Monday, March 31, 2008

why not just call them 'whorses'?

About a week and a half ago, I wrote about Struts, the toy inspired by Mattel's recent direct-to-video movie, "Barbie in 'Equus.'" I finally got a response from Playmates, the manufacturer of the toy, and it was pretty much what you would expect. They offered at once to destroy the line, fire everyone involved in their manufacture and development, and burn down the factories where they produced them:

Thank you for contacting Playmates Toys Inc. regarding the Struts horse and fashion play products. We appreciate your feedback regarding the Struts Product.

When we originally envisioned the product line we wanted to create a fashion doll that combined the two things that girls love to play with the most – fashion and horse play. We tested the concepts and learned from moms that they felt that it was indeed an innocent way for girls to play with fashion by dressing up a horse and not a doll. We wanted to give girls a different option from aspiration fashion doll play to fantasy dress up horse play. In addition, we overlaid the modeling concept giving it a silly – outrageous twist to the brand.

Thank you for contacting us with your concerns on the brand, we value all opinions and will consider your comments for future projects.

Paula Billingsley
Consumer Services
Playmates Toys Inc.

For a form letter that doesn't show she even read my initial e-mail, Billingsley's response was polite enough, so I won't share her e-mail address or corporate telephone number, even though both were included in her response. I have still have that much common decency left in my soul.

Still, I repeat my call for parents and other people related to children 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.) If more of us speak up, and not just at the cash register, we can get toy manufacturers to give us fewer bimbo toys and more toys that actually are worth having, toys like these.


Anonymous said...

I probably won't hear back from them. I was quite clear about what I initially thought the product name was, and "whorses" is a more polite term.

Of course, it's far more fun for me to torture you by threating to send the girls a Tickle Me Elmo.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why (maybe it's because I am a horse owner), but the Struts horses do not disturb me at all. In fact, I think it could be good form of play; let me explain.

When I see pictures of Struts in their attire, it reminds me of how we decorate our live horses around the barn. They don't just wear saddle and bridles all of the time. We actually get them all pretty, then parade them around, and watch them "strut" their stuff.

The ways we dress our live horses up can vary from hoof boots (of many colors), hoof polish (shiny black or a variety of colors with lots of glitter), braids in their manes and tails, lots of glitter in their manes and tails, body paint, blankets and slinkies is all different colors and patterns, legs wraps, tail wraps, and for the costume glasses in 4-H or at the other horse shows, they wear anything from sunglasses and horsey "bikinis" to ballerina costumes to glamorous costumes. All of these are in a variety of themes and colors. It's really great fun and enjoyable for all the kids and adults involved. Some of the costumes are really elaborate and took hours to make (I'll never forget the one horse and rider combo dressed up like Tinkerbell). Also, these costume classes exist in goat shows and dairy shows too. Just picture a goat looking like it's ready for a day at the beach or a cow and it's handler all decked out in camo. (It can get pretty crazy and entertaining)

I think that dressing up horses is a lot cleaner and would effect a child's self-image far less than dressing up an unrealistic looking barbie doll. This is all child's play and let's allow the kids to have an imagination. If we can put fancy costumes on REAL LIVE horses, then why can't kids dress up doll horses?

Unconcerned Horse Owner