The ethical implications of gendered toy marketing

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review


This paper is still very much a work-in-progress. It is essentially my part of a longer co-authored article with Cordelia Fine. Many children’s toys are marketed in highly gendered ways. One common defence such for gendered marketing of toys is that it simply responds to children’s ‘natural’ gendered preferences. Counter to this defence, Cordelia’s part of the paper argues that there is no scientific basis for such ‘natural’ gendered preferences. Of course, philosophically, even if some of children’s gendered toy preferences were ‘natural’ (a factual matter), it is a further (normative) question whether facilitating such gendered preferences would be desirable. However, given the common assumption of ‘natural’ gender preferences in the debate about gendered toy marketing and the weight this assumption carries, it seems important as a starting point to clarify that the science does not support such an assumption. I will provide a brief summary of Cordelia’s part of the paper, and then – in the absence of clear empirical data specific to the effects of gendered toy marketing on children – move on to argue for a range of ways in which gendered toy marketing might be ethically considered to be bad for children. If these arguments are convincing, then an ethical obligation for marketers to reduce or cease gendered toy marketing practices follows.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventCentre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics - Charles Sturt University Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics , Canberra, Australia
Duration: 18 Nov 201320 Nov 2013


SeminarCentre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics


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