A key question in the development of gender roles is whether they are inborn or acquired. Do boys naturally prefer trucks to dolls and girls prefer dolls or kitchen sets to trucks? To what degree are gender preferences trait-based and to what extent are they a result of societal modeling? Some people see gender preferences as being a result of the biological differences between males and females (Huston, 2008). However, recent theories have suggested that gender roles are mainly influenced by social modeling and the environment in which a child is brought up. The gender role theory, for instance, states that children learn about appropriate behavior from their family and the environment in which they grow up (Michael, 2009). Thus, according to the theory, non-biological gender differences appear to be a result of socialization. Another theory – the social theory – suggests that social structure is the force behind gender differences, which means that sex-differentiated behavior in society is a consequence of labor division (Michael, 2009).
The objective of this research is to determine whether gender-specific toys have any influence on the development of gender roles.
Do sex-specific toys influence the development of gender roles?
Significance of the Research
The findings of this research will be important to various stakeholders who are involved in taking care of young children as they will assist them to avoid any gender stereotypes that may be created by gender-specific toys. These stakeholders include parents and teachers.
The research methodology will consist of face-to-face interviews with young children aged 4 to 6. This is the age group that plays mostly with toys and, hence, it is likely to generate more valid responses to the research question.
Data for the study will be collected using unstructured questionnaires so that a variety of responses can be obtained. The data collected will be analyzed by means of applying qualitative techniques.
Limitations of the Study
Generating valid responses from young children is a challenging exercise. In order to ensure that only accurate responses are obtained, the study will employ fill-in questionnaires with different versions of each question to enable comparison of the generated responses.