In Part I of this post, I discussed that the toy company, GoldieBlox recently made the disappointing marketing move of reacting to pink saturation and gender polarization in the toy market by producing yet another pink and pastel toy specifically for girls. They further added insult to injury by producing a viral ad that not only plagiarized a song by The Beastie Boys, but the ad incited separatist, anti-boy attitudes and inflammatory lyrics claiming falsely that “everything else” in the toy stores (except pink princess accessories and dolls) “is for boys.” Part II will focus on the contrast between the toy marketing of the 1970’s and 1980’s, which was more gender inclusive than previous decades, and the cultural shift of the 1990’s and 2000’s which led toy companies to disassociate from boys and “pink saturate” their products, causing a regression back to gender polarization.
The 1970’s and 1980’s: When the toy companies embraced gender inclusiveness
When I was a child in the mid-70’s and 80’s, there was less gender polarization in children’s toys than there is today. I enjoyed playing with a diversity of toys and cared little about whether they were marketed to a specific age-group or to one sex or the other- My goal was simply to have fun and to augment my imagination with props!
Girls were being empowered in the 1970’s and 1980’s to do and become anything they chose. Girls were proudly working to their potential alongside their male peers, with both sexes rightfully being seen as valuable and capable. However, fast forward to the new Millennium, and gender polarization and stereotyping has become almost more extreme than in the 1950’s! [...]