I saw these word clouds on www.Gawker.com yesterday. Can you tell a distinct difference between the left and right sides? Each side represents the most commonly used words toy advertisers use when targeting girls and boys. The boys’ toys that were looked at were Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Kung Zhu, Nerf, Transformers, Beyblades, and Bakugan. There were 658 words from 27 commercials. The girls’ toys were Zhu Zhu Pets, Zhu Zhu Babies, Bratz Dolls, Barbie, Moxie Girls, Easy Bake Ovens, Monster High Dolls, My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop, Polly Pocket, and FURREAL Friends with 432 words from 32 commercials
The stark contrast in the clouds isn’t surprising at all. Although I am interested in why “power” and “hero” didn’t make it on the girls’ cloud and why “love” and “friendship” didn’t make it on the boys’ cloud. I feel that those words are and should be pretty gender neutral. The fact that “power” isn’t anywhere on the girls’ list is slightly infuriating. With the times changing and everything slowly becoming more equal shouldn’t advertisers take that into consideration when appealing to both genders? I’m sure little girls would love to be heroes, so why isn’t that word seen in both clouds? It’s so important to teach kids the meaning of equality and the obvious difference in the verbiage used in advertising is clearly not working in our favor. Gender roles are established at such a young age when girls are playing with Easy Bake Ovens and boys are playing with their fire trucks that the longer these stereotypes are perpetuated the harder they are to break. I’m not saying children don’t eventually grow out of the strictly pink and blue world, but it would be beneficial for everyone if the differences never started.
Photo credit: http://gaw.kr/eyScPr