty (70%), from the boys' lists had masculine color schemes. Eight of the cases (26.7%) had neutral/ambiguous color schemes. Only one case (3.3%) had a feminine color scheme.
Pawliger 26 Table 2B: Gender of C olor of Toy Masculine (Boys') Gender List Gender Frequency Percentage Masculine 21 70 Neutral/Ambiguous 8 26.7 Feminine 1 3.3 Evidently, in my sample and as far as color of the toy is concerned, boys are more likely to be sent a gendered message compared to girls, as feminine colors for girls' toys are observed in 33% of the toys, but they are so for 70% of the boys. Girls are ex posed more often to gender neutral colors in their toys (56.7%) than boys (26.7%). Only based on an analysis of the color of the toy, it therefore, appears that girls have a lower socialization into traditional feminine identities than boys are. Hence, we should be concerned with the way toy makers push a traditional masculine identity on boys. Although in both lists a majority of the toys themselves tend to be of neutral character, for the boys we observe greater push for a particular masculine identity in their coloring, compared to girls. Comparing gender of the toys themselves, we saw that 21.7% are masculine and 13.3% are feminine. The stronger tendency toward masculinity in the toy itself as well as in the color make it clear that traditional masculi ne identity does have a stronger push than traditional feminine identity in children's toys themselves. In terms of the Amazon sample, almost half of the cases, fourteen out of thirty (46.7%) had masculine color schemes. One third of the cases, ten out of thirty, had neutral/ambiguous color. Six cases (20%) had feminine color schemes.
Pawliger 27 Table 2C: Gender of Color of Toy Amazon Gender Frequency Percentage Masculine 14 46.7 Neutral/Ambiguous 10 33.3 Feminine 6 20 The distribution from the blog sample was slightly different. Almost half of the cases, fifteen (50%) had neutral/ambiguous color schemes. One third had masculine color schemes. Five of the cases (16.7%) had feminine color schemes. Table 2D: Gender of Col or of Toy Blog Gender Frequency Percentage Neutral/Ambiguous 15 50 Masculine 10 33.3 Feminine 5 16.7 It is interesting that even though in the gender of the toy itself, the blog sample has a stronger bias toward gendered toys compared to the Amazon list. Yet, in terms of the color of the toy, The Amazon list has a stronger gender bias than those in the blog list. Yet, in both lists there is a stronger tendency toward either neutral or masculine colors and a lower representation of feminine colors. In the combined samples, I found that twenty five of the cases (41.7%) had neutral color schemes. T wenty four of the cases (40%) were masculine in their color/color schemes. Eleven of the cases (18.3%) had feminine color schemes. Hence, the neutral and ma sc uline color schemes were about equally represented, with the fem inine
Pawliger 28 being less than half that of the other colors/color schemes It is possible that this is a reflection that in our society masculine and neutral qualities are seen as default while feminine is less normative o r that masculine traits are closer to neutral than feminine traits are. Table 2E: Gender of Color of Toy Tot al Gender Frequency Percentage Neutral/Ambiguous 25 41.7 Masculine 24 40 Feminine 11 18.3
Pawliger 29 Analysis of Toy: Shape of the Toy Shape of the toy was difficult to consolidate as well, so I recoded this mini code. Initially, I had fifteen different shapes, but I was able to reduce this number to twelve by grouping some of the shapes. For example, car and RV became vehicle; square and rectangle became quad or quadrilaterals. The twelve shapes were quad, scooter, curvy, sphere, doll, tree, dollhouse, a nimal, circular, vehicle, gun, and robot. The shape with the highest frequency was doll, which included Barbies, Bratz dolls, and other similar toys and accounted for nine cases (15%) of the total. The shape with the second highest frequency was vehicle, w hich included Barbie Glamour Camper and various Hot Wheels cars; eight of the cases (13.3%) fell under this category. The shape with the third highest frequency was quad, which included InnoTab Interactive Learning Tablet and IlluStory Make Your Own Story Kit. Curvy, sphere, and animal each accounted for five of the cases (8.3%). Scooter, tree, circular, and gun accounted for four cases each (6.7%). Robot accounted for three cases (5%) and included toys like Transformers. Lastly, dollhouse accounted for two cases (3.3%). Percentages add up to more than 100% because they were rounded to the nearest ten thousandth (if the number in the thousandths place was five or higher).
Pawliger 30 Table 3: Shape of Toy Shape Frequency Percentage Doll 9 15 Vehicle 8 13.3 Quad 7 11.7 Curvy 5 8.3 Sphere 5 8.3 Animal 5 8.3 Tree 4 6.7 Scooter 4 6.7 Circular 4 6.7 Gun 4 6.7 Robot 3 5 Dollhouse 2 3.3 Total 60 100 It seems that the s hape of the toy does not seem to point in any particular direction with regards to the gendering process except that dolls and vehicles account for the highest frequency of the shapes These shapes are consequently the most gendered ; all dolls are feminine and all vehicles are neutral or masculine.
Pawliger 31 Analysis of Toy: Manufacturer of Toy The toys were manufactured by twenty different companies: PlaSmart, Inc, MGA, Fisher Price, Vtech, Razor, Mattel, Kidkraft, cloud b, Creations by You, Blue orange, Bandai, Kid Galaxy, Lifetime, Spin Master, Hudson, Hasbro, Disney, Cepia, Melissa & Doug, an d Ripstik. The manufacturers with highest frequency were Mattel, with seventeen (28.3%), Hasbro with eleven (18.3%), MGA with five (8.3%), Razor with four (6.7%), and Fisher Price and Cepia each with three (5%). PlaSmart, Inc., Vtech, and Lifetime each acc ounted for two commercials (3.3% each). The remaining twelve manufacturers; Vtech, Kidkraft, cloud b, Creations by You, Blue orange, Bandai, Kid Galaxy, Spin Master, Hudson, Disney, Melissa & Doug, and Ripstik accounted for one commercial each (1.7%). Some examples of toys made by the various manufacturers are: Lalaloopsy Suzette La Sweet by MGA; Hot Wheels Custom Motors and Barbie The Princess Charm School Blair Doll by Mattel; Transformers Mega Power Bots and Easy Bake Microwave and Style by Hasbro; Razor Graffiti Chalk Scooter by Razor.
Pawliger 32 Table 4A: Manufacturer (total) Manufacturer Frequency Percentage Mattel 17 28.3 Hasbro 11 18.3 MGA 5 8.3 Razor 4 6.7 Fisher Price 3 5 Cepia 3 5 PlaSmart, Inc 2 3.3 Vtech 2 3.3 Lifetime 2 3.3 Kidkraft 1 1.7 Cloud b 1 1.7 Creations by You 1 1.7 Blue orange 1 1.7 Bandai 1 1.7 Kid Galaxy 1 1.7 Spin Master 1 1.7 Hudson 1 1.7 Disney 1 1.7 Melissa & Doug 1 1.7 Ripstik 1 1.7
Pawliger 33 In terms of the girls' lists specifically, the manufacturer of the toys with the highest frequency was Mattel with nine cases (30%). The manufacturer with the second highest frequency was MGA, which accounted for five cases (16.7%). Hasbro accounted for four cases (13.3%). Cepia and Razor each accounted for two cas es (6.7% each). Disney, Fisher Price, Kidkraft, Lifetime, Melissa & Doug, PlaSmart, Inc., Ripstik, and Vtech each accounted for one case (3.3%). Table 4B: Manufacturer for Combined Girls' Lists Manufacturer Frequency Percentage Mattel 9 30 MGA 5 16.7 Hasbro 4 13.3 Cepia 2 6.7 Razor 2 6.7 Disney 1 3.3 Fisher Price 1 3.3 Kidkraft 1 3.3 Lifetime 1 3.3 Melissa & Doug 1 3.3 PlaSmart, Inc. 1 3.3 Ripstik 1 3.3 Vtech 1 3.3 By separating the girls' lists by sample, we see that four cases from the Amazon and five from the blog girls' list were manufactured by Mattel. Two cases from the
Pawliger 34 Amazon girls' list and three from the blog girls' list were manufactured by MGA. The blog girls' list accounted for the total four cases manufactured by Hasbro. Two c ases from the blog girls' list were manufactured by Cepia. Razor accounted for two cases from the girls' list, specifically Amazon. Only one case from the girls' list was manufactured by Disney and it was from the blog list. Fisher Price, Kidkraft, Lifetim e, Melissa & Doug, PlaSmart, Inc., Ripstik, and Vtech each accounted for one case from the Amazon girls' list. We see that the majority of the blog girls' list cases were produced by Mattel, MGA, and Hasbro, which happen to be the manufacturers with the hi ghest frequency overall. Yet, it is also evident that the Blog has an important underrepresentation of smaller manufacturers, such as Kidkraft, Lifetime, Melissa & Doug, PlaSmart, and Ripstick. While Amazon includes 4 of these, the Blog accounts for 0 of s uch toys. This is relevant, because as I demonstrate later, the larger manufacturers tend to have stronger representation of gendered toys than do the smaller manufacturers.
