Ads in these catalogs go beyond the usual gender stereotypes of girls playing with kitchens and dolls (or using only female pronouns in the write ups for the doll toys: "Her First Doll! She'll Love it!") and boys playing with trucks. When I sift through the catalogs that have accumulated over the last couple of weeks, I notice something else that makes my blood boil.
Yup, that's right. The folks at the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood scoured the toy aisles and found (what they feel are) the top five most offensive toys, and will present the TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young children) Award to the one that takes home the (dis)honor of Worst Toy of the Year.
Monster High™, Mattel's popular tween and teen-targeted franchise, which encourages girls to celebrate their imperfections and embrace those of others, today announced that it is partnering with the Kind Campaign, a movement, documentary and school program dedicated to spreading the message of kindness. [...] "The Monster High brand uses the monster metaphor to show girls that it is ok to be different and that our unique differences should be celebrated," said Lori Pantel, VP Marketing, Global Mattel Girls Brands. "We see our partnership with Kind Campaign as a natural fit because their message of kindness and acceptance goes hand-in-hand with the Monster High brand's message to embrace our own and each other's imperfections."
Nostalgia for the past has been rearing its feathered head in marketing campaigns over the past several years, and it doesn't look like it's going anywhere. Retro styles, re-released music, and 80s cartoons (Transformers, anyone?) are being made over for the new millennium as consumable items for a whole new crop of youngsters with babysitting money burning a whole in their pockets. And while I'm all for nostalgia, something just doesn't seem right about how these products are being revamped. Not only are their makeovers subtly (and not-so-subtly) sexist, they are also poorly designed and downright boring.