Friday, March 21, 2008

how tasteless can a toy get?

If you cross Barbie with My Pretty Pony, will the offspring be a plastic Minotaur, or will it be the hot new toy?

The artist's rendering of the entire line is even more disquieting.
For parents worried that the toys being marketed toward their young daughters have been too focused on encouraging them to use their imagination, explore the world, and create new things, Playmates Toys has created the ideal toy. It's Struts, an equestrian streetwalker to bring out the JonBenet in every young girl.

Unveiled at the recent New York Toy Fair, Struts is a horse that comes with fashion accessories: frilly dresses, halter tops, makeup and platform shoes.

If you don't believe me, you can see for yourself.

When I heard about Struts, I did what I hope many other people do. I wrote to Playmates Toys and expressed my dismay with this toy, as a father of girls.

I am writing to express my deep concern over the new line of "Struts" horse toys that your company recently unveiled at the New York Toy Fair.

Simply put, I find it in extremely poor taste to eroticize toys marketed to elementary school grades, as is the case with these glammed-up "Struts." Girls regularly are bombarded with messages that place primary value on their appearance and glamour; far too few toys marketed at young girls encourage them to use their imaginations, to solve problems, or to create things. Sleek, eroticized toy horses with fashion accessories do nothing these more enduring and more valuable traits. They do, however, encourage young girls to focus on their physical appearance at an age when such a degree of glamour is wholly inapprorpriate.

I urge you to reconsider your decision to market these toys. I will not be getting Struts horses for either of my daughters, nor will I allow others to buy such toys for them.

Thank you for your attention.

Particularly if you have a daughter yourself, but even if you don't, I'd urge you to contact Playmates Toys yourself and urge them not to bring these things to the shelves. (You also can e-mail them, if you prefer.) Far too many toys for girls focus on appearances and hair, and not enough of them encourage the traits that we truly value. If more of us speak up, and not just at the cash register, we will be heard.


marauder said...

Why can't we see toys like these marketed to girls more often?

Anonymous said...

We're raising Aliyah as a space alien, specifically a native of Pluto. This way she'll have the welfare of an entire Dwarf planet to focus her energies on.


marauder said...

As long as she's clear that it's a dwarf planet, especially in Laurel's presence.

Liadan said...

Creepiest little buggers you've ever seen, right? They don't even look like horses, not with those godawful hoof-heel things.

kokonatsu said...

Now these things have found Finland.

I recently got toy advertisement from supermarket. (Christmas is coming..)
I was shocked to seeing this "abhorrent of toy" being sold.

Look at them. You could easily snap their "fashionable" legs to two pieces by flick of fingers!

.. Same could be done while child would play with one and make it "stumble".