Pawliger 35 Table 4C: Manufacturers By Girls' Sample Manufacturer Amazon Blog Mattel 4 5 MGA 2 3 Hasbro 0 4 Cepia 0 2 Razor 2 0 Disney 0 1 Fisher Price 1 0 Kidkraft 1 0 Lifetime 1 0 Melissa & Doug 1 0 PlaSmart, Inc. 1 0 Ripstik 1 0 Vtech 1 0 In terms of the boys' lists, we see that more than one fourth (26.7%) of the cases were manufactured by Mattel, which is similar to the girls' lists. We also see that seven of the cases (23.3%) were manufactured by Hasbro (also similar to the girls' lists). Fisher Price and Razor each manufactured two cases (6.7% each). Bandai, Cepia, Hudson, Kid Galaxy, Lifetime, Spin Master, PlaSmart, Inc., Creations by You, Vtech, Blue orange, and cloud b each manufactured one case (3.3% each).
Pawliger 36 Table 4D: Manufacturers for Combined Boys' Lists Manufacturer Frequency Percentage Mattel 8 26.7 Hasbro 7 23.3 Fisher Price 2 6.7 Razor 2 6.7 Bandai 1 3.3 Cepia 1 3.3 Hudson 1 3.3 Kid Galaxy 1 3.3 Lifetime 1 3.3 Spin Master 1 3.3 PlaSmart, Inc. 1 3.3 Creations by You 1 3.3 Vtech 1 3.3 Blue orange 1 3.3 cloud b 1 3.3 By breaking down the boys' lists by sample, we see that the Blog list primarily relies on Mattel and Hasbro toys, while Amazon has a much wider distribution of manufacturers. Provided the Amazon list is selected on the basis of the top selling toys, it is evident that consumption of toys is wider than what is represented in the Blog sample.
Pawliger 37 Table 4E: Frequencies of Manufacturers By Boys' Sample Manufacturer Amazon Blog Mattel 2 6 Hasbro 1 6 Fisher Price 2 0 Razor 2 0 Bandai 1 0 Cepia 0 1 Hudson 0 1 Kid Galaxy 1 0 Lifetime 1 0 Spin Master 0 1 PlaSmart, Inc. 1 0 Creations by You 1 0 Vtech 1 0 Blue orange 1 0 cloud b 1 0 One way to understand the significance of this distribution in the samples is to explore whether particul ar manufacturers have greater or lower tendencies to offer gendered toys, and hence to have their advertisement accentuate traditional gender roles. Evidently, MGA has the highest tendency to sell gendered toys, with all of its toys in my sample being feminine. Matel follows with a litt le over half of its toys (9 out of 17) being gendered. Hasbro and Cepia have about 1/3 of their toys gendered while Razor's
Pawliger 38 toys are all neutral. It is relevant to note that the four cases for Razor in fact represent two toys, each of which are in both th e boys and girls Amazon lists. Grouping the rest of the manufacturers together, given that they have one or two toys represented, these manufacturer s have a tendency toward gender neutral toys.
Pawliger 39 Table 4F: Frequency of Gender of Toy by Manufacturers Manufacturer F M N/A Mattel 6 3 8 Hasbro 1 2 8 MGA 5 0 0 Razor 0 0 4 Cepia 0 1 2 Fisher Price 0 0 3 Lifetime 0 0 2 PlaSmart, Inc. 0 0 2 Vtech 0 0 2 Kid Galaxy 0 0 1 Kidkraft 0 0 1 Spin Master 0 1 0 Ripstik 0 0 1 Creations by You 0 0 1 Disney 1 0 0 Hudson 0 0 1 Melissa & Doug 0 0 1 Bandai 0 1 0 Blue orange 0 0 1 cloud b 0 0 1 Total 13 8 39
Pawliger 40 Overall, by breaking the frequency of manufacturers by total sample, we see that Mattel manufactured six cases from the Amazon sample and eleven from the blog sample. Hasbro manufactured one case from the Amazon sample and ten from the blog sample. Mattel and Hasbro manufactured twenty one of the total thirty cases (70%) from the blog list. MGA manufactured two cases from the Amazon list and three from the blog list. All four cases manufactured by Razor and all three manufactured by Fisher Price appeared in the Amazon list. Cepia manufactured three cases from the blog list. Lifetime, PlaSmart, Inc., and Vtech each manufactured two cases that appeared in the Amazon list. Kid Galaxy, Kidkraft, Ripstik, Creations by You, Melissa & Doug, Bandai, Blue orange, and cloud b each manufactured one case that appeared in the Amazon list. Disney, Hudson, and Spin Master each manufactured one case that appeared in the blog list.
Pawliger 41 Table 4G: Frequency of Manufacturers by Total Sample Manufacturer Amazon Blog Mattel 6 11 Hasbro 1 10 MGA 2 3 Razor 4 0 Cepia 0 3 Fisher Price 3 0 Lifetime 2 0 PlaSmart, Inc. 2 0 Vtech 2 0 Kid Galaxy 1 0 Kidkraft 1 0 Spin Master 0 1 Ripstik 1 0 Creations by You 1 0 Disney 0 1 Hudson 0 1 Melissa & Doug 1 0 Bandai 1 0 Blue orange 1 0 cloud b 1 0 Total 30 30
Pawliger 42 If the b log sample relies primarily on Matel, Habro, MGA, and Cepia toys, it should not be surprising that they would find a heavy tendency in advertisement to perpetuate gender stereotypes. The Amazon sample, which includes Razor with four toys but only one toy from Hasbro, ha s a tendency toward more gender neutral toys. The only toys that repeat is in Amazon, so that shows there is a potential for gender neutrality So perhaps while advertisement is gendered, adve rtisements may not be as gendered as some scholars and activists think they are. The only toys that overlap are gender neutral or masculine, while feminine toys do not overlap. So it is more acceptable for girls to play with masculine/neutral toys than f or boys to play with feminine toys.
Pawliger 43 Analysis of Toy: Type of Toy There were nine toy types: creative, athletic, educational, doll, interactive, play, dollhouse, battle, and nurture. There were more categories initially, but I reduced the number to nine b y consolidating similar groups. The type of toy with the highest frequency was battle, which accounted for seventeen cases (28.3%) and included toys like ThunderCats ThunderTank with Exclusive Snarf and WWE Colossal Crashdown Arena Playset. The type with t he second highest frequency was doll, which accounted for eleven cases (18.3%) and included toys like Barbie Fashionistas BFF dolls and Monster High Dolls. Athletic and educational each accounted for eight (13.3%) of the cases. Some examples of athletic to ys are Lifetime Portable Tetherball System and the various Razor Scooters. Some examples of educational toys are Little People Zoo Talkers Animal Sounds Zoo and Perplexus Maze Game. There were six toys, which account for 10% of the total that fell under th e creative category. Some examples of creative toys are Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel and Hot Wheels Custom Motors. Nurture, interactive, and play each accounted for three commercials (5% each). Some examples of each are: Furreal Friends Lulu Cuddli n' Kitty for nurture; Fijit Friends Interactive Toy for interactive; Barbie Sisters Family Camper/Barbie Sisters Go Camping! Camper for play. There was one toy (1.7%) that was a dollhouse and it was the Kidkraft Suite Elite Dollhouse.
