Totally off topic I know, but it’s just one of those things – I feel the need to vent. We went to see Hunger Games: Catching Fire last week. Bloody good movie I thought. However I was gobsmacked – utterly jawdropping – “WTF did I just see” Gobsmacked at an advert shown before hand for something called Nerf Rebelle.
Now in case you don’t know – Nerf is a toy which is basically a gun, or crossbow, or some form of weaponry, but with soft foam “bullets”. And they are pretty cool – although I’ve always been more of a Supersoaker type woman myself – with a side-line in Lightsabers. But there’s no denying – Nerf was something I always liked the look of and thought was a stonkingly grand idea.
Nerf Rebelle on the other hand is a girlified version of Nerf – in all it’s pink and purple sexist ridiculousness. Complete with some very pretty girls with matching pink and purple hair streaks. Who apparently would only play with toy guns if they come in pretty colours that match their hair and nails. And will only rebel if you stick a cutesy extra –le at the end.
I wanted to puke.
Why, oh why, oh why are we insisting that girls have to play with pink toys? While boys get to play with toys of any colour in the world, as long as it isn’t pink and purple – which is for girls? And think that girls would only play with “boys toys” if we cut the metaphorical balls off them and paint them pink and purple?? And who on earth though that it was suitable to stick this silly fluffiness on screen right before a dystopian sci-fi / fantasy movie in which the starring role is a young woman who clearly doesn’t give a crap about the colour of her longbow before she shoots dinner/ someone trying to kill her / some obnoxious patriarchal twat who is telling her to behave and do as she’s told??? It is so out of place as to be ridiculous.
Katniss is not mucking about with a girly version of the “real thing” – the whole story is about a strong woman: capable, smart, and every bit the equal (and more so) than the men she goes up against. Even when she has to be “pretty” to please the crowds who think that you should put on a show to please them – does she get all pink and purple and sparkly? No – she sets her costume on bloody fire for crying out loud! (And if you haven’t seen catching fire – it’s worth it just to see the amazing “up yours” in the costume arena. I imagine that going to the idiot who decided to make a “girls are allowed to play with Nerf now we have made it all pretty” version of a really once cool toy.
And excuse me – but WTF is with the Rebel-le thing????
Darth Vader to Princess Leia
“ You are part of the Rebel-le alliance and a Traitor! Take her away!
As we all Piss ourselves laughing.
I am so grateful to have grown up in a time where I got to play with toy replicas of Princess Leia’s blaster and it was black. Later they did make them orange when they re-launched but that we because there was a fair chance of someone not realising a plastic gun making blaster sounds wasn’t real, and some kid could get themselves shot while playing Star Wars in the street. They did not make them bloody pink for us girls! And while I must confess to owning a Purple Bladed lightsaber, it’s purple because Samuel L Jackson thought a purple lightsaber would be cool, not because Hasbro / Lucasfilm decided that girls should have Purple Lightsabers.
I grew up with Princess Leia shooting stormtroopers, flying spaceships, and threatening to blow everyone straight to hell with a Thermal Detonator. Yes – she got recused by a very short Stormtrooper, but she wasn’t above saving the guys backsides when they didn’t have an escape plan. She was a leader in the Rebel Alliance, and did not need an extra cute little –le to do so because she had a vagina and breasts. We have new heroes: a string of women on Dr Who who can kick butt and don’t have to muck around with “pretty Guns” . Katniss Everdeen who is probably better with a bow than Hawk The Slayer (OMG – I still remember that!), and could give Robin Hood a run for his money . River Song may wear the sexiest red heels imaginable – but her gun is all business – with no pretty bits to make it more girly when she blasts a room full of The Silence . Buffy doesn’t slay Vampires with a Pink Stake. Even in The Lord of the Rings, written in a time when women were supposed to stay at home and be “domestic”, it’s a woman with a bloody great sword (not pink) who slays the Witch King .
We live in a time in 2013 where women can be doctors, engineers, astronauts, scientists, prime ministers, CEO’s, front line army: and yet we have toy manufacturers who for some reason think that Girls have to play with Pink toys. Now – if any girl WANTS to play with pink toys – fine with me. If any Boys want to play with pink toys – go for it. The problem here is that manufactures are CONDITIONING children – there’s no choice. Aisles are colour coded – Girls toys are in the pink alies, and they are all shockingly – nauseatingly PINK. Even DIY power tools for adults are now getting the “Girls need pink” makeover. Seriously! What the hell is up with that?? You think I can’t be a proper woman if I go around using a bloody great black and decker hammer drill? My laser guided rotary mitre saw should have flowers stamped on it before I use it?
All the cool toys – Ie the ones that aren’t revoltingly pink, are in the Boys Toys aisles. All the star wars, the interesting lego (there’s now “special” lego for girls – in Pink), the Sci Fi toys, the action figures (although apprently there is a Wonder Woman figure in Pink and Purple!). The supersoakers, and the real Nerf Weapons. Girls like pink toys, boys can have toys in any colour they like – as long is its not Pink/Purple – because that’s a “Girl Toy”, and will be found in the girls section where we will teach them to be pretty, and to cook and clean and poop rainbows.
In some ways the oddest thing about being faced with such a glaringly stupid advert placement, is that it comes at a time when there is a backlash against just this sort of conditioning. Toys r Us have been pressured to remove Boys aisles and Girls aisles, Tescos have been slammed for recommending a toy cooker for Girls and a Chemistry set for boys, and even the subject of girly book covers being stuck on books despite their subject matter just because they are written by female authors has been slammed. I am glad to say that The Warehouse in New Zealand does NOT segregate toys by gender! There is a “Pink Aisles” but that’s because its full of Barbie – which is boxed in good girly pink!
I think this photo knocked up by the pressure group Let Toys Be Toys shows the problem with horrifying clarity, comparing toys from the 70′s and toys now.