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Toy Advertisements Remain Sexist

Update Date: Dec 23, 2013 02:55 PM EST

Despite efforts to break down gender norms, researchers of a new study reported that toy advertisements continue to promote sexist viewpoints. In this study, the researchers from Spain analyzed advertisements during Christmas time and found that toys associated with beauty were geared toward girls whereas toys tied to strength and power were catered to boys.

For this study, the research team examined 595 toy advertisements that aired in 2009, 2010 and 2011 all around Christmas time between October and January. The advertisements were taken from eight channels, which were TVE1, TVE2, Telecinco, Antena 3, Cuatro la Sexta, Boing, and the Disney Channel. These channels contained content for children and adolescents.

The researchers found that topics, such as education, fun, solidarity and individualism were used to advertise toys for both genders. However, topics that have been traditionally associated with a particular sex continued to be used for that gender. For example, toys such as cars and action heroes were geared toward males. These types of advertisements were also tied to competitiveness, individualism, power and strength. When it came to girls, researchers found advertisements for dolls and accessories were tied to motherhood and beauty.

The researchers designed a test based on many variables, such as product type, message, values, gender shown, and voiceovers to assess the content in the advertisements. The researchers borrowed some variables form the Self-regulatory code for Advertising Toys to Children and the Self-regulatory Code for Television Content and Children, and the General Laws on Audiovisual Communication and Publicity.

"These rules state that sexism must be avoided and one gender must not be valued above another, or show a toy linked to one in particular," stated Esther Martínez, one of the researchers from Rey Juan Carlos University said according to Medical Xpress. "Female voices predominated in adverts where girls appear, and male voices where only boys appear and also when both genders are shown."

The study, "La representación de género en las campañas de publicidad de juguetes en Navidades (2009-12)" was published in Comunicar.

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