View Full Version : Is Hasbro Sexist?

Dr Zoltar
06-03-2003, 11:44 AM
A few weeks ago I purchased an interactive R2-D2 from KB. They shipped it in its original Hasbro shipping box inside their KB shipping box (A box in a box in a box!). It was a gift for my wife since she loves R2. I presented it to her yesterday and she loved it. But we both noticed on the outside of the Hasbro shipping cardboard box was in bold letters "BOYS".

We couldn't believe it. In a world where children should be encouraged to play with whatever toys they like, here it is clearly marked that this toy is for boys. Doesn't that seem a bit sexist?

The only logical explanation I could come up with is that retailers divide up the toy sections in stores into "girls" and "boys" areas (which to me is SOOOO wrong, but that is another topic altogether). The marking on the box is so that stockers know where to unload it to and put it in the right section. But this is just a guess.


06-03-2003, 12:50 PM
No I don't think sexist. Well At lest no more sexist then Mattel labeling Barbie "GIRLS."

Right or wrong social (American social) has dived most thing up in "girls" and "boys." Dolls are girl's toys. Action figures are boy's toys (yes can blame this on Hasbro). Using the example of Barbie the label of doll fit and quite well. On the other hand Star Wars I think action figure also fits well.

Statically I think more boys buy SW toys than girls. Based my own experience I can tell you that there are very few girls that I knew as a kid who like SW, and none that had SW toys. But as an adult I know a couple of women who are SW collectors, more I still know more men who are.

So I'm trying to say is that its more a social construction rather than one or two companies.

Dark Marble
06-03-2003, 12:53 PM
...I have worked for both KB and Toys R us and I can tell you that the sections are broken up into boy and girls toys and items. Toys are grouped by what the retailers figure are geared toward boys or girls. And yes, I think that there is some sexism in this way of thinking. In my experience, I have seen the girls walk away with "boys toys" like action figures and such under their arms, and I have seen boys looking for dolls and "girls toys."

But as both a customer and a retailer I think it is also easier to find things if they are grouped in such ways. I would expect to see Barbie grouped with other dolls and items and I would expect to see Star Wars next to He-man, Dragon Ball and the like. But in general I haven't noticed if the naming has changed in stores. I know that at Toys R Us the grouping for action figures was called male action and Dolls were always girls something or other. Even looking at it from that point of view the names MALE and girl seem to put more stress on the boys stuff than the girls.

Ok I am rambling, but I see your point, and I know that the guys are not the only ones buying Star Wars and such. My daughter is only two and a half, but she likes both dolls and figures. And I am raising her to get what she wants. Now if I had a boy, I would hope the same would apply to him. :confused:

06-03-2003, 04:13 PM
I think it's sexism. Just shows that the guys running these big businesses are male chauvanists. This sort of tagging of toys is ridiculous. No wonder kids get screwed up with their sense of identity. How the hell do these toy manufacturers and stockists appeal to the growing number of intersexual kids? Hermaphrodites? kids who know at a very young age they are different and will no doubt grow up to lead alternate lifestyles. Pegging and pidgeon holing is disgusting and unless it stops at the grass roots level with kids it's going to be perpetuated from here to eternity. These companies seem to think we still live in the 1950's. It really makes me feel ill walking into stores where the girls and boys toys are segregated from each other. What's hard about actually taking a few minutes to browse with your kid? But the way i see parents shopping the kid is the last thing on their mind, it all seems to be about either shutting the child up and not evewn bothering to look how much something costs because it's all on the credit card, or it's about status and having the newest and best available for playground one-upmanship.
Shopping in toy stores at the beginning of the 21st century is a really sad and desultory affair. I hate it which is one of the reasons why i tend not to frequent rel world stores anymore. I buy online where it's all just listed by brand or manufacturer.

Mandalorian Candidat
06-03-2003, 05:40 PM
Hasbro sexist? I'll say so! Look how they objectify the male body by churning out resculpt after resculpt of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, Mace Windu, Luke Skywalker, and Darth Maul. We only got one Malakili and Jek Porkins. They're sending us the message that if you're an XXL size you aren't worth a resculpt. You have to be young and buff to merit the kind of redundant plastic immortality they shell out.

