10 Worst Crimes Committed Against Womanity By Toy Companies

Posted at 5:00 AM Nov 10, 2009

By Kathleen Willcox

I often ask myself, which situation is worse: a work environment that's openly hostile to women or one that is covertly so? In the end, generation X and Y have been blessed with the fruits of many generations' efforts who fought, polished tooth and nail, to get to a place where it's against the law - not to mention polite society - to openly discriminate against women.

But we all know it still exists: bosses who question our long-term commitment and ask subtle, but leading questions about our plans to "start a family", male coworkers who talk about female bosses who are "total ball busters", etc. etc.

And our miniature cohorts are facing the same thorny issues as they dig through the sandboxes and playing with Barbies and Tonka Trucks across our fair land in their brown cords and their pink princess dresses. Toy companies--while generally passing the initial feminist sniff test--still stink when it comes to marketing to girls. Below, a round-up of their current worst offenses.

The question is: what are we going to do for the generations coming up behind us?

10. Rose Petal Cottage

This one has gender-casting writ in its very name: it's pink, it's delicate, it's diminutive, it's huswifery wrapped up in a neatly tied (and probably starched) ivory taffeta bow that has been soaked in lilac water and tinkled on by fairies. Playskool churned out this charming playhouse of horrors and it comes with it's very own super creepy song: "I love when my laundry gets so clean / Taking care of my home is a dream, dream, dream!"

9. Bebe Gloton

AKA Baby Glutton (translated from Spanish where the ghoulish little number was produced), this dolly possesses the ability to breastfeed. That's right, folks! In addition to peeing dolls, crying dolls, wiggling dolls, crawling dolls, walking dolls, we now have a breastfeeding doll to add to the roster of direful semi-animated bots. The breastfeeding doll takes it to a new level though - the doll comes with a halter top with flowers in the place of nips, a sensor in the doll and the flower that helps the doll "feed" and make suckling noises. I'm all about breastfeeding, but then again, I'm all about sex and all kinds of other completely healthy, natural activities that 5 year olds should probably not be exposed to. I'm on the fence about this one. I'd love to hear your thoughts in comments below.

8. Cleaning Trolley

Yes, unfortunately, this product does exist and is not an imaginary chimera from Rush Limbaugh's most lurid and fetid midnight visions of the future of womankind. This awesome piece of (pink, natch!) toy manufacturing from Playskool has 11--count em!--11 fancy dancy accessories for your li'l gal's cleanin' pleasure. Bonus: it's labeled "Girls Only" on the box, just so no one screws up and accidentally buys their strapping boy a damn toy vacuum.

7. Baby Wiimot

This wide-eyed dolly looks like your standard corn-fed peaches and cream infant for the masses--until a child sticks their Wiimote to it and baby comes ALIVE in the typically Margaret Atwood-esque post-apocalyptic fashion of mechanized babies everywhere. But this Baby and Me has a special added twist of post-mod menace--li'l mommies can rock their li'l robot babies to sleep--all with the help of motion sensitive rocking movements courtesy of the Wii. Baby also gurgles and burps! Ah, a whole new generation of toys that teach little girls the nurturing skillz they'll need between vacuuming, ironing and decorating their Rose Petal Cottages.

6. Barbie

The most loved and hated doll in America for the past 50 years, the Barbster has been blamed for all manners of social sins, from sexism to racism to blondism to boobism to weightism (if she were a "real girl" she'd be 5'9" with a 36-inch chest, an 18-inch waist and 33-inch hips and lack the body fat necessary to menstruate - in 1997 her waist was widened marginally). Most recently, everyone has gotten frothy and jazzed over Totally Tattoos Barbie (pretty self-explanatory) and a new line of dolls for whom Lycra and Spandex was apparently not revealing enough - their clothes are actually painted on. Zowey, don't get any ideas, girls.


Michelle said:

I'm very sad about the My Little Ponies being sexed-up. I had so many Ponies as a child (my mom hated Barbie and so I got Ponies instead) and always thought they were a relatively wholesome toy that still had hair to braid.

I don't really understand the outrage over Bebe Gloton (other than the name) because any little girl who has a doll and a mom who is breastfeeding a younger sibling is going to "play" breastfeeding with her dolls too. Just as she will rock them to sleep and sing to them, etc., as she has seen her mother do. I don't think this is anything new--Bebe Gloton is just capitalizing on something that's already happening. I doubt that most nursing moms try to hide their breastfeeding from their preschool-age (maybe even older) daughters and sons, or think that it's something they "shouldn't be exposed to." And if the kids copy it, it's just natural role-playing behavior.

BorgQueen said:

The Bebe Gloton doll just reinforces the idea that babies are sweet little dollies to be played with and then put away in a toy chest when you are tired of them. We already have teen girls having real babies becuase they think they are cute accessories, we don't need to be starting this at age 5. It is possible and acceptable to teach a child about real breastfeeding (my mom did with me with my little brother) without having her imitate a behavior that she shouldn't even be thinking about doing.

Doublas M2 said:

Struts (made by Playmates) have nothing to do with My Little Ponies (made by Hasbro), except for both being horses. Mares of questionable virtue being sold as toys for little girls is quite screwed up anyway.

Metallman said:

Where are the bratz dolls? Or the revamped Rainbow Brite?

kohaku said:

Ditto to the bratz dolls.

