This is the article that caused the “whiny emo pissbabies…” response regarding Kylo Ren.
Another interesting takeaway from this:
The industry insider confirmed that the Black Widow character is widely
considered “unusable” within the toy industry. “She has a tight black
outfit. Our main customer is concerned with ‘family values,’” said the
So that’s Wal-Mart’s fault, then? Notice taken. (Not that I’d set foot in the place unless dragged in at gunpoint. Fortunately, when you live in Ireland neither condition is likely to occur.)
And this is worth noting too:
At the same time, however, it’s increasingly apparent that marketers’
perceptions are seriously out of touch with consumers’ tastes.
“Princess toy sales are in freefall. Disney can’t give away princess
toys anymore,” according to the insider. And yet, the insider said, the
directive is there: Maintain the sharp boy/girl product division. Marginalize girl characters in items not specifically marketed as girl-oriented.
The toy industry is more gender-divided now than at any time in the past 50 years, according to Elizabeth Sweet,
a professor of sociology at the University of California at Davis.
She’s a noted authority in the sociology of gender-based toy design and
marketing. Analyses of historical toy catalogs show that in the 1970s
more than half of toys were not designated as being specifically for one
gender, whereas now, very few toys are marketed as gender-neutral,
according to Sweet.
Marcotte points back to the deregulation of the advertising industry
in the 1980s under Pres. Ronald Reagan as the origination point for the
gender-division trend. “Once that happened, toy manufacturers realized
they could increase sales by designing toys to be more narrowly
targeted. Instead of having just a ball, you could make it pink and put a
princess on it; or, paint it blue and put GI Joe on it. Now parents
have to buy two sets of toys, one for their daughter and one for their
But that long-term trend has had significant sociological impacts.
“Girls and boys do not play together as much as they used to,” Marcotte
said. “These gender divisions are hard-coded into their toys and it
informs their behavior in ways that has lasting results on their
“… it’s increasingly apparent that marketers’
perceptions are seriously out of touch with consumers’ tastes.“
This supports my tenet that marketing is not some evil insidious science–just people waving things in front of other people hoping they’ll notice. It usually does work, which keeps the same approaches going, but, now, hooboy has it gone wrong with Star Wars.
(And the next sentence supports my idea that Hasbro got the Disney Princess line because Mattel didn’t want it anymore…)