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Title: The spectrum of play
Authors: Koh, Niki Suat Chee
Keywords: Visual arts and music::Drawing, design and illustration
Social sciences::Sociology::Family, marriage and women
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Koh, N. S. C. (2021). The spectrum of play. Final Year Project (FYP), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Project: ADM17.21.U1730580H
Abstract: While the world is starting to adopt more fluid ideals of gender, the children’s toy industry is still inundated with gender-typed toys, which are toys that are segmented according to stereotypical and regressive ideas of what girls and boys are interested in. For example, consider how dolls are almost exclusively marketed towards girls, and toy cars towards boys. Toys are crucial building blocks in the area of child development, especially when it comes to gender socialisation: the process of internalising the social behaviours and attitudes that are expected of young girls and boys. By attaching specific qualities to toys that are marketed towards specific genders, gendered toys act as a manifestation of stereotypical and regressive gender roles, which are then implicitly perceived by children as an ideal norm that they should embody. Apart from chaining children to restrictive gender roles, this also results in restricting the way children develop their aspirations and identity to be in line with gender stereotypes, and limiting how they understand gender in the first place. Furthermore, dividing toys along gender lines drives the perception of understanding gender as a binary, when gender is a socially constructed concept that is now better represented as a spectrum. As such, this contributes to a lack of understanding and subsequently the ostracisation, discrimination and violence against those who do not conform to arbitrary social expectations of the gender binary for girls and boys, which has deep ties to sexuality and gender issues. As such, the LGBTQ+ community and LGBTQ+ children are a common target for gender and sexuality-related harassment and abuse. The Spectrum of Play is a project that thus aims to critique the prevalent binary in children’s toys, educate the public on the harms of gender-typed toys, and advocate for a more healthy, inclusive and gender-diverse world of play for children, where any child is free to explore any toy they want to play with, regardless of their gender. The project ultimately follows two stages: Informing parents and the general public about the ubiquitous but rarely-discussed issue of gender-typing in toys, and then encouraging the cultivation of a more open and inclusive parenting and play culture within families.
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:ADM Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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