Toys get sex change

Toys get sex change
Toys get sex change, Toys Get Sex Change, There’s no gender equality on the toy shelf. Boys accounted for 90% of Lego sales — that is, until the Denmark-based company sold a version designed explicitly for girls.

According to marketwatch...Though some questioned the need for a version with pink blocks, “Lego Friends,” introduced in January 2012, proved to be a huge hit. Girls now account for 25% of purchases, and helped to increase overall sales for Lego by 25% last year, to $4.2 billion, according to results released last week. “Lego Friends” requires the same skills as “Lego Star Wars” and “Lego Kingdoms” for boys, but features less martial themes, and include tree houses, civic parks, dolls houses and pet salons.

It was the company’s first major success with girls, says Michael McNally, a Lego spokesman. Previous attempts had fewer building blocks and featured larger figures more like fashion dolls. “We were trying to be much more relevant to girls by being less Lego,” he says.

Lego is not the first toymaker to give a popular product a sex-change operation in an effort to boost sales. Nearly half a century ago, toymaker Hasbro found a way to sell dolls to boys: call them something else. “G.I. Joe” and Star Wars dolls were dubbed “action figures.”

Many manufacturers are also increasingly going beyond traditional gender roles, says Laurie Schacht, co-publisher of For example, Mattel launched “Mega Bloks Barbie Build ‘n Style” last December, the first time in its 50-year history that Barbie has dirtied her hands in construction. “Construction has traditionally been a category for boys,” Schacht says, “but it’s good for the development of all children.” Mega Bloks Barbie also sticks with Lego’s pink color scheme and neighborhood themes like pool parties and aspirational mansion-style homes.

There’s an economic reason for encouraging girls to get into property development. While the bricks-and-mortar real estate market struggles, plastic real estate is booming. The sales of building sets rose by over 23% to $1.59 billion in 2012, the only category to post double-digit growth, according to market researcher NPD Group. In contrast, it says the overall toy market grew by just 2.6% to $16.8 billion.

Of course, selling a building site to girls also reflects a culture where gender roles are less defined. The toy business tends to follow trends rather than pave the way with plastic, says Christopher Byrne, content director of “The cultural shift opens up possibilities in the market that just didn’t exist before,” he says, “and companies are looking for ways to attract new business.”

Here are 3 more toys usually marketed to boys or girls that are being re-tooled in 2013 for the opposite sex:

Easy-Bake Oven

The critical response to more traditional gender stereotypes appears to be gaining momentum, experts say. This year, Hasbro decided to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the pink Easy-Bake Oven with a more masculine silver, blue and black model. “Boys have always played with the Easy-Bake,” Byrne says, “but they were usually bought for girls.” A spokeswoman for Hasbro says the new oven was in development 18 months before an online campaign by a 13-year-old New Jersey girl on behalf of her four-year-old brother.

Heartbreaker Bow

Hasbro’s “Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow” targeting girls will be available this fall and fires darts 75 feet. A company spokeswoman says it’s influenced by current pop culture trends. Look no further than “The Hunger Games,” a 2012 movie based on a trilogy of young adult books set in a post-apocalyptic world a young heroine fights for her life – and survives thanks to her uncanny ability to handle a crossbow. A similar bow, “Air Huntress,” by Zing Toys, claims to shoot “zonic whistle” soft foam tipped arrows 125 feet.

Flutterbye Flying Fairies

For generations, industry pros say boys have gone wild over remote controlled military-style helicopters and planes. Girls? Not so much. Spin Master will launch “Flutterbye Flying Fairies” nationwide this August, using infra-red technology. “Girls toys tend to be pink and include more nurturing themes, while boys are more about more physical and aggressive play,” says Steven Reece, a toy and games marketing consultant. With that in mind, Flutterbye’s skirt spins so she can fly and do pirouettes in the sky.
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