Analyze a physical (not online) retail space marketed towards parents of young children, such as a toy store or children’s clothing store (e.g., Babies R Us; Carter’s; The Children’s Place). Students should take detailed field notes and turn them in as an appendix to the assignment. Students must map out the space using drawings, as well as take notes on descriptive details of products and arrangement of space. Notice whether there is any gender-neutral product or space. Also notice the differences between the products offered in gender-marked spaces. How do we know which space is for which gender—is it explicitly stated/marked, or assumed? What kinds of messages are being sent about what kinds of products are and are not appropriate for each gender? How comfortable does the space appear to make it for shoppers who might want to “cross the line” and shop “outside the box”? What implications do your findings have for the process of gender socialization, and for the future of gender inequality? What, if any, changes do you suggest?
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