So as it’s the holiday season, tons of parents are the latest and greatest toys for their kids. This used to be my favorite part of the holiday season; just going to stores to see all the awesome new toys that stores had on display. I’ll even admit that sometimes when I go to a store I can’t help but go to the toy section sometimes (and without any shame that I’m a 22 year old college student). However there is one thing that I suppose has changed, as I have become more aware of gender inequality over the years, there is something that I have noticed more and more over every time I go to a toy store, which is that toys that have been enjoyed by both girls and boys are being more marketed individually towards boys and girls.
One example that immediately comes to mind is toy company Hasbro coming out with a whole new line of their popular Nerf gun toys just for girls. As one who has spent a considerable amount of time playing with Nerf guns, I thought this was kind of ridiculous considering I’ve seen plenty of girls playing with Nerf guns and the idea that they needed to come up with whole new line of products just to appeal to girls just seems completely unnecessary, which blogger the Daily Geekette has commented that Nerf guns have always been a gender-neutral toy to begin with. Just put a picture on the box of a girl playing with a Nerf gun instead of a boy all the time, and I guarantee you girls will buy it.
Some people have taken further offense to these products such as blogger Girly Gamer saying “I despise it, it is lazy marketing at it’s finest” Girly Gamer isn’t the only one criticizing Nerf for this rather unnecessary marketing campaign. Another popular blogger who specializes in modifying Nerf Guns known as Rage Girl who further remarked about how she felt the new products tailored to girls were not only unnecessary but infective, saying “Making something pink is not going to draw me into it…”
There are some bloggers who are not only taking offense to this new line of nerf guns being specifically marketed to girls, but are even taking offense at the names for these new products. One particular blogger known as Phek Trek who wrote a passage in her post the bow-styled blaster which Nerf labeled “the Heartbreaker bow” which she said on the products name ” It paints a picture of a girl turning down a guy because she’s a strong independent woman who don’t need no man, that this is something to be mourn” which is a statement I would have to agree with as well, since I highly doubt there would be a Nerf gin marketed to boys that would carry such a ridiculous name as “the Heartbreaker Bow” or “Pink Crush (actual names of actual blasters in the Rebelle line of blasters).
Despite Nerf’s need to create a whole new line of products to appeal to girls, luckily there are some Toy sellers that have done the only thing that has ever needed to be done to market traditional “boy” toys to girls, such as a Sewdish toy catalog that according to Feminist Truths showed an advertisement of a girl playing with a Nerf gun- and not one from the Rebelle line of products. Perhaps as I said earlier this is all you need to do to market a toy that’s traditionally geared to boys to get it to appeal to girls. Regardless I hope such an example as this toy catalog set and not the one set by Nerf catches on and we can hopefully live in a world where all toys are gender-neutral and there won’t be a need to creat a whole new line of products jet to market to the opposite sex.