Toy industry grapples with tired stereotypes
Gender-specific toys can draw consumer fire; parents say allow child to make choice.
A 13-year-old girl’s campaign to get Hasbro to make an EasyBake Oven that isn’t purple or pink so it would appeal to her little brother is a fresh sign of movement in an old debate. Parents who hope to expose their children to different kinds of play — science sets for girls and dolls for boys, for example — can find themselves stymied by a toy industry that can seem stuck in the past when it comes to gender roles.
Hasbro wasn’t the only target of criticism this year.
One of the year’s hottest toys, the “LEGO Friends Butterfly Beauty Shop,” specifically aimed LEGOS at girls, but turned to tired gender stereotypes with its focus on a beauty shop and inclusion of characters with curves and eyelashes. Barbie turned builder with a new construction set. But while some praised it, others criticized it for being too pink.
Toy experts say the industry reflects cultural norms, and