I have three nieces, aged 12, 9, and 8, and over the years they’ve played with plenty of toys, although they’re starting to get to the age where they play with them less. Naturally, they’ve most often gone for “girl toys” – baby dolls, Barbies, that sort of thing. Occasionally they’ve played with some of mine and my brother’s old toys that still live at my parent’s house, but time and time again, it’s the girl toys they’ve stuck with.
Now Hasbro has gone and done something they think is revolutionary: CEO Brian Goldner has announced that they’ve gotten rid of all gender distinctions for their toys.
“We look at our brands more inclusively than ever. In fact, we eliminated the old delineation of gender,” Goldner tells The Hollywood Reporter in a new interview.
“And if you think about a brand, be it My Little Pony, where 30 percent of our global TV audience is boys, or Star Wars, where we are launching [all-female animated series] Forces of Destiny with Lucas and Disney, you’re seeing people who want to be engaged in these stories.”
Now here’s what I know: they think they’re so cutting-edge, jumping onto the front seat of the gender-is-just-a-social-construct bandwagon. It’s easy to envision the Hasbro board patting themselves on the back for being so forward-thinking.
The first inclination of any right-thinking person is most likely outrage. After all, here’s yet another major corporation bowing at the altar of political correctness. But hear me out as to why the decision isn’t as revolutionary or crazy as either side of the debate is inclined to think.
Here’s what I’ve seen in my nieces as well as in other family members and friends’ kids over the years: boys are going to be drawn to masculine toys, and girls will gravitate toward feminine toys. Other than those kids whose parents shove the gender-neutral agenda down their kids’ throats, it’s human nature.
And yes, there are some toys that cater to both boys and girls. But the vast majority of toys don’t need labels to tell you which gender will want to play with them. Labels on toys telling consumers whether they’re for girls or boys simply aren’t necessary.
Guess what, Hasbro? You’re not as hip and edgy as you think by eliminating the unnecessary.