From across any superstore, you can identify the girls’ toy aisles. Why? Because they are covered from floor to ceiling, and shelf upon shelf with one color – pink. Walking up and down the aisle, there are endless Barbie iterations, Barbie knock-offs, dolls, and even beauty accessories. What you don’t often see, amidst the pink and Barbies, are critical thinking toys.
Toy company GoldieBlox has decided to break the traditional Barbie-doll mold by creating toys specifically to foster inspiration, creation, and innovation in the minds of young girls. In a past blog, we discussed how GoldieBlox and other companies have been pushing for a “Fempowerment” movement. “Fempowerment” intends to stress the importance of brains over beauty.
GoldieBlox recently released a commercial that pays homage to the iconic “1984” commercial released by one of the most innovative brands in history, Apple. In 1984, Apple released a commercial that portrayed Apple computers as a product for free thinkers. Apple’s “1984”, which aired 30 years ago, also announced the release of the first Apple computer. While watching the Apple commercial below, pay attention to the main character and what she is wielding.
Compared to modern standards, this commercial seems out of place. However, the message still stands.
Let’s look at the GoldieBlox version, which takes the same idea and applies it to young girls. The commercial opens with a strong statement “Fashion dolls teach girls to value beauty over brains. One is sold every 3 seconds.” The following scenes show a pretty face on a monitor talking about beauty being “perfection,” while young girls in heels walk in a line and pick up a typical fashion doll off of an assembly line.
Similar to the Apple commercial, a girl wearing different clothing and wielding a hammer takes matters into her own hands by destroying the machine, along with the screen. As the equipment is being destroyed, the other girls pull off their heels, leave the designated line, and begin to cheer.
In case you missed it, the commercial was created to promote the GoldieBlox action figure. Yes, you read that right. This girls’ toy is an action figure, not a doll. In fact, this action figure comes complete with a four-meter zipline, axels, spacers, and washers. GoldieBlox claims that their first action figure “encourages spatial skills, basic engineering principles (suspension), and confidence in problem solving.” The action figure is even engineered similar to a typical boys’ action figure, with articulated shoulders, hips, knees, joints, and hands that are intended to grip different tools.
GoldieBlox has branded itself as a leader in innovation within the toy industry and as a company that challenges traditional ideas. Each toy is intended to encourage young girls to use critical thinking skills and basic engineering principles to create something rewarding.
Will GoldieBlox break down the walls of traditional gender roles? It seems to be one of the leaders among many companies out there, like Apple, that preaches technological advancement and innovation regardless of age and gender.