THE TOY STORE TRIP 1
The initial impression at the Toys R Usstore
As I approach the Toys R Usstore, I notice that there are seven huge different color fruity fontletters on the top of the outside door "TOYSRUS". Thenaughty reverse yellow "R" is inside of blue star shape.Also, there is a tremendous lovely baby image on the left sidewallbeside of the door. Then I would see several toy bikes with differentcolor outside of the door for sale. Some colorful and lovely backbags with different size are hanging on the shelf towards to the doorwould first come in your sight. Even I am outside of the store thosecharacteristics would give me initial impression that is a toy storefor children. Because all those messages like colorful, lovely, andsmall things are a point to children`s interests.
How the toys are organized
As you get into the Toys R Usstore, you notice that toys are arranged in different shelves forchildren to choose. There are totally three-column shelves. Eachcolumn has several rows. It seems each column separated by boys andgirls toys. Rows are separated by age. Because each shelf havedifferent toy sizes. They are also separated by gender which easilyto distinguish by pink and blue shelves. The toys for male childrenare also arranged on different shelves. One noticeable thing aboutthe arrangement of those toys is that they are mixed colours. Unlikein the past where you could only come across children toys of asingle race, Toys R Us had all the human races on the shelves. Thereare also some aspects of pop culture. He toys on the shelvesrepresent a real world of different objects that children come acrossin the everyday life. For instance, you could see saxophone toys, cartoys, and toy soldiers in different military uniform representing thearmy, the navy, and the air force. There are also computer toys aswell as tractor toys. Surprisingly, there are toys of farm machinerysuch as the combined harvesters. Perhaps this was to paint a pictureof the society is diversified both by race, culture, and means ofproduction. The manufacturers must have had that in mind for kids tounderstand their society quite well.
Representation of social diversity
There are social groupsrepresented in the way the toys are arranged. First as mentionedearlier, the toys are arranged in different racial colors. There areblack toy, white toys, Chinese toys, and Indian toys. It isinteresting to see religious diversity represented through toyswearing black veils and Islamic hats. As mentioned before, the aislesare not painted in the traditional pink and blue colors for girls andboys respectively. Girl toys and boy toys are arranged side by side.This phenomenal because it has breaks loose from the traditionalreinforcement of gender, racial and cultural hegemony. If a "starwars" thermos is arranged side by side with a doll, it simplymeans that toy stores are committed to breaking down the genderdivide that has always dominated children`s play time (Eckerman &Whatley, 2007). This would probably change the attitude that playedout in the Goldman`s case where a seven-year-old came home cryingbecause she had been teased by her classmates for carrying "Starwars" thermos to class. Her friends said that a "Star wars"thermos was for boys. Pinterest is breaking away from this. Childrendo not have to change what they like and who they are while seekingacceptance among their peers. These peer pressure perceptions emanatefrom a culturally intolerant past that most baby boomers grew in.Social and gender diversity
Social and gender diversity
Today parents and childpsychologists are concerned about the rates of bullying, which arelargely motivated by gender stereotypes. Activists are also concernedthat most child ply programs reinforce old-fashioned norms that makechildren less progressive in looking at each other from differentgender and socio-cultural backgrounds. Looking at the arrangement andthe coloration of the Toys R Us stores, there is a new regime thatreinforcing diversity in all forms. For instance soccer balls arepainted blue, black and white, pink, red, and yellow. This provideschildren of both genders with options to pick from rather than thetraditional pink color for girls and blue for boys. It isincreasingly becoming popular to have these colors so that children`sexperiences with the toys enhance creativity through the richdiversity of the society. Roles are not supposed to be aligned withgender roles. Toy soldiers and dolls made in different races alsoshows that white children do not have to choose white dolls or toyssoldiers. Children have a wide range of choice and that their toysshould be as diverse as their neighborhoods. These efforts ofpresenting toys in a culturally diverse and gender neutral mannershows does imply that children should be pushed from toystraditionally made for their gender. The effort at Toys R Us simplyintends to provide children with open options that will eventuallyteach them to appreciate diversity. There was one toy, which was veryappealing. It was an astronaut toy with a black woman. This breaksboth the racial and gender barrier. Children who buy these toys willnot associate a particular gender or race with space exploration.Instead, they will know that anyone can be a space scientist as longas they get the best education and support.