Pawliger 44 Table 5: Type of Toy Type Frequency Percentage Battle 17 28.3 Doll 11 18.3 Athletic 8 13.3 Educational 8 13.3 Creative 6 10 Interactive 3 5 Play 3 5 Nurture 3 5 Dollhouse 1 1.7
Pawliger 45 Analysis of Toy: Intended Usage of Toy The next mini code of analysis was for intended usage of the toy, which examined aspects of the toy such as whether the toy was intended for play, education, or other. It also included whether the toy intended for one person or in a group setting. The op tions for the first part of this code were educational, play, play/interactive, educational/relaxing, play/educational/creative, and play/educational. Fifty of the cases, (83.3%) were for play and included toys such as Cars 2 Secret Spy Attack Finn McMissi le and Moxie Girlz Summer Swim Magic Dolls. Four of the cases were educational, which accounts for 6.7%. Some examples of educational toys are Cloud b Twilight Constellation Night Light and InnoTab Interactive Learning Tablet. Three of the cases (5%) fell under the category of play/educational. Some examples of these toys are Spot It and Little People Zoo Talkers Animal Sounds Zoo. Play/interactive, educational/relaxing, and play/educational/creative each account for 1.7% of the total. Table 6: Intended Us age Play vs. Educational Type Frequency Percentage Play 50 83.3 Educational 4 6.7 Play/educational 3 5 Play/interactive 1 1.7 Educational/relaxing 1 1.7 Play/educational/creative 1 1.7
Pawliger 46 The next part of this mini code looked at whether the toy was intended for group or individual use, or both. The majority, forty three of the sixty cases (71.7%) fell under group/individual, by which I mean it was intended for group and/or individual use. Some examples of toys that qualified as group/individual w ere Barbie Sisters Family Camper/Barbie Sisters Go Camping!. Camper and Cloud b Twilight Constellation Night Light. Nine of the cases (15%) were intended for group use, which included Hot Wheels Color Shifters Octo and Beyblades Metal Fusion. The remaining eight cases (13.3%) were intended for individual use. Some examples of toys that were intended for individual use include Furreal Friends Lulu Cuddlin' Kitty and Perplexus Maze Game. Table 7: Intended Usage Group vs. Individual Type Frequency Percentage Group/individual 43 71.7 Group 9 15 Individual 8 13.3
Pawliger 47 Analysis of Toy: Voice of Toy The next mini code looked at voice, specifically in terms of whether or not the toy itself had a voice. In the next subsection I address voice in the commercial that is not emanating from the toy. The options for this mini code were yes, no, no (animal sounds), and yes (in the commercial only). The majority, forty two cases (70%) of the toys, like Ripstik Caster Board and Littlest Pet Shop Playful Paws Daycare did not have voices. Eleven of the cases (18.3%) featured toys with voices. Some examples of these toys include Kung Zhu Battle Hamsters and Fijit Friends Interactive Toy. Five of the cases (8.3%) featured toys with voices that were only for the commercial (the t oy itself did not have a voice). Some examples of such toys are Matchbox Wolf Mountain and Transformers Constructicon Devastator. Only two cases or 3.3% fell under the no, only animal sounds category. These two cases are Zhu Zhu Puppies and Zhu Zhu Pets Sa fari. Table 8A: Toy Voice (Total) Voice Frequency Percentage No 42 70 Yes 11 18.3 Yes (in commercial only) 5 8.3 No (animal sounds) 2 3.3
Pawliger 48 By examining the frequency of toy of voice for the boys' lists, we see that the majority, twenty one out of thirty (70%) do not have voices. Twelve cases from the Amazon boys' list and nine cases from the blog boys' list do not have voices for toys. Out of the thirty cases from the boys' lists, seven of the toys (23.3%) have voices; three cases from the Amazon b oys' list and four cases from the blog boys' list. Two cases, from the blog boys' list showed toys speaking; however, the toys only had voices in the commercials (not in actuality). Table 8B: Voice of Toy for Boys' Lists Sample N Y Y, in commercial Amazon 12 3 0 Blog 9 4 2 Total 21 7 2
Pawliger 49 For the girls' lists, we see that the majority, twenty one out of thirty (70%) do not have voices, which is identical to the boys' lists. Twelve cases from the Amazon girls' list and nine cases from the blog girls' list do not have voices for toys. Two cases from the blog girls' list have animal sounds, which never occurs in any of the boys' commercials. Two cases from the Amazon girls' list and blog girls' list feature toys with voices. One case from the Amazon girl s' list and two from the blog girls' list showed toys speaking; however, the toys only had voices in the commercials (not in actuality). Table 8C: Voice of Toy for Girls' Lists Sample N N, animal noises Y Y, in commercial Amazon 12 0 2 1 Blog 9 2 2 2 Total 21 2 4 3 By comparing the boys' lists and girls' lists, we see that there were an equal number of cases that did not feature toys with voices (21 cases, 70% each). The only cases that featured animal noises were from the girls' lists; boys' lists did not feature an y commercials with animal noises. Four of the girls' cases and seven of the boys' cases featured toys with voices. Three cases from the girls' lists and two from the boys' lists featured toys speaking; however, the toys only had voices in the commercials ( not in actuality).
Pawliger 50 Table 8D: Gender List by Voice of Toy List N N, animal noises Y Y, in commercial Girls' 21 2 4 3 Boys' 21 0 7 2 Total 42 2 11 5 When we divide the voices by total sample, we see that twenty four out of thirty cases (80%) from the Amazon sample did not feature toys with voices. Eighteen out of thirty cases (60%) from the blog did not either. The two cases that featured animal noises were from the blog. Five cases from the Amazon list and six from the blog list featured toys with voices. One case from the Amazon list and four from the blog depicted toys speaking; however, the toys only had voices in the commercials (not in actuality). Table 8E: Voice of Toy by Total Sample Sample N N, animal noises Y Y, in commercial Amazon 24 0 5 1 Blog 18 2 6 4 Total 42 2 11 5 Analysis of Toy: Additions to Toy The last mini code for the analysis of toy mega code was additions to toy, which had two parts: whether or not there were additions to the toy that were advertised and if there were, how were they described, if at all. The majority, thirty five of the sixty cases, (58.3%) did not advertise additions to the toy. The remaining twenty five cases (41.7%)
Pawliger 51 did advertise additions to the toy in the commercial. Two of the cases (3.3%) describe d the additions to the toy as fun. The toy that fell under this category was InnoTab Interactive Learning Tablet, which due to random selection was chosen and analyzed twice. One of the cases (1.7%) advertised an addition to the toy and described it as awe some. This case was Hot Wheels Trick Tracks. One of the cases (1.7%) advertised an addition to the toy and said it "totally comes with." This case was Monster High Doll. Table 9A: Additions to Toy Y/N Frequency Percentage No 35 58.3 Yes 25 41.7 Yes, fun 2 3.3 Yes, awesome 1 1.7 Yes, totally comes with 1 1.7 In terms of additions to toys, we see that nine cases (60%) from the Amazon girls' list do not advertise additions. Six cases (40%) of the blog girls' list do not advertise additions either. Six cases (40%) from the Amazon girls' list and nine cases (60%) from the blog girls' list advertise additions to the toy. Table 9B: Additions to Toy for Girls' Lists Sample N Y Amazon 9 6 Blog 6 9 Total 15 15
Pawliger 52 For the boys' lists, in terms of additions to toys, we see that twelve cases (80%) from the Amazon boys' list do not advertise additions. Eight cases (53.3%) of the blog boys' list do not advertise additions either. Three cases (20%) from the Amazon boys' list and seven cases (46.7%) from the blog boys' list advertise additions to the toy. Table 9C: Additions to Toy for Boys' Lists Sample N Y Amazon 12 3 Blog 8 7 Total 20 10 By examining the frequencies of additions to toy by sample, we see that twenty one cases (70%) from the Amazon list and fourteen cases (46.7%) from the blog list do not advertise additions to the toy; however, we see that nine cases (30%) from the Amazon list and sixteen cases (53.3%) from the blog list do advertise additions to the toy in the commercial. Table 9D: Additions to Toy by Sample Sample N Y Amazon 21 9 Blog 14 16 Total 35 25
Pawliger 53 Overall, 50% of the girls' cases did advertise additions to the toy; 50% did not. Twenty cases from the boys' lists (66.7%) did not advertise additions; however, ten cases (33.3%) did advertise additions. Thirty five out of the total sixty cases (58.3%) did not advertise additions to the toys; twenty five out of the sixty cases (41.7%) did. Table 9E: Frequency of Gender List by Additions to Toy Gender List N Y Girls' 15 15 Boys' 20 10 Total 35 25 Girls' toys advertise additions to toy s more frequently which could indicate that purchasing additions or accessories to toys has the power to make products more feminine ; the more additions to girls' toys, the less masculine (more feminine) the product. Summary of the Analysis of Toy: In this subsection, we explored gender, color, shape, manufacturer, type, intended usage, voice, and additions advertised of the toy. I did not include name of the toy because the only names t hat repeated were toys that were selected twice and another section speaks about those more in depth. We see that almost half of the Amazon sample has masculine color schemes (46.7% each) where as the blog has almost half of the toys as gender neutral in th eir color schemes (46.7%). This result is not surprising because of the alignment of masculinity with gender neutrality; m ore of an effort is required to make a product feminine. Amazon has almost 25% more neutrally/ambiguously gendered toys.
