Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Gendered Toy Rage


Happy Starwarsmas - contains non gamer geek stuff and spoilers

Reading this (has SW spoilers so please don't shoot me)
http://mikeadamick.com/2015/12/rey-is-not-a-role-model-for-little-girls-major-spoilers-ahead/
made me think this

We have had outrage over black widow figures this year - she gets more screen time in avengers movies than many guys yet kmart wont stock her minis - specialty stores do have several BW figures. Thunderbirds line did not include penelope or Kayu in first release but promise second release.

Sadly gender division in toys has gotten worse than when i was a kid - 12" dolls of supergirl, batgirl, wonderwoman were on display with penis bearing heroes on racks in stores in 70s

In last few years cartoon execs were displeased by girls increasing interest in superheroes through intelligent shows like young justice so they responded with a even more blokey ben10 and utterly retarded hulk family. DC have done a line of girly characters (making villains into heroes) which i think is great but why not create unisex lego and character dolls

Ive never stopped going to toystores and girls get pink for everything and i meet girls who hate pink all the time (i like pink) I meet girls who ask me to draw robots fighting dinosaurs with swords and make nasty looking guns and space suits from castles. Some girls have same taste as boys others mix it up some just hate the shit they sell for girls.

While every opportunity for women in adult world has improved (gay rights has gone down toilet in 2015 but thats another story) the gendering of toys by toy and toon makers has become worse.

I had girl dolls in 70s including leia and female dc heroes as kid. It wasnt my choice initialy as mum made me spend my savings on female characters if i got any male characters. When I wanted to take batman to shool mum forced me to take girl dolls. I said i dont want to take any after that but she then made me take both. Being 1975-6 I got beaten up and they were taken from me. Parents did nothing. While unimpressed at time (Mum was in uni at time so probably idealistic) I appreciate her efforts. In hindsight I could have been encouraged a bit better like getting me extra character rather than make me spend my meager savings or risk being beaten or robbed and losing all my savings. If I did it I would use as rewards rather than what seemed punishment when I was 5-7.

Anyway age 7 i would have baths with my stormtrooper, chewie and Leia dolls and I did like playing with my girl dolls at home and I turned out ok. One of my friends had her barbie live with ninja turtles because ken was so lame (Barbie is a astronaut a lawyer and a doctor - what does ken do?) The problem was the rest of the world and other kids who got beaten for touching other gender dolls. It would be nice if one day nobody cared. I loved Linda carter and she reminded me of my mum so I never found her sexual. Guys creepily focusing on her body creeped me out same way someone cracking on to my mum would. Women and girls can be attractive but does not mean I have to think of them as sex objects. I find greyhounds (not racing) and oriental cats attractive but my interest is not sexual.

I like women in my hobbies and find it sad so many of my interests are full of guys as I have always had 50-50 male female friends outside comics and gaming. Things have got better but I dont like structural features or individuals in subcultures that turn off women or sleazebags hassling cosplayers. Women are not just things to rescue or drool over  they are our friends, mothers, sisters.

Embarrassingly Prime Minister Tony A-butt (gone now thank Glob) chimed in on this issue saying it was unimportant and told ppl hands off the toy industry. Tony Abbott dismissed it as “political correctness”. We must, he argued, “let boys be boys, let girls be girls”. So that girl I teach Tamaki who likes space and collecting hotwheels and hyper femenine fashion is wrong Tony?

Some more articles and campaigns
https://theconversation.com/barbie-for-boys-the-gendered-tyranny-of-the-toy-store-34979
http://www.nogenderdecember.com/
http://www.lettoysbetoys.org.uk/

Lots of this might apply to race in toy lines too.

5 comments:

  1. At age 6 even I knew you couldn't play star wars right without a Leia action figure. She could also pilot an X Wing fighter.

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    1. i got a landspeeder with no figures so other kids would invite me around to play. I didnt have a speaking part and they took over driving while i sat 30 ft away and watched realizing the were all dicks. I probably had 36 star wars figures from 7-12 all the guns i would bluetack onto animal toys with capes and build spaceship deckplans, castles and trap filled dungeons from blocks for them. The Plot was micronauts plus battle of the planets in some kind af temporal incarnate royal cat clan. All the other animals are exotic aliens. Mousetrap + blocks = awesome dungeon

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  2. If there's been a female G.I. Joe doll I would have wanted it... as long as she came with 'Kung Fu Grip'. As it was my first G.I. Joe and Big Jim figures were black... so I suppose that's something.

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    1. That grip was awesome - i remember eagle eye gi joe and his creepy stubbly 70s hair. I had steve austin doll and i loved bionic woman and the westworld robot bad guys they faced. Kid stole my Pulsar Doll then would search my pockets if i went to his house. So I stuffed a dried current into his bionic eye hole ruining it.

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  3. Everything having to do with enforced gendering in action toys strikes me as weird.

    As a kid my brother and I had something close to parity in gender action figure genders (three different Leias plus assorted female characters from other non-Star Wars playsets).

    I remember as a pre-teen of the 1980s, the idea of "girls and boys being able to do things equally" being kind of occasionally moralized by cartoons at the time. And I guess for the most part I took it to heart.

    The idea that a girl would *want* to play with action figures and such was fascinating (as were girls in general) and generally appealing. But I can't remember any girls I knew at the time ever showing much interest in doing so.

    I'm no accurate judge of these things, my awareness as a kid was limited, but it almost seems like the situation has deteriorated since then. Now there seems to be a lot more vocal interest in action toys among girls (though bizarrely not so much my daughter who I'd love to share these things with), but also more blatant effort to shout down or side track girls' interest in the same.

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