Reading the paper today I came across by Stout and Harris of the New York Times reprinted in the Buffalo News on March 23rd titled “New Weapons Keeping Toy Companies In The Pink.” The article focuses on how tow makers are focusing in on the ability of girls and women to express their aggressive side more readily and equal opportunities to play with what they choose. These toys (also books and movies) are fast becoming the best sellers for companies such as Disney, Hasbro and Mattel. Leading the wave are movies like Hunger Games, Brave and Ice. These have then spawned the array of toy weaponry including bows and arrows in shades of pink marketed exclusively at young girls.
In my own life I can see this come to play out with my six-year old daughter. On the ice rink she wants to play hockey and is already packing a good check that currently makes me laugh but in a few years it will probably hurt! Skiing she loves the danger and thrill of going through the woods and needless to say I have kissed and hugged a few trees this year. Her one ski instructor calls her “the pretzel girl” because of the massive tumble she took last year and the position her body was in once she came to rest. Slightly dazzed she spent a bit of time in the Red Cross shack but after a bit of time she was wanting to ski again that evening…we thought it best to call it quits that night. She loves shooting the BB gun, playing basketball and as one of four girls in a class with ten rough boys she is holding her own.
Does all this make her any less of a girl? My answer is NO. To me it is helping her find her identity, maintain a healthy life style and makes her confident in her abilities. Sure there are times we have to say no when it is too dangerous for her because of her size or ability but the nice thing is that she knows it is best for her and that as she grows and develops she will be able to do those things. So far it is a great ‘working’ relationship!
In the article John A. Frascotti, Hasbro Toys Chief Marketing Officer states “It’s the coming of age of the Title IX mom, who grew up as an athlete in her own right, and men, who have grown up in that environment who have daughters, want their children, both boys and girls, to have equal opportunities to play. Sure some may see it as sexist marketing on the part of the toy and media market but I think it was actually a trend that was developing socially and they have actually been a bit late to jump onto the bandwagon. It is also part of the reason I predict that Soccer will become the number one sport over American Football in this country within ten years since both men and women can play it and enjoy watching it…yep my daughter loves playing goal.
Thanks goodness for Title IX…it as helped keep this 50+ year old dad active, bruised and banged up as he is pushed to explore new activities and experiences. Not quite sure she’ll get me on those roller coasters this summer though!