I'll just get off my soapbox now and eat a whole carton of Dreyer's... :(

06-03-2003, 05:52 PM
I think BOYS and GIRLS on the Hasbro boxes indicates which division of the company developed the toy in question. BOYS division handles action figures and such. GIRLS division handles PLUSH (SW Buddies were labeled GIRLS), and PRESCHOOL for the younger crowd.

06-03-2003, 06:10 PM
I don't think that it's sexist at all. I didn't grow up with sisters, so watching my daughter grow up is a new experience. I can say with impunity that we never encouraged her to like or not like any kind of toy or manner of play. In fact, with an older brother, most of the toys already laying around the house were definitely geared toward boys.

However, quite on her own, she has gravitated towards wanting "girl" things, like pink purses that she can put stuff into, like little "girl type" dolls that she can dress and comb the hair with...etc. This doesn't stop her from playing with some of the "boy" stuff, but she has an inherent drive towards the more "feminine" items.

All this '60s banter of equality is rubbish. Men and women are fundamentally different, not only in body, but also in mind. Somewhere the concept of equal rights swept up the unfounded idea that everyone is created equally, both genetically and mentally. I don't think that this could be further from the truth. While I have proof of some absolutely stupid people who exist on this planet with the rest of us, I also can observe that many girls gravitate toward "girl toys" without being driven down that road by anyone.

So we're different. What's wrong with that? :confused:

06-03-2003, 06:43 PM
I can see this thread getting closed really fast. Here's something that might help speed things along: MEN AND WOMEN ARE FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT THAN ONE ANOTHER. It's not some "patriachally" imposed male chauvanistic plot. No wonder why kids are so messed up, with parents that let their sons buy barbies......... So what if some girls want to play with boys toys. When I was a kid, me and my sister used to play together with both our toys (ie Skeletor would turn crystal castle into his own private brothel). My sister ha a few boys toys like Teela, a Transformer or two and princess Leia, but she was more geared to plastic sewing machies and easy bake ovens. THIS STUFF IS NOT BRAINWASHING: IT'S the way things are. Sure some boys want dolls but that doesn't mean they SHOULD be playing with dolls. Fire away.

06-03-2003, 08:51 PM
Originally posted by Bosskman
I can see this thread getting closed really fast.
Nice. It's good to have goals.

To answer the question ... yes.
But no more so than just about any other toy company.
Girls play with dolls and plastic food while boys play with cars and guns. No, it's not "BRAINWASHING", but it is a reinforcement of tired old stereotypes.

(BTW, this threads gotta be in the wrong place.)

Dr Zoltar
06-04-2003, 12:29 AM
Originally posted by plasticfetish
(BTW, this threads gotta be in the wrong place.)

Mods, feel free to move this if desired. I mainly posted here because the R2 was a 2003 product, but that's fine. Maybe the "Other" section would be better.

Glad to see I generated some conversation on this. I'm going to pay more attention to any pallets I see on store floors in the toy section just to see if other companies do the same thing. It would be interesting to see if they do.

And anybody know why Barbie likes the colour pick so dang much?


06-04-2003, 12:40 AM
Its not sexist at all. It's how companys divide merchindise into different retail areas. Thats how retail has ALWAYS worked. They dont keep boys and girls clothing all in the same area. But wait, they do! That means that ALL department and retail stores are sexist right??? It's a bunch of bull. If it bothers you, then you really need to get a life.

You don't keep Star Wars and Barbie in the same asile. You don't keep cereal and salsa in the same asile. You don't keep magazines and cough medicine in the same asile either.

06-04-2003, 02:55 AM
Besides, there have been a few products of Star Wars that have been tagged: "Hasbro - Girls". The Beanie Toys come in boxes that had that label. As did the "Princess Leia Collection 2-Packs". It's just so manufactures and stores can more easily sort the merchandise in the back room. I see nothing "Sexist" at all about it. :)


Jar Jar Binks

06-04-2003, 03:34 AM
Good topic Dr Zoltar.

I wonder what some of the female toy fans around here think. Or how they view the way toys in general are marketed to boys and girls individually.

Originally posted by stillakid
Somewhere the concept of equal rights swept up the unfounded idea that everyone is created equally, both genetically and mentally.
By "mentally" you mean psychologically right? (Let's pull that target off your back before someone takes a shot at you for something you didn't intend to say.)

