Gender Socialization and Shopping: Data Collection in the Children’s Clothing, Décor, Greeting Card, and Toy Aisles.


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With this assignment, we investigate gender socialization and consumption. Instructors may use this assignment in an introductory course, in sociology of family, or in a sociology of gender class. Students collect data at major retailers looking for reification of, or challenges to, the gender binary in the following products – children’s clothing, décor, greeting cards, and toys. They practice taking field notes and looking for patterns in consumer culture. In addition, they compare and contrast on-line retailing to in-store marketing and to one retailer’s claim for a label-free store. The assignment asks students to tie course content on socialization to their everyday environment. In a PechaKucha format (fast-paced presentation dominated by images,) students present their central findings.


Resource Type(s):
Carla Corroto 
Date Published:
Subject Area:
Sex and Gender 
Class Level:
College 200 
Class Size:

Usage Notes:

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There is limited and conflicting evidence that the market is responding to gender binary challenges by presenting gender-neutral or at least gender-sensitive children’s products. In 2015, Target Corporation announced it would eliminate “boys” and “girls” signs from its toys and bedding departments (Hains 2015). This move has been met with...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
Apply basic sociological concepts.
Assessment 1:
Application criterion on written paper rubric. Class discussion during student presentations.
Goal 2:
Practice looking at mainstream market economy with sociological perspective.
Assessment 2:
Application criterion on written paper rubric. Students tie their observations to course content, note social patterns in material and consumer culture.
Goal 3:
Understand gender socialization concepts by linking what students observe to course content.
Assessment 3:
Applying gender concepts in analysis at the interaction and institutional levels in their papers and presentations.

Files for Download:

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1 Student sample presentation TOYS.pptx
2 Sample presentation CLOTHES.pptx
Gender Consumption Instructions, Usage Notes.docx