The “Toy of the Year” Awards Puts Girls Back in the Kitchen

by Intern Courtney

For the past 11 years, the Toy Industry Association has crowned a “Toy of the Year,” enlisting consumers, retailers, and journalists to help decide which toy/game deserves the title. There are 11 categories (including “Active Toy,” “Boy Toy,” “Educational Toy”), each with a winner–but only one toy/game can win the mother of all the awards.

The awards seemed innocuous enough until I checked out the categories. First of all, toys are divided into “boy” and “girl” designations, which is unnecessary. But the nature of the toys is more disappointing. The “boy toys” are interactive, innovative, and educational. Three of the toys in the “boy” group are actually double nominees, including the cool-looking Hexbug Nano Hive Habitat Set (“the first transportable environment for Nano architects”), which was nominated for best “Boy” and “Educational” toy.




The “Girl Toy” category didn’t receive any double nominees–the closest thing girls have to an educational toy is a Dora Fiesta Favorites Kitchen. What does that teach little ladies? Girls are getting kitchen sets, dolls, and mini malls, while boys are getting hot wheels, stunt cars, and lightsabers. WTF?




Why are toy companies being awarded for enforcing tired gender roles? I propose that next year, the nominees should be divided by age, not gender. Toy makers should take into consideration that any little girl could be the next Danica Patrick, or any little boy, the next Gordon Ramsey. Tell me what you think in the comments section, below.

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