Many girls request gender-specific media

From: Isabel Walcott (
Date: Fri Aug 20 1999 - 19:12:41 EDT

Hi Sharon et al -

On our website for girls at, we ask girls lots of questions
about what they want. One thing we have been asking about lately is
gender-specific entertainment: we've asked for the press, for educators, to
learn about the Mattel phenomenon, and to make our own decisions about
which direction to send our own all-girl website.

Many girls turn their noses up at gender-specific entertainment (but they
still enjoy SmartGirl, or they wouldn't be there filling out surveys).
Many girls feel very strongly that there should be both gender-specific and
gender-neutral play. And many, many girls absolutely insist that they want
a place to play and "toys" to play with that are "just for girls".

As an expert on girls and technology, I know they will use computers more
if they find appealing things there. I also know the girls themselves
consider much traditional technology entertainment to be unbearably
male-oriented. As the founder of a computer-based entertaiment site for
girls, I know there is still a need for what we do.

I don't think Mattel is at fault for making 2 different computers, pink and
blue. It is smart business, because the boys' mass market and the girls'
mass market DO yearn for different things. But Mattel IS at fault if they
don't put math software on both kinds of computers, or they don't put
typing software on both, or they don't put design software on both. I'm
fascinated to see what software gets on each type of computer, and whether
those choices were made as a result of real research into what kids want,
or made by some clueless sexist marketer.

Keep in mind you can always get the blue one for your daughter or the pink
one for your son.

Isabel Walcott
President and Founder

"Smart girls decide for themselves" tm
SmartGirl Internette Inc.

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