A few years ago, Mattel’s Barbie doll line was decreasing in popularity. Sales were down and many potential consumers were flocking to competitors for female dolls. In an effort to innovate, “the nation’s largest toy maker launched the Barbie Fashionista collection last year that offered more skin tones, eye colors and facial structures.” Sales improved instantly. This year the toy maker is now looking to add a variety of body types – curvy petite and tall, to its collection.
The toy of yesteryear is no longer among us. And companies are now taking the idea of a child’s toy, one step further. "The White House held a conference on gender stereotypes in media and toys, drawing executives from major toy companies.“ Organizations like Target have now phased out gender-based signage completely for its toy aisle. In addition, toy makers of Nerf brand and My Little Pony are looking to expand their offering to sale to a mix of boys and girls.
Today’s toys are looking to cultivate a new idea for American children. Toys are not just for enjoyment but are now also used to influence confidence and even desires. "What that means on the shelves is Barbies that have a greater variety of body types, eye colors and facial structures, a Lego mini-figure of a man who uses a wheelchair, and an American Girl doll with accessories like a diabetes kit and arm crutches in addition to the hearing aids and service dogs it has offered before. Other items include coding toys, robots and circuit builder sets aimed at both girls and boys.”