Say Goodbye to Gender-Specific “Toys of the Year”

A consumer walking into any toy store in America is guaranteed to notice two things.

First, the boys and girls sections are completely divided, sometimes even in opposite corners of the store. Second, one is smattered with dark blues and greens, holding sets of legos and remote-control cars on its shelves, while the other is blindingly pink and purple, stocked full of dresses and makeup kits and My Little Ponies.

The part that’s disconcerting about this scenario is that this is the norm for this consumer; they’ve walked into dozens of toy shops throughout many years and have always known that blue means boy and pink means girl.

And there’s no one person or organization to place blame for the unequivocal separation of the toys. The problem has been looking us straight in the face for years, but it is so entrenched in our society that it failed to be acknowledged. Until now.

Earlier this month, the Toy IndustryAssociation (TIA) announced the categories for the 2016 Toy of the Year Awards. The difference between 2016 and 2015? They’ve finally done away with the gender specific categories. Instead of “Girl Toy of the Year” and “Boy Toy of the Year” being separate awards, they’ve dropped the gender and renamed the category “Toy of the Year”.

They’re a bit behind the curve, considering Target stopped separating toys and bedding into girls’ and boys’ sections in August of 2015. President Obama also notably sorted traditionally male toys into the girls’ boxes and the traditionally female toys into boys’ boxes, stating “I’m just trying to break down gender stereotypes.” This was at a Toys for Tots event…in 2014.

The fact that the TIA finally pulled its head out of the clouds and followed suit is thanks in large part to two websites that advocated ceaselessly for gender-neutral categories. DadDoes and Let Toys Be Toys both demanded a change from the TIA. DadDoes posted a petition for the change in January, asking questions such as “Shouldn’t the awards be based on the merit of the toys, not who the TIA thinks should play with them?

Let Toys be Toys offered a resolution to the issue, stating on its campaignwe’re asking retailers, booksellers and manufacturers to sort and label toys and books by theme or function, rather than by gender, and let the children decide which toys they enjoy best.”

Their voices, along with hundreds of supporters, were finally heard and acknowledged by the TIA. With questions like “Do we have awards for Best Car for Women and Best Car for Men? How about Best Smartphone for Women and Best Smartphone for Men? making it loud and clear that if we aren’t going to separate the products used daily by adults, it would be wise to stop making the separation for our impressionable youth.

Thankfully, the TIA decided to stand on the right side of history and do away with past protocol. And good riddance, because girls like Legos and boys like Easy Bake Ovens and it’s well past time to stop telling them that they shouldn’t.

Felicity Jones Sees Her ‘Rogue One’ Action Figure for the First Time

Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma) inducted Rogue One‘s Felicity Jones into a very exclusive club when she gave Jones her very on action figure of  her character, “Jyn Erso,” from the upcoming Star Wars film Rogue One during Star Wars Celebration in London on Friday, July 15th.

“This is actually the very first toy being revealed from Rogue One,” Christie continued. “It’s not as good as mine.  But, you know, it’s great nonetheless.”

Although she likely knew it was coming, Jones was visibly pleased when the figure was unveiled. “She’s got a pretty cool ‘Han Solo’ gun-belt,” she beamed.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens on December 16, 2016

‘DC Super Hero Girls: Hero of the Year’ Movie on the Way

Where can you find the most powerful and prominent Super Teens in the galaxy? Super Hero High of course! Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Bumblebee, Poison Ivy and Katana band together to navigate the twists and turns of high school in DC Super Hero Girls: Hero of the Year. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment, the film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment  on August 9 on Digital HD and August 23, 2016 on DVD.

DC Super Hero Girls - Hero of the Year
DC Super Hero Girls – Hero of the Year

These young Super Heroes discover unique abilities, develop powers, and combat an abundance of overwhelming, exciting and awkward moments to master the fundamentals of being a hero – one day at a time! The group includes:
Wonder Woman was raised on Themyscira, a paradise island overflowing with female leaders. This natural born leader has super strength, the power of flight and a magic lasso that forces anyone to tell the truth.

