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Playing it straight: kindergarten children's perspectives on gender in play materials

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posted on 23.05.2021, 16:24 by Ameera Ali
This study focuses on the perspectives of kindergarten children regarding their perceptions of gender appropriateness of play materials. The theory of gender performativity has been used as a theoretical lens for the study. Six kindergarten children between the ages of four and five were individually interviewed about whether they believed toys to be gender-specific or gender-neutral. Results indicated that children displayed gender-stereotype knowledge as well as an understanding that toys can be gender-neutral, however, they were generally perceived to be gender-specific. Themes found include: perceptions of play materials as gender-neutral, perceptions of play materials as male-appropriate, perceptions of play materials as female-appropriate, notions of gender stereotypes, gender-role flexibility, contingent gender-role flexibility and external knowledge sources. Implications of these results regarding both gender-conforming as well as gender-non conforming children are provided and recommendations for educators are suggested. Keywords: gender performativity; children; masculinity; femininity; heteronormativity; toys; gender stereotypes, gender roles, gender non-conforming behaviour





Master of Arts


Early Childhood Studies

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type