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Devil Ledbetter
05-05-2011, 05:08 PM
I stayed up past bedtime with my kids last night, playing with the Gendered Ad Remixer (http://www.kaltura.org/demos/RemixGenderedAds/). It's the most fun you can have while teaching kids about gender bias in advertising.

It takes a little time to load but be patient, it's entirely worth it. The site allows you to select ads aimed at girls or boys and run the video from one with the sound from the other. Because they are all 15 second ads and formulaic in presentation, most of them mesh well and the results are hilarious. Check out Betty Spaghetti's video paired with audio from The Eye of Judgement.

But it's also quite sobering. The girls ads are all focussed on either hairstyling and fashion or nurturing furry creatures or babies. The boys are all about battle, blasting guns and victory, but at least they get to build things and make things happen rather than being limited to looking pretty and taking care of others.

One thing is certain, sexism is rampant in toy ads.

Chris P
05-05-2011, 05:24 PM
Flash plugin keeps crashing :( Rats, I was looking forward to seeing that.

Devil Ledbetter
05-05-2011, 05:31 PM
Flash plugin keeps crashing :( Rats, I was looking forward to seeing that.
I've had the problem with it on my computer but it works well on my kids computer. Maybe try a different browser? My kids use IE (which I hate.)

Chris P
05-05-2011, 05:36 PM
I keep forgetting I have IE. *launches*

Chris P
05-05-2011, 05:45 PM
Haha! GI Joe Headquarters video with We Did It Dora audio works pretty well.

I never understood the hang up with "gender appropriate" toys. I played with both as a kid.

That website also shows just how formulaic the ads are.

Devil Ledbetter
05-05-2011, 10:15 PM
I don't know what disturbs me more; the violence inherent in the boys' toys, or the low-expectations of the girls' toys. Boys will build things, win battles and rule while girls will be pretty, fashionable and self-sacrificing.

The ads are a hoot to play with.

Chris P
05-05-2011, 10:47 PM
Well, it can become a "chicken and egg" situation quickly. Are advertisers playing to their market or creating their market?

On one hand, if they thought girls wanted to blow stuff up they would have girls playing with the war toys in the ads. On the other hand, the more they reinforce the idea that "pretty things are girl toys" the more they create a market for those. All the girls I played with as a kid liked building dirt castles and then smashing them as much as the boys did.

blrude
05-05-2011, 11:17 PM
Well, it can become a "chicken and egg" situation quickly. Are advertisers playing to their market or creating their market?

On one hand, if they thought girls wanted to blow stuff up they would have girls playing with the war toys in the ads. On the other hand, the more they reinforce the idea that "pretty things are girl toys" the more they create a market for those. All the girls I played with as a kid liked building dirt castles and then smashing them as much as the boys did.

It's a good question.

Like any girl in the 80's, I had Barbies. Though I do remember my sister and I spending more time staging battles of good and evil than dressing them up. Then again, I never professed to be normal.

I have a three-year-old niece who adores playing with the pink stuff, and every time I've played with her, the big finale is the wedding. I can't help but wonder who put that there, is it her toys (which are set up to have lots of different girls and a couple of boys, therefore encouraging her role-play to spend more time socializing the girl characters with sleepovers and tea parties, then one of them is swept off her feet, the boy goes away while all the girls plan the wedding) that prompt such directed play, or is it a natural desire of a girl that age to tell that kind of story first?

As far back into girl-toy history as I can remember, there have been more girl dolls with just a couple of boy dolls. On one hand, I "trust" that the market will sell anything it thinks it can sell, but on the other hand, I have a hard time swallowing that the Barbie-wedding fantasy is so... universal.

Awesome site. My favorite combinations were the doll videos with the boy sounds.

tjwriter
05-05-2011, 11:32 PM
I was busy having Barbie tell Ken that if they didn't have sex they would have to get married.

Devil Ledbetter
05-05-2011, 11:49 PM
I was busy having Barbie tell Ken that if they didn't have sex they would have to get married.
Ken? Our Barbies married G.I. Joe. He fit the masculine stereotypes better.

I don't know if it's chicken or egg. Marketers are going to do what sells so we can't just blame them. The best I can do is point out the sexism rampant in all media and talk to my kids about it.

This week my daughter was working on tech crew in a school play. The father of another (male) tech crew member responded to a helpful suggestion from her by turning away and telling his son. "Women. You have to get used to putting up with them sooner or later."

I gave her permission to call him a sexist pig if he ever said anything like this again.

JoNightshade
05-05-2011, 11:50 PM
This reminds me of an episode of Mad Men... I am sure someone will come along and tell me exactly what episode and company this was, but they had some product for women and wanted to market it in such a way that women felt using it made them self-sufficient and happy. I think it was facial cream - so they wanted to say, if you use this at night, you'll look in the mirror and see beauty. But then they did testing, and they discovered all the women they tested the ads on only wanted one thing: for a man to think they were beautiful.

So then someone was like, well, guess we really do have to go back to the same old line. And Don's like, no, I am not going to sell it like that. It's shameful.

I thought it was a great example how marketing shapes society shapes marketing shapes society... ad nauseum.