With Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty on one side and bulbous-headed Fart Ninjas on the other, the gender divide was impossible to avoid at the North American International Toy Fair in New York City back in February.

The light-up Barbie mermaids vying for space with Gatling-style foam-dart blasters in Manhattan's Javits Center raised a question: Have toys really progressed since our grandparents' days? And how do the toys we play with shape the people we grow up to be?

We set out to answer these and related questions in our latest episode of Life Kit's podcast Parenting: Difficult Conversations, with help from Sesame Workshop.

Toys are getting more gendered

Researcher Elizabeth Sweet studied toy catalogs and ads over time and found that toys are actually more gender divided than they were half a century ago.

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