"Sexist" toys


Formely Gone Gonzo
Jun 30, 2014
Bob_McMillan said:

So, what do you guys think?
Is the color what you consider sexist? I think MovieBob talked about the subject in his video: Pink is not the problem. Personally I'm glad these toys exist, because before there weren't any commercials that even hinted girls that they could play with these kind of toys that were traditionally made for boys. It's a step. It's better than before. And it will make it easier to make toys look less sexist in the future.

PS captcha: silver lining That's my point, captcha.


New member
Sep 30, 2010
NPC009 said:
for every girl who happily picks up a Teenage Mutant Ninja turtle figure there may be another who wanted it but knew, even at that age that it wasn't meant for her

and I don't know what the answer is, because making the Ninja turtles pink wouldn't be the answer...
I think the answer could be as simple as putting not just boys but girls as well on the packaging and in commercials. I mean, look at old Lego and its ads. For instance, in the early eighties they had this series of ads that pictured both boys and girls playing with the same bricks, proudly showing their creations to the viewer.

This is what I grew up with, but if I look at modern Lego sets, I can imagine young girls now get a different message.

(Here's an interview [http://www.womenyoushouldknow.net/little-girl-1981-lego-ad-grown-shes-got-something-say/] with one of the women who posed for one such ad as a young girl, and a recreation of the ad with a modern lego.
Funny thing that. It was one of the examples in my marketing text book. Legos HAD been designed as gender neutral. Despite that, the female market still made up a small fraction of their sales. So you got all of those "boy" sets to cater to the people who were actually buying their product. The "girl" sets as of late are the direct result of market research, and nothing more. I'd say any inequality is the result of parents and relatives, not the company, as they have final say on what is or is not bought for the kid (Though that doesn't discount the possibility that they just weren't interested. The textbook claims that the market research indicated that girls were, on average, simply not interested in playing with Lego). A sizable portion finally decided it would be OK to buy their niece/daughter Legos now that they're available in bright pastel colors and don't have many of the customizable properties one normally associates with Lego. They're more like dolls with some assembly required, and we all know how the stereotypical girl feels about dolls. And if it means the kid is assembling Not-Barbie's Dreamhouse instead of Daddy? That's what we call a win win.


New member
Dec 22, 2010
I do often wonder if perhaps all this sexism malarky is in fact moreso relevant to today than it ever was 20+ years ago.

i.e. When people talk about lack of female characters or w/e in gaming, I originally thought they were completely wrong... but more recently I've started to wonder if perhaps I was more biased in favour of looking at older games, and maybe that they actually have a more valid case in the past 10-15 years or so? Not exactly a brilliant one, but maybe a little better.

Then that Lego thing from the 70s makes me think I may have been right.

It's just... I don't remember girl gamers being considered a strange or alien concept 20+ years ago. I may be wrong but I think it was quite assumed that while there were much more boys playing games, there was a reasonable amount of girls too, or at least it wasn't considered outright "weird" or whatever like it seems to me modern revisionist groups would have you believe. Just that they seem to me to be proposing an idea that states gaming was always "sexist" and it exists on a simplistic linear scale where there was more of it in the past and less of it now. Despite it being hard to think of many games back then with 2 or 3 protagonists where 1 of them wasn't female, and I really don't think they were trying to appeal to boys with that either... more likely it was to appeal to the obvious notion that there might be a girl around sometimes when people wanted to play multiplayer, and if they could hook them in then all the better.
Then again... maybe that's because the PlayStation changed the face of gaming, and before that gamers were all considered weird outcasts? Then it may have become more of a demographic-targeted exercise, where they realized they could hook in more "normals" and make it "acceptable". Trying to appeal to the ordinary young adult male who might be interested in playing FIFA before/after a night out drinking? The kind of people who play COD now and have no real interest in gaming. I dunno.


New member
Oct 5, 2011
CommanderZx2 said:
No where on the box does it say for girls. The images on the box are clearly designed to imitate Katniss and appeal to fans of those movies/books.
Yep, I was stopping by this thread to make the same point. Without getting embroiled in the sexism debate, on a much more pragmatic and financial level, this Nerf bow is surely designed to appeal to the same demographic who read and watch The Hunger Games. The palette and stylings are definitely feminine, but it's a "touch chick" vibe rather than "pretty pink"... wouldn't the feminists call that a small step in the right direction, at least? It's not smashing or inverting any gender roles, but it's broadening them... and realistically, I think this kind of gradual change is the best we can hope for.