  • Batgirl is crazy smart – she was accepted to Super Hero High based on her brainpower alone (she wasn’t born with super powers). But this crime-fighting sleuth may be the most influential of all! Her unparalleled intellect, expert martial arts skills, photographic memory and legendary detective skills are a formula for an incredible Super Hero.
  • Supergirl is the most powerful teen on earth, but also incredibly clumsy. She has super strength, super hearing and super speed but will need to be sure she doesn’t trip over her own two feet en route to saving the world.
  • Harley Quinn is the resident class clown who lives for jokes and over-the-top pranks. Nonetheless, this quick-witted gymnast is sneaky and full of surprises.
  • Bumblebee has the ability to shrink, allowing her to sneak around without being spotted. She makes sure her team is never surprised by any villains or enemies up to no good.
  • Poison Ivy, got caught up in a botched lab experiment, and now has the ability to control and summon plants. She’s gradually adapting to her amazing new powers and blossoming into her new life.
  • Katana is an artist with an edge – this fearless martial arts fashionista is up for any crime-fighting test and is never without her sword.

Together, these seven fearless Super Heroes prove that we all have the power to make the world a better place – even while school is in session!

“Girls Can Sell Toys,” According to ‘Jessica Jones’ Krysten Ritter

Jessica Jones’ Krysten Ritter stopped by Late Night with Stephen Colbert this week. While he praised Jessica Jones as a trailblazer for being the first female superhero in  the Marvel Cinematic Universe, talk quickly turned to the general lack of female representation in the MCU — which Colbert labelled “a sausagefest.”

Colbert brought up the recent Iron Man 3 controversy as an example of this, which shocked Ritter who had not heard that Marvel Studios executives were making decisions based on the idea that female action figures would not sell.

“Girls can sell toys!” she exclaimed indignantly. Colbert followed up by asking if there was an action figures for the decidedly adult Jessica Jones.

“I don’t know if there is yet, but there should be; and I bet it would sell huge; and I’m going to make some phone calls after this,” said a laughing Ritter.

The Ghostbusters Are Girls Now — But No One Told the Toys

Despite howls of protest from man-children across the Internet, the new Ghostbusters will hit screens this summer, and the first batch of toys are creeping on to  toy shelves. And while here are some great action figures and LEGO playsets, not all of the toys have caught on that the new Ghostbusters are for girls.

The new Ghostbusters Electronic Proton Pack released for the movie features a boy on the front of the box and the same boy on the back of the box.

Just to make sure we weren’t imagining things, we went back to the Ghostbusters trailer and checked out who was wielding the proton packs in the movie.

Ghostbusters - Yep, They're Women
The Ghostbusters – Yep, They’re Women

Another toy that has hit shelves is the Ghostbusters Sidearm Proton Blaster. Again, the photos on the front and the back show a boy playing with the blaster — not a girl.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with boys playing with these toys, but when they are toys based on a movie starring women, and the marketing completely excludes women and girls — it’s jarring.

The assumption seems to be that action-oriented toys are for boys and that boys will not buy them if they see a girl on the box. I wonder how those boys would feel about buying the “proton blaster” if they knew a woman licked it first?

Dr. Jillian Holtzmann boy-proofs her blaster.
Dr. Jillian Holtzmann boy-proofs her blaster.

Toy companies still have no faith that girls would want to engage in heroic role playing; and retail stores still have no idea where to put a toy for girls that is not coded purple or pink, or — heaven forbid — a toy that is supposed to appeal to both genders equally.

There is still work to do.

Batgirl Joins “Batman: Arkham Knight” Action Figures

Square Enix announced that Batgirl will be the next to join their hyper-detailed Play Arts Kai line of action figures from the video game Batman: Arkham Knight.

At 10 inches tall, Batman: Arkham Knight Batgirl comes with an articulated hard-plastic cape, interchangeable hands, a Batarang, a grapnel gun and a display stand.

Priced at $117, the figure is slated for release in August.

DC Superhero Girls Take WonderCon

This year we partnered up with several other little girl cosplayers to recreate the DC Super Hero Girls for our WonderCon cosplay. The girls all had a tremendous amount of fun, and even ran into Lisa Yee, the author of the first DC Super Hero Girls novel, and a group of adult cosplayers who also cosplayed as DC Super Hero Girls.

Photo gallery courtesy of WonderWall Visions.


Adult DC Super Hero Girls

Hello Koko Cosplay (Batgirl)

Natalie Atkins (Supergirl)

UnfragmentDecoy (Bumblebee)

Flying Octophant (Katana)

Kyomastr (Wonder Woman)

Arielle (Hawkgirl)

Aqua Cat & Redd Cosplay (Harley Quinn and Catwoman)