Shoppers: ‘Boy toys’ are universal, ‘girl toys’ are gender-specific

December 21, 2017

While Madonna may define “boy toys” in one way, most Americans think of them as cars, trains, bats and balls, and building sets. And, when it comes to buying toys as gifts for children in the family, “boy toys” are seen as universal, while “girl toys” are viewed as gender-specific, according to poll results just released by YouGov.

When asked if they would be comfortable buying a child in their family a present normally aimed at boys, 42% of respondents to the poll said they would be “very” or “somewhat” comfortable doing so, while just over a quarter (27%) said they would be “very” or “somewhat” uncomfortable..

In a year that saw historic women’s marches and LGBTQ advances nationwide, old prejudices against toys remain ingrained.

Indeed, responses to the poll had not changed since the same questions were asked by YouGov two years ago: When asked whether boys and girls are either born or taught to like different kinds of toys, Americans in 2017 answered almost identically to those in 2015, with just over 50% saying that it’s a learned choice and approximately 30% saying it’s inborn.

What has changed is how women think toys should be distributed among kids. In 2015, 36% of women believed that boys and girls should be raised with different toys and play activities; in 2017, only 26% of women feel that way. The numbers for men have remained relatively stable.

But when it comes to buying a male child in their family a “girl toy,” women were evenly split on the issue: 35% said they would be comfortable, while another 35% said they would be uncomfortable. Only 28% of men said they would be comfortable, and nearly half (49%) said they would uncomfortable.

There was also a political split on the idea. Democrats were equally divided: 37% said they would be comfortable; another 37% said they would not. Less than a quarter (22%) of Republicans said they would be comfortable, and more than half (54%) said they would not.

One thing still holds true: Teddy bears and stuffed animals are for all of us.

Research contact: Elise.Czajkowski@yogov.com

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