Boys Go, Girls Go Along: exploring gender and price differences regarding themes present on children’s graphic t-shirts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Using gender schema theory, this study aims to explore how children’s graphic t-shirts from clothing retailers in the USA differed on gendered themes for graphic t-shirts targeting boys or girls, in addition to differences for shirts that were higher in cost. Design/methodology/approach: This content analysis of children’s t-shirts included 866 child-targeted shirts taken from the online retail portals from 11 clothing retailers in the USA. Shirts were coded for gendered themes on the front torso part of the shirt and included traditional boy themes (e.g. aggression, instrumentality) and girl themes (e.g. compassion, passivity). In addition, the retail prices for each shirt were recorded at the time of data collection. Findings: The results demonstrated that children’s graphic t-shirts starkly differentiate between femininity and masculinity based on their target. Boys’ shirts were significantly more likely to feature active themes, whereas girls’ shirts were more likely to focus on social belonging and interpersonal connection. Boys’ shirts were also more likely to display themes linked to dominance/aggression but not compassion. Girls’ shirts were more likely to tout both shyness and attention seeking. Finally, results generally showed that higher priced t-shirts were less likely to feature gender stereotypes than lower-priced t-shirts. Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first known study that has looked at the marketing of children’s clothes in retail environments with a specific focus on gender and gender stereotyping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalYoung Consumers
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Child consumer socialization
  • Content analysis
  • Gender stereotypes
  • Gender typing
  • Girl power
  • Toxic masculinity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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