RE 6: Many girls request gender-specific media

From: Dempsey or Brown (
Date: Tue Aug 24 1999 - 12:15:00 EDT

Hi folks,

Liz wrote:
"What I was tempted to write earlier when we were
discussing gender-specific toys is that a new culprit is
the niche marketers. Out to sell toymakers on their need
for them - the marketers - they seek niches using
gender-based research and then build on them. All too
often reinforcing of stereotyping is what it turns out to
be all about."

This isn't Mattel's first attempt to climb the gender
equity money tree. Several years ago they decried the
shortage of software designed for girls. According to the
press release below: "The girls' software market has
traditionally been a difficult one for software designers.
According to Glen, (Doug Glen, president of Mattel Media,
based in El Segundo, Calif.) by the time a boy is 18, he has spent 55 cents of
every toy dollar on interactive games. Girls at that age have only
spent 15 cents of every dollar on computer games."

Way to go, Liz. Elsewhere in the article:
"Another problem, imho, comes in the notion of marketing to
kids "what they want." Like the perpetuators of violence
in the media, they sell the stereotypes and then sell to
the stereotypes - and then claim what they are doing is
just meeting the needs of their customers."

Mattel is credited with believing a list of stereotypical
play activities characterize their target audience as those
who have fundamental "girl [play] patterns:" involving
 "fashion, community building, and story play." I would
prefer to believe these patterns could be built into all
play and that Columbine might still be just an elite suburb
of Denver if (at least) community building had been an
active part of the educational process. Dress up (fashion)
and the essentials of good drama (story play) could have
provided legitimate alternatives for the carnage that was
the chosen vehicle of expression, but that may be
stretching the point.

The complete press release is at:

Herb Dempsey

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