The TOTY Awards; Is it Time to End Boy and Girl Toy Categories?



I was reviewing this year's TOTY Awards (Toy of the Year) nominees for "Best Girl Toy" and "Best Boy Toy" when the notion of separating the awards by gender suddenly seemed almost archaic.   Maybe its the decisions by Toys R Us, Target and Hamley's to do away with gender based signage in their stores.  Maybe its that angry little girl, Riley,  from last year who so cutely ranted against what she saw as sexist toys.  Or, maybe, just maybe its those women passing the Army Ranger course.  Or maybe its simply that this is the 21st century and we no longer see gender in such a binary way.

As a point of reference, consider this year's Girl Toy nominees:

  • Disney's Frozen Sing-A-Long Elsa by JAKKS Pacific, Inc.
  • Girl Scouts Cookie Oven by Wicked Cool Toys
  • Nancy B's Science Club Black Light Illuminator & Nature's Mysteries Journal by Educational Insights
  • Nerf Rebelle Arrow Revolution Bow by Hasbro, Inc.
  • Shopkins Scoops Ice Cream Truck by Moose Toys Pty Ltd
  • Zoomer Kitty by Spin Master Corp.

What exactly makes Zoomer Kitty a girl toy?  If it was Zoomer Doggy would it be a boy toy?  And what about the Shopkins Scoops Ice Cream Truck or the Girl Scout Oven. I didn't know that only girls ate ice cream and cookies.  

Now look at the Boy Toy Nominees:

  • Air Hogs Millennium Falcon Quad by Spin Master Corp.
  • Hot Wheels® Ultimate Garage by Mattel
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Millennium Falcon by The LEGO Group
  • Nerf N-Strike Modulus ECS-10 Blaster by Hasbro, Inc.
  • Sky Viper Video Streaming Drone V950STR by Skyrocket Toys
  • STAR WARS® Bladebuilders Jedi Master Lightsaber by Hasbro, Inc.
  • XPV HULK SMASH™ RC by JAKKS Pacific, Inc.

Since when did Drones and  Quad Copters  become a Boy toys?  And while we are at it, when did Star Wars become restricted to males?

Sitting here in 2015 it all seems pretty arbitrary to me.  I mean, who are we to make gender decisions? Shouldn't the children and / or  their parents be doing that?

So, let's just have one Toy of the Year Award and skip gender all together.  What do you think?

6 thoughts

  1. My point is that the toy industry is determining what is for a boy and what is for a girl. Shouldn’t we let a parent and the child make that decision.

  2. @Laurie, isn’t your toy designed specifically as a building toy for girls? If so, then you should be proud to submit in the Girls’ category!
    We can’t have it both ways – we celebrate things like Goldieblox as a great engineering/construction toy for girls (when in reality it’s not a very good toy – only 55% 5 star reviews on Amazon is pretty brutal), but we also want to pretend that there aren’t gender differences.
    Of course not all girls are the same, and not all boys are the same, but gender difference is real and to pretend otherwise does a disservice to kids. We can encourage their creativity in all kinds of areas and not restrict them to certain types of play without pretending there aren’t differences.

  3. I was surprised to see that those were still two of the categories. If it’s a carryover from times past, I think it’s time to reinvent the categories into kids’ interests and abilities. World Village Playsets are for kids who want to explore new worlds with creative play. Gender doesn’t apply.

  4. It’s pure pandering to the PC crowd.
    Most people appreciate the categorization and understand that children can play with whatever toys they want. Not labeling the category just makes things confusing.
    Silent majority doesn’t care; it’s just the loud manority that is making life difficult for everyone.

  5. What’s really interesting to me is that the industry does not reward, or even recognize, a signicant element in promotional toys being successful & that is the tv commercials that millions of kids watch & fall in love with promoted toys.

  6. Thank you for this…Much needed voice of reason. I went to submit our Build & Imagine toys for TOTY and couldn’t bring myself to submit for the girls category. I ended up applying for “specialty toy” instead.

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