Taylor said:

Yeah, as a my little pony collector i have to reiterate that those god-awful things known as struts are in no way related to the classic toys. That's some other company's brain child, and I absolutely agree that they are reprehensible.

Anyway, I don't get why there's anything wrong with a tattooed barbie. The only time I've ever even heard of them is on your list so perhaps I don't know the whole story, but I actually think it's nice that they are representing a different form of beauty. And as far as painted on clothing goes, I haven't seen these dolls but I do know that (well, obviously) painted clothing is cheaper to produce. So if these dolls are being made as a cheaper alternative for lower budgets (though, I'm doubting it), I'm all for it.

SJ said:

I'd put the Bratz dolls way ahead of Barbie in the wtf stakes. At least there are many different types of barbies for different girls. There is only one type of Bratz doll, the overly made up Pussycat doll wannabe.

Ranchoth said:

Personally, speaking as a male (for what that matters or is worth), one of the worst elements I've encountered from the toy industry is the relative dearth of female action figures, especially when they're from licences that have prominent female characters in the cast.

Obviously, this all stems from the "boys won't play with/won't get 'dolls' bought for them" issue. And aside from how sexist and outmoded that may be on it's face, I also have to bring up the question of whether any figure that comes with armor, alien physiology, and/or a modest collection of firearms can be properly called a "doll."

But, anyway, this gets especially aggravating when the female characters toy incarnations get pushed back to later release waves, usually after monsters, and pointless variations of existing male figures (like Wolverine in a New Hat, or wearing Alien Hydro Armor, or somesuch)...and just as likely get cancelled anyway, as the toy line's becoming unprofitable by then.

I think I remember reading that the toy line for "Avatar the Last Airbender," a pretty popular and well-done cartoon, had no female figures. Despite *half the cast,* including the core group of heroes and several villains, being female.

It's been damned galling, ever since I was a kid. And I draw only faint comfort from the fact that the toy companies are surely cheating themselves out of profits they could make because few of them have the guts to try and pathfind a wider market.

Hell, *GI Joe* had to do it, forty years ago, and look where it got Hasbro. And for that matter, all the major female GI Joes have got at least one figure released, and often several, right up to the present day. Yo Jane, indeed.

Eye-Roller Lass said:

Let's see how well those breastfeeding dolls will sell when those videos of them simulating blowjobs on other toys -and various family pets- start popping around Youtube.

Eye Roller Lass said:

Let's see how well those breastfeeding dolls will sell when those videos of them simulating blowjobs on other toys -and various family pets- start popping around Youtube.

Space Monkey X said:

Yeah, Avatar's toy line skipped over a major character like Katara, yet released King Bumi who at that point was a one-shot character. By the time Toph and Azula were introduced in the series the toy line was already close to cancellation anyway.

Mattel (who made the Avatar toys) is especially bad with female characters in toy lines they view aimed primarily at boys: the He-Man revival series that was released a couple of years ago did have toys of Teela and Evil-Lyn, but only in some countries. Mattel UK (which is essentially in charge of what Europe as a whole gets) decided not to bring them over, citing poor sales of the original toys. 20 years ago.

obstacleone said:

The Bebe Glutton I was totally against when I first saw it. That was until I actually started paying attention to my daughter.

She's turning 3 and my wife is nursing my youngest daughet now. My daughter mimics my wife's actions, She'll breastfeed the baby, dote over the baby and put the baby to sleep. She takes this completely seriously.

If there's a baby out there on the market that promotes breast feeding as opposed to bottle feeding like every other baby out there that seems to have a bottle as an accessory, why not promote it? It's a natural thing in life. The point of these babies is for the child to become paternal and role play as they see their parents interacting with their siblings.

And yes, if I had a boy and he wanted a doll he could act like a parent to I would support him and let him have it.
Its not sexist. It's a part of life.

And a baby you can rock to sleep via the wii remote is brilliant.

I do agree toys shouldn't be marketed to one gender and I agree that sexism in toys has no place whatsoever.

For the record I had an April O'Neal TMNT action figure.

Wendy said:

With all due respect, you've got it wrong when it comes to The Rose Petal Cottage, being a crime against womanity and all. I've lived in mine for over 14 years, and though it's a little cramped, the compact size makes it very easy to clean and tiny appliances are a true cost savings.

Anonymous said:

wow!that's like making a child a striper, consitering i am one.

chuchi said:

The BEBE GLOTON ( breastfeeding doll) is Available in the USA check on ebay where the distributor in the States is selling them

chuchi said:

the 3rd batch of Bebe Gloton the breastfeeding doll has arrived yesterday 11/26/09 only 8 left , It is available on eBay, Next batch will arrive by the end of December

Koga Lisjata Pagaat said:

eve barbika za ajse priofatete ja ve molime

sarahxXx said:

I am 13 and im kinda discusted by this, My self, i do not play with this toys but i dont think little kids should be influensed by these toys, espesally the 'pole dancer' And BRAZ dolls DONT help!!!!

Pinkie Dash said:

That is NOT a My Little Pony. That is a totally different brand of toy. Hasbro's official MLP have marks on their flanks, they usually aren't normal colors, and they have smaller, shorter proportions. You should take the "My Little Pony" title off.

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