Gender equality issues are usually serious business, but toy maker Mattel wants to make it a matter of child’s play.
Once the purview of boys and boys only, Mattel’s line of action figures is getting a serious overhaul in both look and feel, Bloomberg Business reported. Christine Kim, a toy designer at Mattel, explained how for years action figures were designed by men and marketed and sold exclusively for boys. Now, though, Kim is leading the charge for Mattel’s new line of products made by women and targeted instead at girls who want to play with their favorite superheroes — or superheroines.
“We wanted to have this very strong, toned body [in the figures] but keeping in mind that they are still in high school so they’re not fully mature yet,” Kim said of the nonsexualized takes on female action heroines. “But they still look like they can save the day instead of being saved.”
The push for a more gender-inclusive line of action figures is tied to a partnership between Mattel and DC Entertainment to attract more female fans to the large number of superheroines used in publications and movies for decades, The Hollywood Reporter explained. Through the redesigned toy line and a new website, DCSuperHeroGirls.com, the companies hope to bring new life to an underserved segment of the childhood toy market. Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment, emphasized the fact that marketing traditionally male-gendered toys to girls isn’t revolutionary — it’s just common sense.
“Girls want to experience the strength, action and optimism of Super Heroes, too, and DC Super Hero Girls is part of our long-term strategy to offer a diverse array of strong female characters in a fun and action-packed universe and through a world of epic storytelling on a variety of entertainment platforms,” Nelson said in a statement, as quoted by THR. “We could not be more excited and proud to debut today’s first phase of the important new universe for girls.”
If Mattel and DC’s new girl-centric superheroine initiative pays off, “girl power” could become “girl buying power.”