Pawliger 54 Both samples have more masculine and gender neutral color schemes than feminine color schemes suggesting masculine neutrality Interestingly, in terms of the gender of the toy itself, the samples have similar frequencies; most of the toys have neutral/ambiguous gende r, followed by feminine gender, and lastly masculine gender. This pattern is striking because it seems to be the opposite of the gender of color distribution. Twenty four of the total thirty cases (80%) from the blog list were manufactured by Mattel, Hasbr o, and MGA, which accounted for the majority of the sample. The blog lists advertised more additions to the toys than the Amazon sample did. We also see that cases from the girls' lists were more likely to advertise additions t o the to the toy, suggesting that femininity is the outlier and requires much distance from neutrality and/or masculinity For example animal noises were unique to girls' commercials; they did not appear in boys' advertisements. When we compared the boys' lists and girls' lists, we s aw that there were an equal number of cases that did not feature toys with voices (21 cases, 70% each). Girls' toys were more likely to have voices, a distinct mark of femini ni ty. One point that we gather from this section is that gendering occurs in layers; a shape may not be explicitly gendered; however, once a name, voice, and color, for example, are applied to a toy, it gains gender. With this understanding of the way the toys themselves are presented, we can now turn to the role of voice in the co mmercial.
Pawliger 55 VOICE The next mega code is voice, which involves three mini codes, including a question of who was speaking in the advertisement in terms of age, one about gender of the voice, and one about tone. Voice: Age of Speaker There were four opt ions for the first mini code: child, adult, both, or none. The majority, thirty five cases (58.3%) of the commercials only featured adults speaking. Some examples of such commercials were Nerf Vortex Nitron and Razor Chalk Scooter. This shows that adults a re targeted first; adults add legitimacy to advertisements. Seventeen cases (28.3%) featured children and adults speaking. A couple of examples of these cases are Matchbox Big Rigs: Stinky and Polly Pocket Pop up Glamper. Seven cases (11.7%) did not have a ny voices. Kid Galaxy Spin 'n Go Fire Truck and Fisher Price I Can Play Basketball both fell under this category. Only one case (1.7%) had only a child speaking. This case was the commercial for Furreal Snuggimals. Table 10: Voice of Speakers (Age) Age Group Frequency Percentage Adult 35 58.3 Both (child/adult) 17 28.3 N/A (none) 7 11.7 Child 1 1.7
Pawliger 56 Voice: Gender of Speaker The second part of this mini code looked at the gender of the speaker. There were five options for this mini code: masculine, feminine, both, ambiguous, and none. There were no ambiguous voices. Each of the commercials had a primary speaker or narrator. Th e gender of the targeted audiences almost always correlated with the gender of the narrator. Commercials that featured voices from multiple genders were usually from the actors and narrators; none of the commercials had multiple narrators, nor did they hav e narrators of mixed gender. Twenty five cases (41.7%) of the commercials had feminine voices. Some examples of commercials with feminine voices were Barbie Glamour Camper and Barbie I Can Be (Babysitter and Dentist). Twenty six cases (43.3%) of the comm ercials had masculine voices. Some examples of commercials with masculine voices were Transformers Mega Power Bots and Nerf N Strike Longstrike. Two cases (3.3%) of the commercials had both masculine and feminine voices. Examples of commercials that featur ed masculine and feminine voices are Disney Tangled Sing and Glow Light up Rapunzel Doll and Little People Zoo Talkers Animal Sounds Zoo. Seven cases (11.7%) of the commercials did not feature voices. Some examples of commercials without voices are Kidkraf t Suite Elite Dollhouse and IlluStory Make Your Own Story Kit. In all of the commercials, the voices were clearly masculine or feminine.
Pawliger 57 Table 11: Gender of Speakers Gender Frequency Percentage Masculine 26 43.3 Feminine 25 41.7 None 7 11.7 Both 2 3.3 Ambiguous 0 0 Voice: Tone of Speaker The next mini code looked at the tone of the person speaking. There were eleven options for tone: N/A(none), excited/aggressive, encouraging/calm, calm/excited, excited/singing, calm/nurturing, nurturing, calm, silly, aggressive, and excited. The tone with the highest frequency was excited, which accounted for twenty three cases and about 38.3% of the total. Some commercials with this tone were Barbie The Princess Charm School Blair Doll and Fijit Friends Interactive Toy. Eight cases (13.3%) featured speake rs with an excited/aggressive tone. Some examples of commercials with an excited/aggressive tone include ThunderCats ThunderTank with Exclusive Snarf and Nerf Vortex Nitron. Seven (11.7%) did not have voices and as a result, did not have tone. Excited/sing ing and aggressive each had six cases (10% each). Examples of commercials that featured an excited/singing tone include Hot Wheels Custom Motors and Disney Pixie Powder Hamsters and Bakugan Dragonoid Destroyer. Three cases (5%) of the commercials feature d a speaker with a calm/excited tone. Some examples of commercials with calm/excited tones are Razor A Kick Scooter and Mini Lalaloopsy Treehouse Playset. Nurturing and calm each accounted for two
Pawliger 58 cases (3.3% each). Some examples of commercials with nurtur ing tones are Easy Bake Microwave & Style and Lalaloopsy Suzette La Sweet. Commercials with calm tones include Lifetime Portable Tetherball System, which was selected and analyzed twice. One case (1.7%) featured a commercial with a silly tone. This commerc ial was Matchbox Big Rigs: Stinky. One case (1.7%) featured a commercial with an encouraging/calm tone. This commercial was Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel. Lastly, one case (1.7%) featured a person who spoke with a calm/nurturing tone. This commercia l was Cloud b Twilight Constellation Night Light.
Pawliger 59 Table 12: Tone of Speakers Tone Frequency Percentage Excited 23 38.3 Excited/aggressive 8 13.3 N/A 7 11.7 Excited/singing 6 10 Aggressive 6 10 Calm/excited 3 5 Nurturing 2 3.3 Calm 2 3.3 Encouraging/calm 1 1.7 Calm/nurturing 1 1.7 Silly 1 1.7 Summary of Voice Section: In this subsection, we explored age, gender, and tone of the speakers in the commercials. Overall, in terms of voice in the commercial, we find that most of the voices present in commercials are those of adults, most of whom are masculine, and speaking wi th an excited tone. We a lso see that most of the genders of the narrators correlates with the gender of the targeted audience which shows that the targeted audience is clearly established The implications of this finding will be discussed further in the people section of this thesis. With this understanding of the way the toys themselves are presented through speaking, we can now turn to the role of content in the commercial.
Pawliger 60 CONTENT The next mega code was content, which had four mini codes: verbal (vocal), form of commercial, terms used, and written text. Content: Verbal (Vocal) The first mini code had only two options, yes or no. I initially coded this as verbal, but vocal is a more a ppropriate term. The majority, fifty three of the sixty cases (88.3%) had a vocal element. Seven cases (11.7%) did not feature a vocal element. Content: Form of Commercial Initially, there were two forms of commercials, however, more were added througho ut the coding process. There were eventually four options for commercial forms: demo, informative, instructional/informative, and entertainment. The form of commercial with the highest frequency was entertainment, which accounted for fifty of the cases (83 .3%) of the total. Some examples of cases that qualified as entertainment were Disney Tangled Sing and Glow Light up Rapunzel Doll and Kidkraft Suite Elite Dollhouse. Six of the cases (10%) were in informative form. These include Cloud b Twilight Constella tion Night Light and InnoTab Interactive Learning Tablet. Two cases (3.3%) were in demo form. This was another repeated case, Razor A Kick Scooter. One case (1.7%) was in the form of an instructional/informative commercial. This case was Spot It.