I'm in your mind fuzz
Sep 26, 2010
VanQ said:
And Blue was a color that was considered girly too. This just sounds like "Pink used to be a boys color and blue was once a girls color and we finally overcame that and even managed a complete turnaround but now it's still problematic just because."
pink isn't just a color

its a code, a sign it more often than not means "feminine" and its VERY hard to separate from that meaning these days...(save for the 80's)

Rellik San

New member
Feb 3, 2011
Nerf made toys with a visual aesthetic that appeal to a different demographic than the other Nerf toys, the Recon Series is different to the Zombie Series which in turn is different to the Elite Series which is different to the Rebelle Series of toys.

That is all they have done. Sure there are girls on the box of the Rebelle line, but looking at my plush Rainbow Dash or the fact my nephew who loves his Nerf Guns as much as his mothers giant Pinkie Pie plushie...

...in fact that's a good point I'll bring up, until recently despite ALWAYS listening to the songs on Youtube, my nephew would say he hated Frozen. Now this isn't some coda he's picked up from his family, this was because another 5 year old girl told him that's what her Mother said, with a little coaxing and me talking to him about how much I liked the film too (Uncle Rellik is the paragon of manliness and always right.... wait... does that make me the patriarchy? or is it just a silly bit of fun with my nephew, I'll let the screaming hordes decide that one) he now openly admits to loving it.

I don't see people taking Disney to task over the sexist marketing of Frozen toy lines that made my nephew believe that he shouldn't like something he really really liked to the point he got seriously upset about it one day. So why is Nerf being taken to task for a new toyline where the only real difference is the tribal markings and a girl on the box?


New member
Jan 28, 2012
The notion that things with too much magenta in it are for girls is rather silly, yes.


New member
May 11, 2011
I don't think it's sexist at all. You can argue that the existence of pink Nerf guns is due to sexism in the culture (and in many ways you'd be right), but neither the toys nor the marketing is sexist itself. The fact is, very few girls were buying Nerf guns, for whatever reason. The company saw a market and created a product line marketed explicitly to girls, and now girls are buying more Nerf guns (and Nerf is making more money). It's not like a girl who wants a regular yellow or blue Nerf gun can't get one now that these exist, they simply tap into a market (young girls who want pink crap) that would otherwise not be buying Nerf products.


Don't mind me, I'm just a NPC
Aug 23, 2010
Rellik San said:
I don't see people taking Disney to task over the sexist marketing of Frozen toy lines that made my nephew believe that he shouldn't like something he really really liked to the point he got seriously upset about it one day. So why is Nerf being taken to task for a new toyline where the only real difference is the tribal markings and a girl on the box?
This was actually brought up in the other topic. Boys may have it more difficult than girls. Being a tomboy is a relatively normal things, but if a boy admits he's into 'girly things' he's setting himself up as a target for bullies. A girl into sports or nerf guns or whatever is probably tough and cool. A boy who likes cooking and knitting is a *homophobic slur*.

Platypus540 said:
The fact is, very few girls were buying Nerf guns, for whatever reason. The company saw a market and created a product line marketed explicitly to girls, and now girls are buying more Nerf guns (and Nerf is making more money). It's not like a girl who wants a regular yellow or blue Nerf gun can't get one now that these exist, they simply tap into a market (young girls who want pink crap) that would otherwise not be buying Nerf products.
And this is why people are not sure how to think of this. Why should girls suddenly be interested in these toys now that there is a girls' version available? Were they raised to be so superficial that they'll play with things based on the colour alone? Were they scared of admitting they're interested in nerf guns and feel like this new line gives them permission to like these toys? And if the latter is true, is the toy company doing them a favour by creating this line and giving them a safe context to play in? Or are they enforcing gender stereotypes?

BTW Having seen the toys and the commercials I think they did a fairly good job with the Rebelle line. The toys seem to be good quality and are not simply repainted versions of earlier boy versions. The commercial is very similar to the ones starring boys. Typical girl colours such as pink and purple are only used as accents, most girls have practical and natural hairstyles (lots of braids, of course) and wear sensible clothes.


New member
Dec 31, 2011
The problem comes down to everyone wanting different things from "equality". In this specific case its:

Pro-equality person A: "You don't have products that appeal to girls! Sexist!"

So they make ones that are viewed to appeal to girls. In this case they make pink and purple ones (because lots of little girls like pink and purple, argue why this is if you wish but this 'fault' is hardly entirely on Nerf) and they make them somewhat stylised after a popular recent movie that a lot of girls like. Unfortunately that leads into...

