|Art and photograph by J. Stahl|
I've been thinking about toys and advertisements targeted towards women and girls again, while on my break from blogging.
What comes to mind right now are some great changes to Kenner/Hasbro's Easy Bake Oven as a result of a grassroots movement to again make a gender-neutral toy.
Thirteen-year-old McKenna Pope found the gender-specificity of the Easy Bake Oven to be problematic, after her little brother (who loves to cook) expressed an interest in it. So problematic that she started a Change.org petition to get Hasbro to make both the Easy Bake Oven itself, and its advertising, gender-neutral.
McKenna's petition got so much attention that Hasbro invited her to visit its headquarters and preview its new silver-and-black, gender-neutral Easy Bake Oven, which will be unveiled in February 2013 at the New York Toy Fair. Not only that, but the marketing of the toy will include boys as well as girls.
XO Jane - Today in Gender Neutral Toys: The Easy Bake Oven
A 13 year old girl, petitioning for her brother, got a huge toy company to change things so that not only do they have more customers, but so they are sensitive to the fact that they've not exactly been ethically marketing their product for some time. McKenna, good on you sister!!!
Were my boys older, and I not concerned about the gluten ingredients in the Easy Bake products, I'd readily go out and purchase the newer product.
In other news, we hear about concerns about girls and body images directly related to their perceptions of their dolls. A Canadian company has started marketing "Lottie Dolls". Great idea! The concept behind the dolls is actually not unlike the "American Girl" dolls, which range from bitty baby to preteen girl dolls.. Where American Girl has books to accompany their older dolls, Lottie doesn't.
A doll made to look like a 9-year-old girl — who doesn’t wear makeup, heels or jewelry — went on sale in Canada this week.
Lottie dolls, which were made in consultation with academics, look more like little girls than typical fashion dolls, such as Barbie.
Metro News - New Lottie Dolls: Made with body image in mind
On the other hand, we have Adweek publishing an article about the "20 biggest brand fails this year". Several of them, happen to deal with issues where our culture in the West just doesn't exactly have a favorable view of women. Men and women on the up and up, caught these blunders and called the companies on this - who quickly changed their tunes and removed their ads.
The ones I'd like to bring your attention to are numbers 20, 18, 17, 15, 13, 11, 10 and 2. That's almost half of the advertising blunders that hurt women, or displayed relationships between men and women as not exactly something good.
Amazing. Simply, abhorrently, amazing.
How do we fix it?