Tag Archives: diversity

Finally – Female Army Soldier Toys!

It may have been a while since we played “Army,” but most of us can recall the little green plastic army men that we used to declare war on our siblings and friends! Those little toy men offered hours of inexpensive play and imagination. But, note the key word here: “men.” Where are the female soldier figures? After all, women have been in military service and combat for decades. Why haven’t the figures changed to reflect the new military? Good question.

After a fruitless search looking for female soldier figures, a six-year old girl in Little Rock, Ark., decided to write letters to toy companies asking for female soldiers. One company, BMC Toys based in Scranton, Penn., replied to her about the request. The company had been considering offering female figures, even going so far as sketching the female soldier figures in classic Army poses. The letter finally made the decision for the company and the new toys will be released in 2020. The feedback has already been overwhelmingly positive and preorders are being requested. BMC plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign to help promote the toy and gain funding.

Let’s play Army!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the role of gender in toys with students. Have students list toys that are oriented to boys, and toys oriented to girls.
  2. What makes them different? Should there be different toys by gender?
  3. Show news video about the girl Army toys: https://youtu.be/i_eYnv_pCZs
  4. BMC blog post about the toys: https://bmctoys.com/blogs/news/bmc-toys-plastic-army-women-project
  5. Have students search for female soldier toys on Amazon. What did they find? (What they will find are ‘pink colored’ soldiers, but still in male forms.)
  6. Next, divide students into teams. Have each team choose one of the male or female toys and develop a new product that would appeal to both genders.
  7. Have each team also develop a marketing program for the new toy.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, CNN, CBS Evening News, Fortune, and other news sources.

 

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Gender-neutral Dolls for Creating Your Own World

Barbie dolls have been around for 60 years and have mirrored many of the changes in culture and society. Barbie has been a politician, actress, musician, doctor, nurse, astronaut, and more. But there is a point where no matter how many changes Barbie goes through, she will always be seen as the iconic Barbie doll, and that doll does not reflect how many children view themselves and their world.

Today’s society increasingly is rejecting labels and embracing diversity. Mattel’s new line of dolls – the Creatable World doll – is still high-fashion, but the dolls reject labels and invite everyone to play. The dolls are designed as gender-neutral and can therefore be dressed and accessorized to adopt to many types of children – male, female, transgender, gender-fluid, and non-binary. In other words, the Creatable World dolls can be turned into virtually every different child’s gender and appearance.

The dolls look like a 7-year old child and have makeup-free, polished faces. There are various wigs, accessories, and clothing wardrobes. Dolls come with versatile pieces of clothing that give kids the freedom to make the characters whoever they want them to be. The dolls give kids a blank canvas with which they can create their own characters. Mattel uses the hashtag #AllWelcome to encourage a world where everyone is invited to play.

What are you waiting for? Let’s play!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Divide students into groups. Have each group 10 of their all-time favorite toys.
  2. Build the list of toys on the board and challenge students to examine the list.
  3. Are these toys gender-neutral, or are they directed at boys or girls only?
  4. Discuss with students how toys can reflect society and cultures.
  5. Show the video: https://youtu.be/-hGu4hPSNXI
  6. View the dolls at Mattel: https://www.mattel.com/en-us/creatable-world
  7. What other toys could use this approach?
  8. How should Mattel market the new dolls?

Sources: Lee, C. S. (26 September 2019). Mattel releases line of gender-neutral Creatable World Dolls. Advertising Age.

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What Women Want (from Cars)

It’s an age-old question: What do women want? While the answers to this question could fill a set of encyclopedias, let’s limit the question somewhat and just discuss what ‘cars’ women want. Last year, Edmunds.com researched this topic and came up with a list of cars that almost no women drive. Can you guess which car was at the top of the list? It’s a sports car, very pricey, very fast, and starts with “L” ….

Yep, you guessed it. Number one on the list was Lamborghini with male owners accounting for 93% of the buyers (tied with McLaren also at 93%), Ferrari at 92%, Maserati at 84%, and Tesla at 83%. Indeed, 90% of ALL sports car buyers are men. Although men seem to prefer loud, fast, impractical cars, this is a problem for automotive manufacturers as women play a significant role in roughly 85% of all car purchases.

So, what cars do women buy? Overwhelmingly, women prefer cars that are affordable with good fuel economy – and these tend to be mostly from Korean automakers such as Kia and Hyundai, along with Japanese automakers Nissan and Mitsubishi. These findings are based on automotive research company iSeeCars.com which analyzed 54 million car sales and more than 500,000 consumer inquires over a nearly three-year period.

The average price of the top 10 cars preferred by women is $14,870 compared to the average price of cars on the top 10 list preferred by men at $49,224. Let’s compare.

The top five cars women want:

Rank Car Ave. Price Inquiries by Women
1 Hyundai Tucson $16,722 66.2%
2 Nissan Versa $12,144 64.0%
3 VW Beetle $18,179 63.9%
4 Kia Forte $13,730 62.8%
5 Ford Fiesta $13,237 62.8%

 

The top five cars men want:

Rank Car Ave. Price Inquiries by Mean
1 Nissan GT-R *40,450 99.1%
2 BMW Me $35,763 92.2%
3 Porsche Cayman $43,303 91.9%
4 Porsche 911 $65,081 91.5%
5 Lexus GS 350 %33,004 91.3%

 

There are no overlaps on the top ten list. Lest we think this is an inconsequential difference, consider the size of the automotive industry. There isn’t any car company that wouldn’t like to increase the size, and diversity, of its customer base.

Think about it – what do women want?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Ask students about their car preferences.
  2. Divide the class by gender. Ask women what cars they think the men will prefer, and what cars they prefer. Ask men what cars they think the women will prefer, and what cars they prefer. Why these choices.
  3. Ask the women to list the factors they look for when buying a car. Ask the men the same question. Compare the findings on the board.
  4. Still in gender-based teams, have the teams examine the marketing mix of the top companies, and adjust the mix to attract the opposite gender.
  5. Debrief the exercise.

Source:  Ad Week, Edmunds.com, Market Watch, iSeeCars.com

 

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