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Word Cloud: How Toy Ad Vocabulary Reinforces Gender Stereotypes

Word Cloud: How Toy Ad Vocabulary Reinforces Gender Stereotypes
Preamble (Added April 12, 2011). Thanks so much to everyone who has weighed in on this post. I am adding this preamble to address two main points of criticism that I should have discussed in the original post. First, there is the point that the ads use vocabulary to reflect the nature of the toys and not necessarily gender, that regardless of the target audience a toy about fighting will naturally include words about battling while a toy like an Easy Bake Oven will not. While this is absolutely true, my intention here was to use the toy vocabulary to show the nature of the toys marketed predominantly to boys. The inclusion of the girls’ list was just to show contrast. This leads to the second question/criticism: how did I determine which toys were “boys’ toys”? I would also like to stress that this was a simple exercise, not a rigorously researched academic study. With that background information in mind, I invite you to read the original, unedited post below. –Crystal A few caveats:

http://www.achilleseffect.com/2011/03/word-cloud-how-toy-ad-vocabulary-reinforces-gender-stereotypes/

Related:  Language and Gender

Barclays has pinked up its new ad – how lazy and depressing The father stands wearily by, as his daughter points at a series of things for him to buy for her. First, she wants the pink doll. No, actually she wants the pink bike. Strike that, the pink car. Then, of course, a pink house. Why should married women change their names? Let men change theirs Excuse me while I play the cranky feminist for a minute, but I'm disheartened every time I sign into Facebook and see a list of female names I don't recognize. You got married, congratulations! But why, in 2013, does getting married mean giving up the most basic marker of your identity? And if family unity is so important, why don't men ever change their names? On one level, I get it: people are really hard on married women who don't change their names. Ten percent of the American public still thinks that keeping your name means you aren't dedicated to your marriage.

Gender-neutral isn’t new Gender-neutral language really burns some people’s beans. One common argument against gender-neutral language is that it’s something new. See, everyone was fine with generic he up until [insert some turning point usually in the 1960s or 1970s], which means concerns about gender neutrality in language are just manufactured complaints by “arrogant ideologues” or people over-concerned with “sensitivity”, and therefore ought to be ignored. I have two thoughts on this argument.

15 Unbelievably Sexist Contemporary Ads 15 Unbelievably Sexist Contemporary Ads According to the Center for American Progress, 97 percent of working women employed full time in occupations logged by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are paid less than their male equivalents. Men receive higher salaries than women in all but seven of the professions listed, and male chief executives take home, on average, $658 more each week than females in similar positions. Many, often insufficient, theories have been put forward about the pay gap in the US and UK, but its existence seems to be an indication that gender discrimination is far from dead in the workplace. As well, women report having been demeaned or harassed at work by their male colleagues – and of course they may also be subject to sexism outside of the work environment.

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17 Ridiculously Sexist Ads That Actually Existed There was a time in the history of the United States where groups of people weren’t treated as equals. We have witnessed various atrocities committed in the US, most of which will never be equaled. However, some people might not realize the slow, insulting battle that women have been fighting over the decades against their male counterparts. There was a time when sexism was so rampant, ads like the ones seen below were considered completely normal… Sexist Terms - and alternatives Sexist Terms - and alternatives This list of sexist terms shows not only what may be avoided but also how they may be avoided. If in the company of people who are made uncomfortable by sexist terms, there is a polite and linguistically acceptable alternative in most cases.

Representing gender in children's reading materials would a boy have been shown with flowers in the 1970s? Are girls and boys portrayed differently in children’s reading materials today than in the past? During the 1970s and 80s, studies of children’s reading materials found that males not only featured more than females but also they tended to take the lead roles and were more active than their female counterparts, who were often restricted to traditional stereotyped roles. Many of these earlier studies of gender in children’s reading material analysed the texts based on their content, which meant that researchers made their own judgements about what was sexist and what was not. Now, however, advances in computer and electronic technology mean that ‘corpus linguistics’ can be used to analyse texts more systematically.

Marjorie Rhodes, Ph.D.: How Generic Language Leads Children to Develop Social Stereotypes Consider the following statements: "Girls have long hair"; "Jews celebrate Passover"; "Italians love pasta." These statements make claims that we view as generally true of groups, even though we can easily call to mind exceptions (e.g., girls with short hair, Italians who dislike pasta, etc.). In linguistics these statements are called "generics." Generics are frequent, found in every language studied to date, and often appear harmless. Nevertheless, recent research that Dr.

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