Posts Tagged ‘The New York Times’

With Santa’s yearly visit just a week away, toys are on the mind of many children. Sociologists often talk about the gendered nature of toys, and I recently discussed one Swedish company’s efforts to advertise toys in a gender-neutral way, but a recent New York Times article* looks at a divide that we are less likely to focus on: social class.

In the article, Gina Bellafante argues that the types of toys sold at Walmart and Toys R Us differ greatly from those from more upscale stores focused on learning and creativity. In her most quotable paragraph, Bellafante writes:

In the way that we have considered food deserts — those parts of the city in which stores seem to stock primarily the food groups Doritos and Pepsi — we might begin to think, in essence, about toy deserts and the implications of a commercial system in which the least-privileged children are choked off from the recreations most explicitly geared toward creativity and achievement.

She concludes with the counterpoint that puzzles and other upscale toys have not been proven to bolster children’s cognitive abilities, but I think it would be interesting to study whether children in wealthier homes do, in fact, play with different types of toys. I also think it would be interesting to see whether they actively ask for these toys or whether their Christmas lists look like those of their less fortunate counterparts.

*I saw this a while ago via The Society Pages but forgot about it when the grading storm struck again. Thankfully, another post at The Society Pages reminded me about it.

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Talking about the rapture is all fun and games until you think about the people who have actually bought into this (despite the fact that Harold Camping was wrong before):

The three teenagers have been struggling to make sense of their shifting world, which started changing nearly two years ago when their mother, Abby Haddad Carson, left her job as a nurse to “sound the trumpet” on mission trips with her husband, Robert, handing out tracts. They stopped working on their house and saving for college.

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