As a child growing up, I always enjoyed visiting my grandparents' home, and playing with their various selections of toys that they themselves had played with as children. Comparing my grandmothers' doll to one of my own, I found the difference in clothing quality and style to be quite remarkable. The affect of change and its consequences play a particularly fascinating role in Gary Cross's "Spinning out of Control." I wish to focus on how toy industries such as Mattel and Hasbro survived over the years adapting to the changing times and the ever altering interests of children. As well as to discover why it seems that toys for the male gender seem to expand and develop much more than those created and built for females.
If someone were to walk into a toy store today, they would be hard pressed to locate a toy that did not have some type of label or brand plastered all over it. Rather than going to the store and buying a doll or a wooden train set as my grandfather did as a child, shoppers are now fighting to locate the 'top' brand in order to please their children at home. Toy companies such as Mattel, Lego, Hasbro, Playmobil and Nintendo make up but 5 of the top 10 rated toy companies that exist. These factions have faced their own fair share of trials and tribulations over the years in order to remain on top and the best of the best. As a result, they are more than capable of adapting to the needs of their consumers, and delivering top rated product ready to entertain. An example of this is shown in Cross's work:
The key difficulty had always been finding winners in a very unpredictable toy market. This was more complex than simply meeting changing consumer demand. Toymakers produced the demand for playthings as well ...
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Such a statement could not be altered in any way when it comes to explaining the consequences of the gendering of toys. Children cannot grow up as well rounded citizens when they have only experienced a small portion of what it means to be human. Both genders must cross over and break down the barriers that are causing this divide. Cross quoted Lego Chief's Godtfred Christiansen, stating that he himself "claimed his blocks provided 'unlimited' and timeless play, stimulated activity without violence, and were gender neutral." (Cross p.220) As a child my brothers and I received Lego kits as gifts; only these kits consisted of random blocks and pieces as opposed to strict plans that required every piece to be put in a proper place. Now there are pink kits for girls with oversized female characters, and dinosaurs with lasers strapped to their heads for boys.
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