Pawliger 61 Table 13: Form of commercial Form Frequency Percentage Entertainment 50 83.3 Informative 6 10 Demo 2 3.3 Instructional/informative 1 1.7 Content: Qualifiers The next mini code was qualifiers, which was used to more closely analyze the verbal (vocal) mega code. Most of the commercials featured audio, which was transcribed. This mini code provides an examination of the repeated terms used as descriptors in the advertisements. This code was inspired by Achilles' Effect blog, specifically the study that t hey performed on this topic. Part of my aim was to replicate their study, while incorporating my own methods and sample; this is how I succeeded in doing so. The terms that had the highest frequency were the most gendered ones such as power, with a frequen cy of ten, and magic, with a frequency of nine. Power was used exclus ively in boy's advertisements; m agic was used exclusively in girl's advertisements.
Pawliger 62 Table 14: Qualifiers Word Frequency Notes lightweight 2 popular 2 killer 2 ultimate 2 machine 2 1 machine, I machines whimsical 2 imagination 2 loves 2 special 2 kids 2 exciting 2 creativity 2 kickin' 2 tricks 2 color 2 interactive 2 best friend(s) 2 fabulous 2 sisters 2 princess 2 transforms 2 strong 2 safe 2 aggressive 2 harsh 2 entertain 2 relax 2 pets 2 cool 2 surprise 2 glow 2 create 2 quick 2 competition 2 2 activate 2 extreme 2 target 2 missile(s) 2 1 missile, 1 missiles hard(er) 2 beat 2
Pawliger 63 giant 2 destroyed 2 car(s) 2 assemble 2 monster 2 secret 2 testing 2 robot(s) 2 super 2 rapid 2 smile 2 splash(y) 2 style 2 change 2 climb(ing) 2 beautiful 3 cute 3 pretty 3 awesome 3 easy 3 family 3 game(s) 3 little 3 littlest 1, little 2 blasting 3 evil 3 force(s) 3 transform 3 heroes 3 1 hero, 2 heroes blaster(s) 3 rip 3 glam 3 fast 4 favorite(s) 4 girl 4 party 4 weapons 4 hit(ting) 4 3 hit, 1 hitting friend(s) 5 action 5 attack(ing) 5 4 attack, 1 attacking play(s) 6 fire 6
Pawliger 64 launch 6 3 launch, 1 launches, 1 launcher, 1 launching love 7 battle 7 new 8 fun 9 magic 9 3 magic, 5 magical, 1 magically power 10 4 power, 3 powerful, 2 powers, 1 powered Content: Written Text Fifty nine of the cases (98.3%) had written text. There was only one commercial (1.7%) that did not have written text. This commercial was the commercial for the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel. Summary of Content Section: In this subsection, we e xplored verbal (vocal), form of commercial, terms used (qualifiers), and written text in the commercials. Overall, in terms of content of the commercial, we find that most of the commercials have sound and written text which shows an attempt to reach an a udience through all active modes of communication We also see that most of the commercials are in the form of entertainment reinforcing the role of the viewe r as a spectator deprived of agency in being conditioned to gender roles. Additionally, there was a pattern in terms of qualifiers in the commercials; power, magic,
Pawliger 65 and battle isolated along gendered divides. These terms are reflective of gendered socialization. For example, power/empowerment is emphasized throughout boys' socialization and is largely absent from girls' socialization; this is reflected through gender specific advertising. With this understanding of the content of the commercials themselves, we can now turn to the role of people in the commercials. PEOPLE The next mega code was people which was an examination of the people featured in the various advertisements. Forty eight of the commercials (80%) featured people. Five of the commercials (8.3%) only featured hands. Seven of the commercials (11.7%) did not feature any people. People: Type (Gender and Age) Twenty three of the commercials (38.3%) featured boys. Thirty seven of the commercials (61.7%) did not feature boys. There were forty six boys featured in total. Twenty six of the commercials (43.3%) featured girls. Thirty four (56. 7%) of the commercials did not. There was a total of fifty two girls featured in the commercials. Five of the commercials (8.3%) featured masculine teens. Fifty five of the commercials (91.7%) of the commercials did not feature masculine teens. There was a total of eighteen masculine teens featured in the commercials. There were no feminine teenagers featured in the commercials. There was only one toddler featured in any of the commercials, which accounted for 1.7%. Fifty nine (98.3%) did not feature toddle rs. Seven of the commercials (11.7%) featured adult men. Fifty three (88.3%) of the commercials did not
Pawliger 66 feature adult men. There was a total of twenty three adult men featured in the commercials; One commercial featured fifteen adult men, which accounted f or 65.2% of the total adult men featured. Nine of the commercials (15%) featured adult women. Fifty one of the commercials (85%) did not feature adult women. There was a total of ten adult women featured in the commercials. People: Interaction Type In terms of interaction type, ten of the commercials (16.7%) did not feature people interacting. Twenty four of the commercials (40%) featured people playing. Six of the commercials (10%) featured people interacting as family. Two of the commercials (3.3%) featured kids doing tricks with their toys. Nine of the commercials (15%) featured battle interactions. One commercial (1.7%) featured art as the foundation for interaction. Two of the commercials (3.3%) featured people using the toy. Three of the commerc ials (5%) featured people playing and laughing as the interaction type. Two of the commercials (3.3%) had dancing as the interaction type. One commercial (1.7%) featured talking as the interaction type. People: Race/Ethnicity The next mini code focused on the racial/ethnic background of the people featured in the commercials. I found that six of the commercials (10%) featured people of Hispanic/Latino/a descent. Fifty four of the commercials (90%) did not. There was a total of eight people of Hispanic/L atino/a descent featured in the commercials. Six of the commercials (10%) featured people of Asian descent. Fifty four of the commercials
Pawliger 67 (90%) did not. There was a total of nine people of Asian descent featured in the commercials. Eleven of the commercial s (18.3%) featured black people. Forty nine of the commercials (81.7%) did not. There was a total of nineteen black people featured in the commercials. One of the commercials (1.7%) featured ethnically ambiguous people. Fifty nine of the commercials (98.3% ) did not feature any ethnically ambiguous people. There was a total of one ethnically ambiguous person featured in the commercials. No commercials had people of mixed race and gender together. The most notable cases in terms of race/ethnicity were Little People Zoo Talkers Animal Sounds Zoo, Spot It, and IlluStory Make Your Own Story Kit. Summary of People Section: In this subsection, we explored type (age/gender), interaction type, and race/ethnicity of the people in the commercials. Overall, in terms of people in the commercials, we see that most of the commercials (80%) featured people, but there was a strong lack of diversity, especially in terms of race/ethnicity. We also see that almost half (40%) of the commercials feature people playing. Addition ally, there was a pattern in terms of race/ethnicity and gender in the commercials; there were no commercials that had groups of mixed race and gender Such a trend confirms the media's role in the homogenous socialization of children Furthermore, many of the racial/ethnic minorities featured were depicted in stereotypical ways and often especially in the case of boys' commercials, only shown in frames with a white male counterpart. The most salient example of negative stereotypes in an advertisement occurred in Little People Zoo Talkers Animal Sounds Zoo, which was the only commercial to exclusively feature
Pawliger 68 people of color, specifically a black family. In this commercial, the father was heard, but never seen, which serves to reflect s ocial stereotypes of absent fathers in black families. Additionally, most of what was said, especially by the children, was animal (jungle) sounds. With this understanding of the people featured in the commercials, we can now turn to the role of environmen t in the commercials. ENVIRONMENT The next mega code was environment, which was an examination of the background or environment in the various advertisements. Environment had four mini codes, which were sound/music, visuals, content of space, and color of space. Environment: Sound/Music Fifty nine cases (98.3%) of the commercials featured sound or music. One (1.7%) of the commercials did not have sound of music. In terms of type of music or sound, two of the commercials (3.3%) featured Disney like mu sic. Nineteen of the commercials (31.7%) featured rock music. One commercial (1.7%) featured rap music. One commercial (1.7%) featured sound effects. Four of the commercials (6.7%) featured action music. Thirteen of the commercials (21.7%) featured pop mus ic. Five of the commercials (8.3%) featured electronic music. Nine of the commercials (15%) featured instrumental music. Five of the commercials (8.3%) featured drumming. One commercial (1.7%) did not feature any sound or music. Fourteen of the commercials (23.3%) had music or sound that changed. Forty six of the commercials (76.7%) of the commercials did not have any change in sound or
Pawliger 69 music. As previously stated, forty six of the commercials (76.7%) of the commercials did not have any change in sound or m usic. One commercial (1.7%) changed to parade music. One commercial (1.7%) changed to acoustic music. One commercial (1.7%) changed to electronic music. Nine of the commercials (15%) changed to sound effects. Two of the commercials (3.3%) featured music th at became more intense. Environment: Visuals This mini code was created in order to note specific animations or visual features of the advertisements, which included color and basic description. It was in the format of a fill in, so there was a variety of responses. The visual with the highest frequency was ovals, which appeared in ten cases. Circles appeared in eight cases. The color with the highest frequency was red, which was present in fourteen cases, then yellow and blue, which were each present in thirteen cases, followed by pink, which was present in twelve cases. Nine of the cases featured visuals of their logos. Hearts, flames, animals, and musical notes each appeared in four commercials. Four commercials did not have visuals.
