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Solving the Girls' Toy Puzzle

If you're in the toy business, or even the games business, the Washington Post has a decent article on the toy field, including a thorough discussion of the gender split (and why boys still dominate the toy field), recent successes/failures, — and, to add to gmskarka's recent State of the Gaming Industry summation, the 4% decline in overall toy sales last year.

I'm bemused by the fact that the toy biz comes up with some of the same takes on the sales problem as the games biz: Is it the quality of the toys, or is it the competition, or is it changes in the audience that lead to declining sales? The refrain of "excellence in design but competition from TV and internet" should sound familiar.



( 2 sutras — Your wisdom )
Apr. 2nd, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC)
as far as i'm concerned the toy industry is waking up. tossing the gender-targeted marketing is good for business and consumers.
the Barbies are naked and have ratty hair because they are being used as action figures. i meet more and more women like me whose parents would not buy them the Star Wars/GI Joe/Transformers they craved. hard plastic adult dolls are storytelling props, and clothes changes get in the way when you can simply describe how she looks or engage in the pleasurable activity of creating something of your own out of kleenex.
i also remember playing with my little female friends and being frustrated in our play scenarios with the almost entirely female world of Barbie. girls' imaginations aren't satisfied by gendered toy offerings; even if you go the stereotypical nurturing route, they want to play in a world that has men and women, boys and girls, and pets. it doesn't surprise me that their interest turns toward patterning adult behavior.

and how DARE THEY call Legos boys' toys? i always thought they were the ultimate unisex toy...
Apr. 6th, 2006 08:48 pm (UTC)
As Wolf will attest to, Legos were VERY unisex in our household. (Except when Don K. came over and bombed all our buildings. We didn't know what to do with that.)

But yeah, "they" are always telling us that Legos are boy toys. And then, idiotically, they invent Clikits (http://www.clikits.com/thegirls/?locale=2057%20
), which are stooopid. For girls. Gee, thanks, yeah, I'll be buying those for the kids. Because Legos are for booooys.
( 2 sutras — Your wisdom )

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