The abundance of really awful, crappy (and sometimes just down right WTF?) toys that exist in this world never ceases to amaze me. I didn't quite realize the extent of it until my son was born. Then, out of nowhere, catalogues began clogging our mailbox, especially in the months leading up to the holidays.
I would flip through them, shocked at some of the toys that were being marketed to kids. I was safe in my little infant bubble though—at least for a while. My son was content to play with a spoon, a sock, or even his own feet for a few months.
However, once they're a few years old, boring old socks and spoons just don't cut it anymore, and you find yourself faced with the daunting task of standing in the toy aisle, wondering how the hell you got there, and how the hell some of these toys were even invented in the first place.
As the holidays draw closer, I'll definitely talk more here about catalogues, certain toys (like Barbie & G.I. Joe) that can send the wrong message, and the overzealous push for gender stereotyping in the toy world. But today, I wanted to talk toys because up until November 28th you can vote for the worst toy of the year.
Yup, that's right. The folks at the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood scoured the toy aisles and found (what they feel are) the top five most offensive toys, and will present the TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young children) Award to the one that takes home the (dis)honor of Worst Toy of the Year.
If I had a chance to nominate some toys, here's just a few that would have made my list (caveat: I don't think all of these came out in 2011, but since I'm not actually nominating them, I figured I could have some leeway):
Imagine Babyz Fashion Video Game for Nintendo DS
Let's ignore the fact that somebody clearly forgot how to spell "Baby's" for a second, and focus on the other stuff. Like the fact that this is a video game that promotes trussing up little babies—in the hopes of what? Preparing them to be on an upcoming season of Toddlers & Tiaras? I'm not so sure that "Show your model babies how to rock the runway shows and photoshoots as you select music and dance moves for them" is the best message to send to young kids. Instilling the notion that looks and beauty are valued above all else (even in babies!) is not something I'm interested in having my child learn. Besides sending negative messages to kids, these types of games only serve to normalize and reinforce the idea for parents that little girls only want and need pink, sparkly, fashion-based "fun."
Fisher-Price Smart Cycle Extreme
So, for almost $150 we can plug a kid in and have him or her pretend to ride a bike instead of actually going outside and...ride a bike? And don't try to sell me on the fact that they can learn math or reading while they "bike." There are plenty of ways to do that without a video/TV/stationary bike. I feel like our society is already headed to a place where pretty much everything is done electronically anyway, do we really need to encourage electronic bike riding when outdoor playtime seems to be at a premium?
Sweet Talkin' Ken
Do I even need to explain why? Really? "Ultimate boyfriend" Ken can tell me I don't look fat and my make up looks awesome? Exactly what every 8 year old girl needs to hear and absorb. Or not.
As for the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, do you agree with the toys they picked? What would you have nominated for a TOADY?