Pro-equality person B: "How dare you pander to the stereotypical society views on girls! They should be able to do whatever they want, not be forced into buying pink things!"

I don't think they can win here. If they DON'T have a product line like this then they get criticised for not having anything that girls would like. If they DO have it then they're sexist for stereotyping girls.

And personally I take issue with claiming that a colour is specific to a gender. I happen to LIKE purple. >_>


New member
Mar 4, 2012
Everytime I see a story like this and the reaction people have to it, I think of this Simpsons episode:

EDIT: Corrected grammar error.


New member
Dec 6, 2014
Fleshlights are pretty sexist in that they are entirely exclusive of women

oh wow, so they say the first 7 simpsons seasons were good. I'll have to go watch them.


New member
Jun 21, 2013
If paining a easy-bake over cameo makes it easier for boys to play with the best toy ever made, I support that. I mean the whole color coded gendered toys thing is silly, but some times you have to work with silly.


New member
Jun 27, 2013
Bob_McMillan said:
As you can probably guess, this was prompted by this thread: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.867644-French-feminists-secretly-plant-pamphlets-in-hundreds-of-childrens-toys-labeling-them-sexist. One of the posters brought up the Nerf Rebelle series. You can look at all of them here: http://www.hasbro.com/rebelle/en_us/.

So while I was strolling around in the mall, I just so happened upon the Nerf area in the department store. It wasn't the first time I had seen these toys, and I always thought "That's sexist as fuck!". I was with my family though, and my sister expressed interest in one of the toys, which she eventually bought and is currently shooting everything with it (I may or may not have tried it myself) So I was thinking, yeah, that's why these toys are sexist, because they entice girls to buy it as now there are Nerf toys are for girls, when in reality there should be no problem with girls using regular Nerf guns. But I remembered that my sister is a girl who asked for, and received, a Nerf shotgun from Santa Claus. I asked her if these toys offended her, and she said no, in fact she said she was glad they thought to make toys for them too. She is by the way 12 years old. Her older sister by one year does find them sexist, but my older sister, who I consider extremely smart and is a Humanities student, also is confused about whether these toys can be considered sexist or not. I mean, isn't it actually kind of in line with feminism? They didn't market Nerf to girls before, but now they do, does that not make it equal? Its not like the toys are inferior or anything, they just have a different background (its supposed to be spy themed, while the male equivalent was like special operations) and paint jobs.

So, what do you guys think?
When I saw the Nerf Rebelle stuff, I thought it was just a stupid idea. I didn't think about it beyond that though.


Elite Member
Aug 28, 2014
spartan231490 said:
I think if you have to look for something to be offended by, you should grow the frick up and thank your lucky stars your life is as good as it is. Some of us have real problems we have to deal with, and you're agonizing over whether a nerf gun marketed for girls should offend you.
So what you're saying is... I should post my life's problems in a video game website's forum, asking anonymous people what they think about my most personal thoughts and troubles, instead of going to lifetime friends and family for advice?

I simply find it interesting that what I thought might be wrong, and instead of going to the library and agonizing for hours over dusty old theses and books to find deeper thoughts on the subject, I asked some people who I consider pretty intelligent for their thoughts on the situation. My life doesn't depend on the "answer" to my question. In fact, I only checked this thread now. I thought it could be an interesting discussion, which is what these forums are for.

Why are you even here, if you do deem such things so insignificant, that I should "grow the frick up"? If I had "real problems", I certainly wouldn't spend my time on forums, posting on threads I apparently don't even care about.


New member
Mar 10, 2013
Separate but equal. It's unfortunate that girls have to think, "it's okay now because they make a pink one". It's not about the color it's about the mindset we have attached to it. It doesn't matter what the color is, it matters that girls have been socially coded to see pink as the acceptable option and anything not pink {or purple, or pastel blue} must be for boys. The same is true in reverse for boys. If they had made a pink nerf bow and not put a girl on it, not decked it in wings but just set it with all the other nerf stuff, would boys have bought it? Would they have teased the ones that did because pink is the "girl's weapon"? I like the idea of nerf weapons and other similar things being available to girls. I don't like the idea that they have t make a whole separate line for it. If they started using more girls in the regular advertisements with the girls using regular nerf, would boys shy away from the toys because girls are playing with them? Is that fear what prompted the marketing who wants the money from parents of girls to create the Rebelle line? The problem isn't Rebelle. The problem is what led to it, what it means and what it tells all our children.