I tend to think that boys play with "boy" toys and girls play with "girl" toys because that's what they are shown. Not suggesting that in all cases it's the parents doing, but quite obviously advertising and marketing plays a huge role. You see other children "like you" in the TV commercials playing with their gender appropriate toys ... and instantly you know where you're supposed to stand. The box says "BOYS" on it, because that's who they've designed and marketed that particular toy line for. So, what if a young girl wants to play with GI Joe? God knows they're more fun than Barbie and her friend "ear ring magic" Ken. So, does the girl cross the isle and choose the "action" figure ... or does she choose the "inaction" figure on the pink isle?

I remember as a kid, having the most amazing time with my sister as her Bionic Woman and my Bionic Man teamed up to kick Bionic Big Foots ***. I don't know about the '60s and all that "equality rubbish" (from what I understand, math was for boys and girls liked to bake in the '60s) but the '70s had some interesting moves toward equality. You couldn't have Mego Cornelius without Mego Zera ... and I know I was jealous of my sister's Mego Wonder Woman.

"If it bothers you, then you really need to get a life."
There's a lot of things that bother me ... and part of life is making decisions based on your opinions. As a parent, I'm constantly fighting to guide my son toward understanding what's real and what's advertising and marketing BS. If I didn't think Barbie was complete garbage, I'd let him at it ... but often enough I have to spend my time steering him away from the mountain of dead end "boys" toys at any given store.
Thank Denmark for Legos.

And, Barbie likes pink for the same reason she's attracted to "ear ring magic" Ken and ponies ... because Mattel "knows" what all little girls like.

James Boba Fettfield
06-04-2003, 06:05 AM
If Hasbro marks a box boys because the toys inside are marketed for boys, I don't see a problem. It helps the store know where they're going to unload the toys in their store, like in the boy aisle or the girl aisle. Notice how on magazine stands they have the male geared magazines together, and on the opposite end of the stand there's the female geared magazines. Notice how department stores have separate clothes section for men/boys and a section for women/girls. I think of toys the same way. It makes it easier to know where to look for something. I certainly don't want to see Toys R Us start mixing Barbie lines next to Star Wars and having MOTR figures being moved to the aisle where dolls are kept. Where's the convenience in that?

If a boy wants Ken, he's able to buy it. If a girl wants Skeletor, she can buy it. I don't see what's so bad about walking to Aisle 21 when you're in Aisle 20 to look at the girl targeted toys when shopping with your son and vice versa with a daughter. It's easier to know what aisles hold action figures and which aisles do not.

06-04-2003, 11:13 AM
Originally posted by plasticfetish
By "mentally" you mean psychologically right? (Let's pull that target off your back before someone takes a shot at you for something you didn't intend to say.)
I suppose so. There are morons of both genders. ;) But yeah, I meant that we are fundamentally different in the ways we think, the ways we act, and the ways we do everything. This doesn't preclude someone from having the desire to accomplish something, but sometimes, due to our inherent differences, it just isn't going to happen the way we might like.

For instance, a 90 lb hottie (female) isn't likely to win any strongman competitions ever. Genetically, her body just would never really bulk up in the "right way" to allow her to compete on the same playing field. In the same way, a 6'2" beer belly steelworker probably will never look good in a French Maid outfit no matter how much he works out. Both of these people, the male and the female are unlikely to desire to accomplish these goals anyway due to their inherent hardwired personalities.

But there is a "movement" out there (by militant feminists, mostly) that wants us all to believe that everyone is created entirely equally, in body and mind. Some people are smarter, some are dumber. Some are more attractive, some are uglier. Some are more athletic, some are clumsy. The list goes on and on. And no matter how much a person may want to change the way they are, the fact is that, in a lot of cases, because of genetic preprogramming or their specific DNA, it ain't gonna happen. They'll always be ugly, or dumb, or clumsy, or feminine, or not so feminine, or masculine or not so masculine. We can try to change, but usually that desire isn't even a part of our psychological makeup anyway.

Girls will be girls. Boys will be boys. That's just the way it is. :)

Originally posted by plasticfetish
I tend to think that boys play with "boy" toys and girls play with "girl" toys because that's what they are shown.
I'll disagree with that, based on how I'm seeing my daughter grow up. But certainly, in some cases, this could be true.