Pawliger 70 Table 16: Visua ls Table 16: Visuals A(Color) B (Visual) Visual Frequency Heart(s) 4 Flowers 3 Oval(s) 10 Spheres 3 Circle(s) 8 Stars 3 Flame(s) 4 Animals 4 Musical Note 4 Spiral(s) 3 Logo 9 Square 2 Rectangle 2 Lips 2 Skull 1 Laser 2 N/A 4 Color Frequency Pink 12 Black 4 Gold 2 Green 1 Orange 2 Blue 13 Purple 6 Yellow 13 Red 14
Pawliger 71 Environment: Content This mini code was created to examine the various objects that were present in the room or scene where the commercial took place. This was also in the form of a fill in, so there was a variety of responses. Many of the items were reoccurring. For example, the item that appeared most frequently in cases was tables, which appeared in twelve cases. Animals were present in ten different commercials. Cars were depicted in six different advertisements. Trees, chairs, books, and rocks each appeared in five commerc ials. Couches, windows, plants, grass, and kitchens/cooking supplies were each featured in four different advertisements. Mountains, sand, houses, warehouses, urban landscapes, water/ocean, pools, and paints/painted areas were each depicted in three advert isements. Lamps, beds, bedrooms, bathrooms, cookies, gates, Barbies/dolls, dollhouses, hammocks, streets, fires, benches, boulders, and wooden floors were each featured in two different commercials. Only one commercial showed a desk. Six commercials lacked objects.
Pawliger 72 Table 17: Content Content Frequency Tables 12 Animals 10 Cars 6 N/A 6 Trees 5 Chairs 5 Books 5 Rocks 5 Couches 4 Windows 4 Plants 4 Grass 4 Kitchen/Cooking 4 Mountains 3 Sand 3 Houses 3 Warehouses 3 Urban Landscape 3 Water/ocean 3 Pools 3 Paints/painted 3 Lamps 2 Beds 2 Bedrooms 2 Bathrooms 2 Cookies 2 Gates 2
Pawliger 73 Barbies/dolls 2 Dollhouses 2 Hammocks 2 Streets 2 Fires 2 Benches 2 Boulders 2 Wooden Floors 2 Desk 1
Pawliger 74 Environment: Color of Space (Gendered) In order to simplify the analysis, I applied the same rules from gender of the color of the toy to the color of the space. I ended up with three options for this mini code: neutral, masculine, and feminine. The gender of color that had the highe st frequency was masculine, which accounted for twenty five cases (41.7%) of the total. Neutral accounted for twenty three cases (38.3%) of the total. Feminine accounted for twelve cases (20%) of the total. Summary of Environment Section: In this subse ction, environment we explored the background or environment in the various advertisements. Environment had four mini codes, which were sound/music, visuals, content of space, and color of space in the commercials. Overall, in terms of the sound of the com mercials, we see that most of the commercials, fifty nine cases to be exact (98.3%) of the commercials featured sound or music. There was variety in the types of sound and music. The types included Disney like music, rock music, rap music, sound effects, a ction music, pop music, electronic music, instrumental music, drumming. Fourteen of the commercials (23.3%) had music or sound that changed; the majority did not change. We see that the visual and content section had a wide range of responses, content espe cially, but that most of the terms repeated at least once. This pattern reinforces and exemplifies the reproduction and perpetuation of visual stereotypes in advertising. In terms of color of space, we see that the majority of the cases have masculine colo rs in terms of the background/space, thereby implicitly affirming
Pawliger 75 masculine neutrality With this understanding of the environment featured in the commercials, we can now turn to the technical aspects of the commercials. TECHNICAL The next mega code foc used on the technical aspects of the advertisements. It had three mini codes, which were duration of commercial, source, whether or not it was a repeated case, and recommended age (if provided). Technical: Duration of Commercial: In terms of duration of commercial, the mean was 40 seconds. The median duration of commercial was 31 seconds. The mode duration of commercial was 30 seconds. The range was 115 seconds. The longest commercial was 130 seconds long, which was for Spot it. The shortest duration was 15 seconds, which was the length of the commercial for Barbie Fashionistas BFF dolls and Furreal Snuggimals. Technical: Source The cases were divided evenly between amazon and blog sources; there were thirty cases from each; fifteen from boy's Amazon, fi fteen from girl's Amazon, fifteen from boy's blog, and fifteen from girl's blog. Technical: Repeat None of the cases from the blog repeated which shows the potential for bias on the part of the initial selector the blog. Seventeen cases (28.3%) appeare d in the boy's and girl's lists, however, as previously stated, these cases were only from Amazon. These
Pawliger 76 repeated commercials accounted for multiple cases, some appeared on both lists, but were only selected once. The repeated cases were 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 12, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23 24, 25 26 and 27 (see Appendix A) ; Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel, Razor A Kick Scooter, Ripstik Caster Board, Perplexus Maze Game, Little People Zoo Talkers Animal Sounds Zoo, InnoTab Interactive Learning Tablet, Razor Graffiti Chalk Scooter, Lifetime Portable Tetherball System, Razor A Kick Scooter, Perplexus Maze Game, IlluStory Make Your Own Story Kit, Razor Graffiti Chalk Scooter, Little People Zoo Talkers Animal Sounds Zoo, InnoTab Interactive Learning Tablet, Kid Galaxy Spin 'n Go Fire Truck, Fisher Price I Can Play Basketball, and Lifetime Portable Tetherball System Thirteen cases (21.7%) did not repeat and thirty cases (50%); the blog sample, did not repeat. The majority of these cases were coded as gender neutral. Technical: Recommended Age Fifty seven of the cases (95%) did not provide recommended ages; the remaining three cases (5%) did. Two of the cases, (3.3%) specified that the toy intended for children 5 and older. This was another repeated case, the Razor A Kick Scooter. One case speci fied that the toy was intended for ages 6+. This case was for the commercial for Spot It. Interestingly, girls' toys did not have recommended ages with the exception of the Razor A Kick Scooter, which was a repeated case. The eight mega codes interact to provide a comprehensive picture of how gender is communicated through the various advertisements. Each mega code provides an in depth examination of a single aspect of the advertisement and the mini codes allow for
Pawliger 77 more det ail and depth to be gained. Collectively, these mega and mini codes paint a vivid picture of the ways in which gender is communicated through advertising. We see that the toys are not explicitly gendered, with some exceptions; however, many of the aspects are gendered or can be analyzed in a gendered fashion, like color for example. Such codes ultimately reaffirm the conflation of masculinity and gender neutrality, thereby situating femininity as a distinct sociocultural other.
