Do We Choose Our Identities? How Toy Packaging and Promotions Rob Children of Choice in Expressing Their Individual Identity
ABSTRACT: This thesis discusses gender stereotypes as presented through packaging and promotion of children’s toys. It defines and illustrates gender stereotypes, and explains why they are an issue and how graphic design has played a role in perpetuating the social construct by which we expect children to behave. It examines examples of current toy packaging, highlights the subtle product language created by image, color, font and text, and argues that change hinges on consumer awareness of the social constructs of gender presented through product packaging and promotions. If consumers become aware of just how limited in theme these toys are, they can begin to demand more flexibility from toy manufacturers and provide children with an opportunity to choose what interests them. In the same way design has perpetuated stereotypes that currently rob children of a choice in their identity, it can help break down the narrow views society has today of how children should look and in what they should be interested.
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