One specific toy that clearly represented social diversity
Thesetoys are spectacular is representing gender, racial, and culturaldiversity. The child with the toys is white, but she has three-babytoys with different skin tones. Perhaps this child is used to seeingbaby dolls with white skin tone. This time she has three of them withblack, white, and Asian skin tones. The pink color for the toy cupsdoes shows that she did not have to give each baby a different colorregardless of the gender. This is indeed an incredible way ofportraying a culturally diverse word to children just as it happensin their everyday life (Habermas, 2005). Furthermore, the child isalso showing compassion for the babies, which is a sign of tolerancein all respects.
Heterosexism is largely portrayed in the toys
Toymakers and retailers such Toys R Us tends to reinforce the socialorientation of the society of sexuality. There is a clear assumptionthat all people belong one of the two genders. There is no single setof toys that seems to portray anything about people in the LGBTsocial group (Sensoy & DiAngelo, 2012). Of course, the societyhas not moved into beginning to teach children about other sexualorientations such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender. Forinstance, Barbie dolls with wedding dresses standing next to a maledoll in a black suit with a scuff reinforces heterosexual values thatthe society has always identified. Although the mixed pink and bluecolorations try to appeal to children of both genders different toys,they still do not give any room for any minority sexual groups. Thismeans that toy shops still subscribe to the traditional sexualorientations that characterize western cultures. The question stilllingers whether or not they will begin to expose children to growingdemands for a society to recognize minority sexual groups.
Intersectionality in reinforcing heterosexuality
The contemporary society isincreasing realizing the need for children to play with differentkinds of toys. In the past educators and teachers could not stand aboy who turns out with a toy kitchen at school (Craig-Unkefer &Kaiser, 2002). A pre-school girl would also get the same responsewhen she turns up with a toy truck. However, it is increasinglybecoming acceptable as a sign of healthy development if children playwith different toys. All these compromises do not provide anopportunity for children to contemplate a homosexual set-up. Rigidityis still visible but on a small scale. The increasing collapse ofgender stereotypes is also reducing rigidities on homosexualrelationships. Some parents are still anxious when they see theirchildren continuously snuggling with a doll instead of a truck.Intersectionality is popping out because of the increased number ofsame-sex marriages. This has increased demands against restrictingchildren to particular types of toys. This is said to limit theability of children to appreciate a diverse society and in becomingwell-rounded individuals.
My Childhood play with toys shaped my identity
Inmy childhood, we played with toys that represented patriarchalsexuality. I was brought up understanding that blue is a boy`s colorwhile pink is a girl`s color. Those days, you could hardly find trucktoys painted in pink. Likewise, Barbie girl toys were dressed in pinkcolors to identify with girls. Homosexual relationships wereinconceivable because they were hardly talked about. My parents didnot entertain being too close to females when you are a boy and beingtoo close to males if you are a girl. I largely emulated my malerelatives and family friends. This shaped me into believing inheterosexuality. To date I find it very difficult to associate withhomosexual people. It looks and sounds odd to me.
Itis uncomfortable, demeaning and shameful before my parents and mysociety. Furthermore, my family and society is very religious. BothChristians and Muslims in my society taught, and they still teach,young children about family values. Family, in this case, refers to aman and a woman who join to make a family. Our Sunday school teachersoften narrated the stories of Adam and Eve as the first parents ofthe universe. My Muslim friends in the neighborhood had a very harshculture about gender roles. Men and women and boys and girls hadspecific roles that never at any time interchanged. My societyinternalized the dominance of male gender and the importance offamily. Today, I see social justice advocates pushing for diversityon everything. These days I see politicians and activists talkingabout and classifying homosexuals as minority groups. Although didnot want to hear it at first, I have learned to be tolerant eventhough I am not one of them.
Craig-Unkefer, L. A., &Kaiser, A. P. (2002). Improving the social communication skills ofat-risk preschool children in a play context. Topicsin Early Childhood Special Education,22(1),3-13.
Eckerman, C. O., & Whatley,J. L. (2007). Toys and social interaction between infant peers.ChildDevelopment,1645-1656.
Habermas, J. (2005). EqualTreatment of Cultures and the Limits of Postmodern Liberalism*.Journal of PoliticalPhilosophy, 13(1), 1-28.
Sensoy, Ö., & DiAngelo, R.(2012). Is EveryoneReally Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social JusticeEducation. TeachersCollege Press.