Pawliger 78 Chapter V Discussion/Concl usion In this chapter, I present the discussion of my results and provide suggestions for future research to be conducted on this topic. I connect theory from my introduction and literature review with the findings I presented in the previous chapter. Gend er is not inherent, in general nor in advertising; it is communicated through various aspects of media and, in the case of children's toy commercials, through various facets of the advertisements and the toys themselves. All of the mega and mini codes tog ether formed a cohesive portrayal of gender as it pertained to the toy itself and the advertisement for it. In the children's toy advertisements studied here, masculinity and gender neutrality are conflated and are situated as the norm; femininity is prese nted as the created gender, defined against the norm. One integral study that was utilized in the formation and analysis of my study is Johnson and Young's (2002) study. For example, my study confirmed their findings that most, if not all, of the time, th e narrator's gender correlates with the targeted audience. My study confirmed their findings that most, if not all, of the time, the narrator's gender correlates with the targeted audience. This proved true in that a man narrated almost every commercial ta rgeted at boys and a woman narrated almost ever y commercial targeted at girls. Every voice was clearly gendered; there was never a question as to whether the narrator was a man or a woman. This further exemplified their point that this is a deliberate acti on and implies that only men can function as authorities of boys' socialization; however, women are not the sole authorities of girls' socialization. This was proven by the fact that there were commercials targeted at girls that were narrated by
Pawliger 79 men. The f indings from this study in conjunction with those from Johnson and Young's highlight an intriguing pattern in children's advertisements. In fact, although the delivery of messages in media may differ, there clearly are parallels between advertisements aim ed at adults and those aimed at children; this is especially true in terms of the reproduction of stereotypes (Durkin 1985; Kolbe 1990, Macklin and Kolbe 1984; Schwartz and Markham 1985). One major difference is that children are more susceptible to the in ternalization of these messages without challenging them; adults have the potential for recognizing market strategies or at least for recognizing stereotypes. Children do not typically have the sophistication to do so. Already in the mid 70s, Freuh and Mc Ghee (1975) found that children who consume more television have a higher likelihood of holding more fixed views about acceptable behaviors relative to their gender. Hence, since advertisements generally are gender specific (Borzekowski and Robinson 1999; Atkin 1982) including those targeted at children we should explore such advertisements closely. The gender stereotyping in advertisements can be harm ful because it creates a limited view of their gender socialization and children's understanding of the mselves and others (Bandura 1986; Bussey and Bandura 1984; Kolbe 1990; McNeal 1992). Research shows gender socialization happens and can be detrimental to children. Yet, previous research shows the consistent role of TV and TV advertisement in imposing n arrow concepts of gender identities. Socialization begins before or at the time of conception and is continued throughout one's lifetime; individuals are socialized to accept and perform roles that are congruent with their assigned sex, their perceived gen der, and through this process, they become aware of the expectations associated with
Pawliger 80 their socialized gender. The effects of these recurring messages have been analyzed in various studies. One concrete example of this was discovered by Beuf (1974); childre n between the ages of three and six who watch television often are more likely to impose rigid gender expectations on certain occupations than those who are exposed to less media. Furthermore, messages from media facilitate gender policing and conformity t o rigid roles for children themselves (Ruble, Balaban, and Cooper 1981). My study found a range of stereoypes, not only in terms of gender, but also of race in the various advertisements analyzed. Due to the fact that this is a strong trend, more attention should be paid to the internalization of and prevalence of such messages. Sobieraj speaks to this by saying, "media, parents, and other agents of socialization help maintain the facade of objectively real, mutually exclusive, gender differences" (1998). In other words, these differences are real insofar as they are produced, reproduced, and perpetuated through social and cultural exchanges. These messages are delivered and communicated through various facets of the advertisement and the toy itself such a s the gender of the narrator, the tone of the narrator, the color of the toy, the words used to describe the toy, the color of the background, and whether the toy is gendered explicitly, which is most clearly demonstrated through use of pronouns to refer t o it. Without explicit use of pronouns, which are never gender neutral, in advertisements, gender is left to be assumed; however, with the totality of gendered facets of the toy and advertisement, a toy is gendered. The blog The Achille's Effect analyzed c hildren's toy advertisements mainly in terms of the words used to describe or qualify the toys. Half of my study's sample came from The Achille's Effect, and analysis was performed on the qualifiers used in the
Pawliger 81 advertisements. My results mirrored those fro m the blog, which can be attributed to the fact that half of the sample came from the same place; however, this selection was randomized and contrasted with a sample from the 2011 Amazon Holiday Toy Wish List. The commercials that were most explicitly gend ered came from the manufacturers with the highest frequency of toys in the sample. The most popular manufacturers produced the most gendered and, coincidentally, popular toys. One shortcoming of the study was that the blog seemed to be biased in its select ion as the majority of the toys were explicitly gendered and none repeated; this problem persisted although I randomized the selected advertisements. My study contributes to academic research in that it addresses the void of recent data on this topic. My study also highlighted areas and questions for future scholars to investigate. By including more cases from different sources, one's foundation for understanding could be greatly increased. My study clearly supports the assertion that popular children's to y advertisements remain binarily gendered despite pushes for gender equality and neutrality in society at large. My study has also left room for various aspects of advertisements and media to be analyzed. Also, past studies on the topic had approached the analysis from a psychological perspective; my study approached the questions from a sociological framework. Additionally, my study incorporated aspects of past studies' methodology as well as more original methods which allowed for the current study to be more thorough. By examining and analyzing these advertisements and the role of gender within them through a sociological framework, we are able to understand the role of institutions and other social structures in the formation of gendered expectations an d ideals. Furthermore,
Pawliger 82 we gain a better understanding of the role and power of media in children's socialization. Future research should incorporate sociological, psychological, economic, and marketing theories to establish the clearest and fullest underst anding of this topic. I found that the toys that are most popular come from a small range of manufacturers, so the most popular and highest selling toys come from the same group of manufacturers. These manufacturers include Hasbro and Mattel, which have a long history of being successful. They also have a history of producing highly gendered toys like transformers, Barbies, and hot wheels cars and toys. They dominate the toy industry and, as a result, have a strong influence on what is popular and have the ability to establish trends in toys. Mattel stated that a Barbie is sold every 3 seconds, which clearly highlights the popularity of and demand for these dolls (NPR 2012). Future research could examine the intersections of race and gender with intersecti onality and matrix of domination as the foundation for analysis. Basically, those theories state that one cannot isolate a single aspect of one's identity; systems of oppression are interlocking, and aspects of one's identity work in conjunction with other s to form the specific oppression an individual experiences. For example, the experience of a white cis woman is not the same as that of a woman of color or a trans woman. Aspects of identity are involved in the formation of an individual's unique experien ce of oppression and discrimination on both an institutional and an individual level. Future research should take this into account rather than studying a single aspect of identity such as race or gender. Future research could also look at changes in gen dered and racialized messages over time. In my research, I found that very few commercials featured people of color,
Pawliger 83 but those that did like Fisher Price Little People Talking Zoo, the only commercial to exclusively feature people of color, for example, di d so in a way that perpetuated harmful stereotypes such as absent fathers and animalistic tendencies. Other commercials, like IlluStory, perpetuate the stereotypes of illiteracy in ethnic minorities and the association of technology with Asian individuals; the fact that no children of color are seen with family implies that family is a facet of white privilege that is not accessible to people of color. Another opportunity for future research exists in the intersection between advertising and socioeconomic status. For example, in my study, there was a toy called Kidkraft Suite Elite Dollhouse. The name of this toy communicates a certain class, which is elevated and is intended to appeal to a very specific audience. The dollhouse itself was lavishly decorated ; its communication of class is evident through its name, description, and images of luxury. Interestingly, such images of class are more pervasive in girls' advertisements than in boys', which is another venue for future analysis. Another observation that I made was certain toys' use of British spelling such as Barbie Glamour Camper, which I argue communicates class through many people's elevated regard for British culture. In recent years, gender neutrality has become a more popular topic as it pertains to child rearing, which includes clothing, toys, and names. This is certainly worth analyzing. Before delving into this topic, researchers should answer several questions: What does it mean to be gender neutral? Is it another way of stating masculine, or m ore specifically, not feminine? Most gender neutral toys are produced by smaller companies or corporations; they tend not to be produced by large mainstream manufacturers. Future
Pawliger 84 research could seek to answer the question of why mainstream corporations do not produce toys in this realm. Also, they could analyze advertisements and toys themselves to see if there are patterns between gender neutral toys to answer the initial question of what it means for a toy to be considered gender neutral. My study analyzed children's toy advertisements aimed at children age five to seven, which is a specific population. How would this compare to commercials targeted at younger or older children? How would these findings compare to toy advertisements aimed a t teens, young adults, and adults? How do messages change over time? Are these messages age specific? Or is it the delivery of the messages that is age specific? Researchers could incorporate various aspects of the study to examine these issues more closel y. Initially, my interest in the analysis of toys occurred when I accompanied a friend on an errand to Walmart, a store I had never visited. I went to the clearance aisle and looked at toys. I noticed that there was a correlation between the price of the B arbie and skin tone; the darker the skin tone, the cheaper the Barbie. I felt this was offensive and striking especially because toys are often reflective of societal views, hierarchies, and standards; research could look at the correlation between socioec onomic class and race and gender; it could also look at the correlation between the specific toy and the type of store selling it. I would be interested in a study that compared stores in lower socioeconomic areas and those in more affluent ones in terms o f the toys that they sell and the advertisements for the various toys. I discussed three advertisements with blatantly offensive stereotypes, especially racial and gender. These observable patterns are important to analyze because individuals internalize messages and images from the media and, in time, form/inform their reality.
