By Hollie Bethany
October 1, 2002
dog tails and sugar
(Gender issues in toys)
is it that even in the 2000’s we still think that girls play
with dolls and boys play with guns and trucks? There have been a
few attempts at cross-gender toys, but unfortunately they seem to
be squashed by the stigmas still prevalent in our society.
son has DOLLS. I get strange looks from some people when relating
Hunter’s newest antic: He wants to take his Cinderella Barbie
to day care. Hunter got his first doll in an effort for him to be
gentle with children who are smaller than him. The poor thing (Barbie)
was dragged around the house by her hair or her dress.
our young neighbor, is very much the little lady. She loves to be
in dresses and be a pretty princess. But she also loves cars and
trucks and will take out Hunter right quick if his airplane crosses
her plane’s flight plan. I remember when I was a little girl
my collection of Barbies was immaculate, since my brother and I
only played with his GI Joes.
Removing gender bias in toys is going to require the emergence of
a few great products that can get publicity and the support of retailers
to “re-educate” the public. Even a popular fast food
restaurant that was sued several years ago--for asking if the toy
needed was for a girl or boy, rather than doll or a car--still has
to continually remind their employees to use the correct wording.
this month I am asking you, my faithful readers, to send in ideas
of how a caring, nurturing retailer would approach a parent who
is hesitant for their child to purchase a toy viewed as inappropriate
for his/her gender. Is your store set up to segregate traditional
gender lines? What is your idea of the best gender crossover toy
past, present and future?
“ Mom where’s my naked girls?”
“ In your playroom, you think you can put their clothes on?
Are they are getting cold?”
“No, Hunter like them naked”
~ Happy Playing! ~
Name: Hollie Bethany AKA The ToyDirectory MOM
Education: MBA International Economics and Marketing, Augusta
Toy Industry Experience: Ty Europe, GyGy Inc., Aquatat.com,
Child: Hunter, age 2 ½, thinks he is a stunt man.
About my column: A sometimes humorous toy industry/business
issues perspective as tainted by the eyes of a mother.