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Comunicar Journal 41: Black holes of Communication (Vol. 21 - 2013)

Gender representation in advertising of toys in the Christmas period (2009-12)


Esther Martínez-Pastor

Miguel-Ángel Nicolás-Ojeda

Álvaro Salas-Martínez


This paper analyzes the representation of children’s gender in toy advertising on television during three different periods. To achieve our purpose, this study examines seven variables: Toy typologies, Gender, Values, Voiceovers, Period, Actions depicted and Interaction between characters. These variables are taken from previous works that have studied the uses and preferences in toy selection according to gender, and research that studies the ways in which advertising represents children and toys. The sample comprises 595 toy commercials broadcast on the TVE1, TVE2, Telecinco, Antena 3, Cuatro, La Sexta, Boing and Disney Channel television channels. The period of study is October to January 200910, 201011 and 201112. The choice of this period is because most toy commercials are broadcast for Christmas. The most important results are: the percentage of male characters is higher than female characters; the advertising of vehicles and action figures is associated with male characters; the values associated with vehicles and action figures are: competition, individualism, ability, physical development, creativity, power and strength, and the values associated with dolls and accessories are beauty and motherhood.


Advertising, gender, children, representation, values, stereotypes, toys, television