Pawliger 85 Hence, stereotypes can be detrimental in that they create a limited view or understanding of certain groups and concepts. Research could also connect trends in toys and childrea ring with recent legislation in the U.K. for example, on censorship of advertisements targeted at children (clearly an impressionable group). Additionally, other European countries are pushing for more inclusive language and legislation. For example, group s in Sweden are arguing for more inclusive pronouns, particularly gender neutral ones. In the United States, we are also becoming aware of these trends and have the potential of embracing such changes in our own culture and applying them more directly to o ur own lives whether in terms of childrearing, general upbringing, socialization, or the simple recognition of stereotypes and their potential detriment. Referencing and analyzing past studies on advice for parents on raising children could expand these st udies; much of this advice is centered around gender normalcy and the acceptance of normative gender roles. I would be interested in looking at the ways that advertisements of specific toys change over time. For example, a researcher could analyze advert isements for products like Barbies, Transformers, and Legos and note when changes occurred and possibly correlating that with social events or changes. For example, over time, Barbie's proportions have shifted unrealistically. There has also been a push for gender specificity in toys. For example, toys like Scrabble, Monopoly, Etch a Sketch, and Legos have each created specific toys for girls, which implies that the toys were either gender neutral or masculine before, which may or may not be the same thin g. For example, there is now Fashion Scrabble (Scrabble for girls), pink Monopoly, pink Etch a Sketch, and Legos for girls. Manufacturers are clearly
Pawliger 86 asserting an effort in the realm of gender specific toys; they are establishing and securing a gendered ma rket. I wonder if the intention and motivation for this is purely economical or if other benefits exist. On a recent segment on NPR, there was a talk about a market for a bald Barbie for girls on chemo, but Mattel did not want to sell it on a large scale ( NPR 2012). What are the implications of such an action as it pertains to the reinforcement of beauty ideals? This is clearly relatable to the American Psychological Association's research on body image and girls' exposure to advertisements. This is discuss ed not only in academic articles, but also by individuals like Jean Kilborne, who creates films on this topic, warning women, girls, and parents about the potential effect that these advertisements could have on impressionable youth. These effects include, but are not limited to, depression, body image issues, eating disorders, and drug/alcohol abuse. In a society that consumes media at increasingly high levels, it would be interesting to analyze shows that emphasize physicality, competition, and mainstre am conceptions of beauty. These shows include America's Next Top Model and various pageant themed shows like Toddlers in Tiaras. There is no equivalent for boys/male bodied people; hence, there is a clear target audience. It would be fascinating to perfo rm an extensive study that combined content analysis of ads with interviews with viewers/consumers of specific media to understand/gauge the effect that the media has on these individuals and the extent to which it informs their reality. It would also be i nteresting to perform a study over time to see if and how people's perceptions change.
Pawliger 87 There is a wide range of topics to be studied in this field, which should be approached through a variety of methodological frameworks and disciplines in order to crea te the most comprehensive and cohesive depiction of the role of gender in children's toy commercials, and in commercials in general. For example, with the increase of technology, it would be interesting to analyze advertisements for games on smart phones. Another avenue for study would be the analysis of blogs, specifically in terms of feminist blogs or comparing feminist and non feminist blogs in their advice for parents for childrearing or simply in terms of studies the blogs have conducted. My study dem onstrates that gender is constructed and communicated through a variety of facets and a complex interplay of features, highlight ing the importance of understanding the power of media and advertisements; it is clear that we should understand the effect of t hese advertisements and their messages on children. We see that gender is only one variable to be studied; a more effective means of analysis would be to approach gender from an intersectional standpoint -one that views aspects of identity such as rac e an d gender as interlocking
Pawliger 88 Appendix A: Index of Commercials Used Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel Razor A Kick Scooter Ripstik Caster Board Perplexus Maze Game Lalaloopsy Suzette La Sweet Little People Zoo Talkers Animal Sounds Zoo InnoTab Interactiv e Learning Tablet Razor Graffiti Chalk Scooter Fijit Friends Interactive Toy Barbie Sisters Family Camper/Barbie Sisters Go Camping! Camper Barbie The Princess Charm School Blair Doll Lifetime Portable Tetherball System Mini Lalaloopsy Treehouse Playset Di sney Tangled Sing and Glow Light up Rapunzel Doll Kidkraft Suite Elite Dollhouse Cloud b Twilight Constellation Night Light Razor A Kick Scooter Perplexus Maze Game IlluStory Make Your Own Story Kit Spot It ThunderCats ThunderTank with Exclusive Snarf Razor Graffiti Chalk Scooter
Pawliger 89 Little People Zoo Talkers Animal Sounds Zoo InnoTab Interactive Learning Tablet Kid Galaxy Spin 'n Go Fire Truck Fisher Price I Can Play Basketball Lifetime Portable Tetherball System Nerf Vortex Nitron Cars 2 Secret Spy Attack Finn McMissile WWE Colossal Crashdown Arena Playset Kung Zhu Battle Hamsters Hot Wheels Custom Motors Hot Wheels Color Shifters Octo Hot Wheels Trick Tracks Bakugan Dragonoid Destroyer BeyBlade Battle Fortress for Wii Matchbox Big Rigs: Stinky Matchbox Wo lf Mountain Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 Mobi Com Beyblades Metal Fusion Transformers Constructicon Devastator Transformers Mega Power Bots Nerf Supersoaker Thunderstorm Nerf N Strike Longstrike Nerf Raider CS 35
Pawliger 90 Barbie Glamour Camper Barbie I Can Be (Babysitter and Dentist) Barbie Fashionistas BFF dolls Bratz All Glammed Up Bratz Let's Talk Littlest Pet Shop Playful Paws Daycare Furreal Friends Lulu Cuddlin' Kitty Furreal Snuggimals Polly Pocket Pop up Glamper Moxie Girlz Summer Swim Magic Dolls Mo nster High Doll Disney Pixie Powder Playset Easy Bake Microwave & Style Zhu Zhu Pets Safari Zhu Zhu Puppies
Pawliger 91 Appendix B: Coding Sheet Case Number Analysis of Toy Gender of Toy (male, female, neutral/ambiguous) Color Shape Name Manufacturer Type (ex. educational) Intended Usage (play vs. educational/group vs. individual Voice (Y/N) Additions to toy (Y/N) qualifiers? Voice Child/Adult M/F/Both/Amb/None Tone (calm, excited, empowering, nurturing/mat, aggressive, silly/playful, other Content Verbal Instructiona l vs. entertainment Terms Used (eg magical) qualifiers Written Text
Pawliger 92 People Type (age/gender) Interaction type (parents?, war...) Ethnicity if notable Enviro nment Sound/music (Y/N and type) does it change? Visuals (circles, colors, etc) Content (things in room) Color of space Technical duration of commercial Amazon or blog does it appear in boy and girl list Note if recommended age is provided Random/Notable Ex. only part of child shown
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