06-04-2003, 11:31 AM
I remember when the Star Wars beanies came into the store I worked at, and it had "girls" marked on the box. I was a little shocked at first, because up until that time, I had seen a majority of the Star Wars toys come in marked "boys". After looking at the beanie toys, I could see how they would be labeled for girls, but I bought them anyway. I also have the Playskool sets even though they are marketed towards young kids. I believe it is just a way to seperate the items for those who stock the freight, after all, most customers aren't going to see the boxes that the product is shipped in anyway.

And my son, who loves to skateboard, rollerblade, and stuff like that, also still has an attachment to his stuffed turtle.

06-05-2003, 10:49 AM
I dont see a major problem.I would hate to look for SW figures in the doll isle,looking at all those Pepto-Bismo pink boxes*Shudders*.However,I dont think kids should be pushed into the sterotype action figures are for boys,dolls for girls.I guess it would all be on how the parent raises the child as well though.Having two younger brothers,I had a good mix of "boy" and "girl" toys,and turned out(in my opinion) a rather normal person.

06-05-2003, 11:03 AM
Originally posted by InsaneJediGirl
I . . . turned out(in my opinion) a rather normal person.

I'll second that. :)

Wait . . . what's that again about being "Insane" and located in a "Mental Hospital" ? ? ? :confused:

:crazed: :crazed: :crazed: :crazed: :crazed:

06-05-2003, 01:06 PM
I think it's as bad as assuming that people of certain racial backgrounds aren't attracted to certain products. Still... I suppose it's a way of keeping their files in order, as dumb as it may be. Still, I don't agree with it.

06-05-2003, 01:20 PM
So it seems that the issue is not so much how a store organizes its merchandise ... sure, it makes sense that dollies are over here and action figures are over there ... but rather, I think the issue is how the toy companies categorize their various brands.

I've noticed that if you go to Hasbro's Web site, you'll see the toys sorted by brand, category (puzzles, action figures, etc.) and age. There is no mention of gender at all (well, if you dig a bit you'll find it.)

If you go to Mattel's Web site, you'll see the toys sorted by age and gender. So, that means "View-Master" is a girls brand and "Magic 8 Ball" is a boys item.

For stores like TRU I think sorting by category is just going to mean sorting by gender, there's no way to get around it and it's no big deal. I think they do a pretty good job of not doing it too much really. For companies like Hasbro and Mattel though, I would think that they would resist limiting their buying audience by firmly categorizing their products in any way shape or form. Using the example of interactive R2-D2 ... if not formally called a "boys" toy and then marketed to both genders, it might make them a bit more profit. I hear that some "girls" really dig robots.

So perhaps the "sexism" has less to do with where the toys physically go in the stores and more to do with who the toy companies assume will be buying them.

06-05-2003, 01:37 PM
Sounds like the person who posted is sexist, seeing how he/she was the one that noticed the box marked "boys" in the first place and decided to blame Hasbro for being sexist. If that person was like me, doesn't really care what Hasbro puts on the box, then he/she would not have a problem. Its just a box! A box! A cardboard box! I swear, we live in an age when customers are out to attack and ridicule and persecute a business at the drop of a pin. And why? Where does this end? If stores did not seperate boys' and girls' toys, "boys" would not have been put on the box. The issue is as simple as this: Hasbro utilizes the words "boys" and "girls" (as a tool) so that retailers can organize their inventory.

06-05-2003, 02:06 PM
The toys are developed by seperate DIVISIONS of Hasbro. The BOYS division developes Action Figures. The GIRLS division developes plush, dolls, etc. The PRESCHOOL division developes toys for children 5 and under.
I don't think there is anything sexist implied by the word BOY or GIRL printed on the box. It only lets people know which team at Hasbro produced the item.

06-05-2003, 03:25 PM
Originally posted by Caesar
I'll second that. :)

Wait . . . what's that again about being "Insane" and located in a "Mental Hospital" ? ? ? :confused:

:crazed: :crazed: :crazed: :crazed: :crazed:

Shh..Dont let anyone know.:D They just keep me in this mental hospital because I'm "Insane" and could be a danger to others..yeah right;) :p

06-05-2003, 03:52 PM
Yeah... you're a danger. Riiiiiiiiiight! ;)

06-05-2003, 07:27 PM
I agree with Stillakid and TheDarthVader. Some of you are reading way to far into this. Like above it's a label so the stupid workers at TRU can put the boxes were there need to be.

06-06-2003, 02:45 PM
Yes :rolleyes: