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Girl Toys, Boy Toys: Unpacking the Gender Issues of 2011's Hot Gifts

Behind the extreme gender polarization of this year's bestselling children's toys.


Watching television commercials for the toys eligible for this year's “Toy of the Year Awards” in both the "boy" and "girl" categories, as I have just done, makes me not want to have any more children and scared to raise the one I've already got.

Given what we know about the neurological importance of "critical periods" in a child's development, it's hard not to see the extreme gender polarization of this year's bestselling children's toys as the festering rootstock of so much of the baggage men and women are forced to overcome as adults. Let's start with the premise that there are distinct girl and boy toys.

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