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

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posted on 2021-05-23, 16:24 authored 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

  • MRP