“Girls dont buy toys” (sexism in the toy industry)

The reinforcement of gender roles and stereotypes is alive in well in the (apparently) male dominated toy industry.  In a recent article on boingboing.net “Comics creator Paul Dini did on Kevin Smith’s podcast “Fatman on Batman” podcast, and talked, in part, about the gender considerations of execs in new animation/superhero kids’ show design,   Dini recounts conversations he’s had with execs who insist that they don’t want any girl fans of their shows, because girls don’t buy toys. And to keep girls from watching the shows, they make sure that girls are always presented as sidekicks, “one step behind the boys.”

While I can understand, from a business perspective, that executives want to do whatever sells but in the age of strong females (Hunger Games anyone?) I find it appalling that their response s for girls to be “one step behind boys.” This is blatant ignorance. Clearly from a business perspective toy execs dont realize Hunger Games made $300 million in its first weekend at the box office. MY second point is…since when do girls not buy toys?? Apparently toy manufacturers have become so out of touch reality they do not watch their own ads on TV. Simply turn on any kids channel on television and a viewer will see a myriad of toys geared towards girls. Even better, look at Amazon.com…go to the toy aisle of any store…”Girls dont buy toys”??? A response is definitely needed to combat this sort of ignorance.  Kudos to Kevin Smith for his advocacy (transcription below) but SHAME SHAME On the ignorance of this toy exec whose head is stuck far up his butt he doesnt even know whatr girls like, thuis leaving out 50% of a market that could buy his stupid toys. You dont need him anyways ladies! (and I encourage people who have boys to skip buying from him as well just sayin’)

DINI: “They’re all for boys ‘we do not want the girls’, I mean, I’ve heard executives say this, you know, not Ryan(?) but at other places, saying like, ‘We do not want girls watching this show.”

SMITH: “WHY? That’s 51% of the population.”

DINI: “They. Do. Not. Buy. Toys. The girls buy different toys. The girls may watch the show — ”

SMITH: “So you can sell them T-shirts if they don’t– I disagree, A, I think girls buy toys as well, I mean not as many as f***ing boys do, but, B, sell them something else, man! Don’t be lazy and be like, ‘well I can’t sell a girl a toy.’ Sell ’em a T-shirt, man, sell them f***ing umbrella with the f***ing character on it, something like that. But if it’s not a toy, there’s something else you could sell ’em! Like, just because you can’t figure out your job, don’t kill chances of, like, something that’s gonna reach an audi — that’s just so self-defeating, when people go, like… these are the same fuckers who go, like, ‘Oh, girls don’t read comics, girls aren’t into comics.’ It’s all self-fulfilling prophecies. They just make it that way, by going like, ‘I can’t sell ’em a toy, what’s the point?’

DINI: “That’s the thing, you know I hate being Mr. Sour Grapes here, but I’ll just lay it on the line: that’s the thing that got us cancelled on Tower Prep, honest-to-God was, like, ‘we need boys, but we need girls right there, right one step behind the boys’ — this is the network talking — ‘one step behind the boys, not as smart as the boys, not as interesting as the boys, but right there.’ And then we began writing stories that got into the two girls’ back stories, and they were really interesting. And suddenly we had families and girls watching, and girls really became a big part of our audience, in sort of like they picked up that Harry Potter type of serialized way, which is what The Batman and [indistinct]’s really gonna kill. But, the Cartoon Network was saying, ‘F***, no, we want the boys’ action, it’s boys’ action, this goofy boy humor we’ve gotta get that in there. And we can’t — ‘ and I’d say, but look at the numbers, we’ve got parents watching, with the families, and then when you break it down — ‘Yeah, but the — so many — we’ve got too many girls. We need more boys.'”

SMITH: “That’s heart-breaking.”

DINI: “And then that’s why they cancelled us, and they put on a show called Level Up, which is, you know, goofy nerds fighting CG monsters. It’s like, ‘We don’t want the girls because the girls won’t buy toys.’ We had a whole… we had a whole, a merchandise line for Tower Prep that they s***canned before it ever got off the launching pad, because it’s like, ‘Boys, boys, boys. Boys buy the little spinny tops, they but the action figures, girls buy princesses, we’re not selling princesses.'”


Problems faced by divorced women….


This is a short but poignant informative video by Cindy Crawford. She makes many valid points which we all know but probably don’t always think about. Ms Crawford reflects on her  childhood living with a single mother who was financially reliant on her ex-husband (Cindy’s father). Although times are different now in the sense that women work and can be financially independent, times really havent changed all that much when you really examine society. Women still make up the majority of the single parents in this country. Men still can control finances in the form of not paying child or spousal support. Although this can be enforced, it usually requires time and effort on the part of the woman. Women are more likely to live in poverty than men and to be responsible for children in the event of a divorce or break up. The reasons for this can be varied but one very often overlooked reason going back decades is the fact that women STILL earn less than men in similar fields. In World War Two era America, women took on jobs that men had to leave in order to serve the country. Women did these jobs competently but often for less money. And no matter how competent a woman was in a field she was still viewed as a place marker, keeping the job warm until a man could come reclaim it. Historically men were paid a “family wage” on the assumption that they were or would be supporting a wife an d children. Although jobs were available for women during this time,  these jobs typically paid far less based on the view women were there simply to earn “pin money.” It is a sad statement on our country that decades later our country still has not caught on to the idea that women do far more than earn “pin money” nowadays.

Women by biology have to take time off from work in order to have children and for this reason typically have the responsibility of caring for said children placed on their shoulders, at least in the beginning. Women cannot advance in careers on the same track as a man if they want to have families. No matter how career minded a woman may be there are employers who still will vie them as less focused or career oriented. These things ARE changing of course. I know several fathers who stay home or who are the main caregivers to their children. Times are changing , but slowly.