Thursday, August 5, 2010

Patriarchal Values in Toy Kitchen Advertisements



The other day, I went shopping to buy a toy kitchen for my friend’s daughter, Daphne, as a gift.  I came across the brand KidKraft that had a wide variety of kitchens in all shapes, sizes and colors.  Although there were a wide variety of kitchens, an overwhelming majority of the advertisements displayed girls modeling the product.  By having toy kitchen advertisements that display primarily girls, it socializes kids from a young age to believe that a woman’s role is primarily in the kitchen. Therefore, I argue through advertisements that KidKraft socializes girls to believe in patriarchal values, which puts emphasis on their role in the kitchen.

It is important to understand the messages that KidKraft advertisements send to children because they are going through socialization.  Part of the way children learn who they are is by following images in their surroundings. Due to marketing strategy, it has become more common for children to develop identities based upon what they see in advertisements.  In the article “Image- Based Culture: Advertising and Popular Culture” Sut Jhally says that, because of marketing strategy, “Imaginative play has shifted one degree closer to mere imitation and assimilation” (254). If children are constantly seeing toy kitchen advertisements where there are primarily girls, they will think that only girls should play in kitchens. By only girls playing in kitchens, it teaches them at a young age that girls ought to be housewives.

At the same time, by promoting patriarchal values, the KidKraft advertisements effect how girls are going to interact with boys and, later, men.  In the article “Cosmetics: A Clinique Case Study,” Pat Kirkham and Alex Weller said, “[Advertisements] translate statements about gendered objects into gender statements about a variety of things including types of consumer behaviour and human relationships” (269). Girls are not going to want to play with boys in a toy kitchen because it is not a common image.  Instead they are going to believe that they should be playing in the kitchen while the boys are doing a separate activity.  As girls grow into women, it will influence them to believe that they should be at home cooking while their husband has an executive job at an office. Therefore, KidKraft teaches girls patriarchal values from a young age through an emphasis on their role in the kitchen.



 Works Cited
“53100-1.” JPEG File. < http://www.kidkraft.com/toys-and playsets / kitchens /kitchens / 53100>

“53139-1.” JPEG File.  < http://www.kidkraft.com/toys-and-playsets/kitchens/kitchens/53139>

“53160-1.” JPEG File. < http://elegantchildboca.com/toys>

“53170-1.” JPEG File. < http://www.kidkraft.com/toys-and-playsets/kitchens/kitchens/53170>

“53181-1_copy2” JPEG File. < http://www.kidkraft.com/toys-and-playsets/kitchens/kitchens/53181>

“53185-12.” JPEG File. < http://www.kidkraft.com/toys-and-playsets/kitchens/kitchens/53185>

 “KidKraft Grand Gourmet Kitchen.” Amazon.com. amazon. nd. Web. 5 August 2010.< http://www.amazon.com/KidKraft-Grand-Gourmet-Corner-Kitchen/dp/B002OE01XG>

“Prairie.” JPEG File. < http://toykitchen.eu.com/>

Jhally, Sut. “Image Based Culture: Advertising and Popular Culture.” Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text- Reader. Eds. Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publication Inc., 2003. 249-257. Print.

KidKraft. “KidKraft 53179 Pink Vintage Kitchen.” Photograph. Amazon.com. amazon. N.d. web. 5 August 2010.

Kidkraft. “KidKraft Cook Together Kitchen.” Photograph. Amazon.com. amazon. N.d. web. 5 August 2010.

KidKraft. “KidKraft Deluxe Big and Bright Kitchen.” Photograph. Amazon.com. amazon. N.d. web. 5 August 2010.

Kidkraft. “Kidkraft Deluxe Let’s Cook Kitchen.” Photograph. Amazon.com. amazon. N.d. web. 5 August 2010.

Kidkraft.  “KidKraft Grand Gourmet Corner Kitchen.” Photograph. Amazon.com. amazon. web. N.d. 5 August 2010.

KidKraft. “KidKraft Island Kitchen – Pastel.” Photograph. Amazon.com. amazon. N.d. web. 5 August 2010.

Kidkraft. “KidKraft Large Kitchen.” Photograph. Amazon.com. amazon. N.d. web. 5 August 2010.

KidKraft. “Kidkraft Pink Wooden Kitchen.” Photograph. Amazon.com. amazon. N.d.
web. 5 August 2010.

KidKraft. “KidKraft Red Gourmet Kitchen.” Photograph. Amazon.com. amazon. N.d. web. 5 August 2010.

KidKraft. “KidKraft Red Vintage Kitchen.” Photograph. Amazon.com. amazon. N.d. web. 5 August 2010.

Kidkraft. “Kidkraft Retro Kitchen and Refrigerator in Pink.” Photograph. Amazon.com. amazon. N.d. web. 5 August 2010.

KidKraft. “KidKraft Ultimate Girls Wooden Play Kitchen.” Photograph. Amazon.com. amazon. N.d. web. 5 August 2010.

KidKraft. “KidKraft® Red Retro Kitchen Center.” Photograph. Amazon.com. amazon. N.d. web. 5 August 2010.

Kirkham, Pat and Alex Weller. “Cosmetics: A Clinique Case Study.” Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text- Reader. Eds. Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publication Inc., 2003. 268-273. Print.

1 comment:

  1. Hannah-
    Great work!
    Your quotes are excellent choices for your overall argument and your collage really illustrates the points you made in the write-up.
    One issue I noticed is that the quotes that back-up your points in the paragraphs illustrate a slightly different thesis than the one you articulated.
    The argument (and therefore, your thesis) seems to be one of KidKraft utilizing the stereotypical woman-in-kitchen incarnation of femininity to promote a version of femininity that sells a particular role and set of relationships to young girls.
    Overall, well done!
    :o)
    Jessie
    See SOCS rubric on Assessments for my grade-specific feedback.

    ReplyDelete