Five Toy Brands Making Strides Towards Equal Representation
It’s important to note that these gains are just the beginning and some of the brands mentioned may have indiscretions in the past. For the purpose of this post we are going to focus on the positives and let me tell you, there were some big wins at Toy Fair this year.
First up, we have Mattel who made some waves by introducing Barbie dolls with wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs. They even announced that all of Barbie’s Dream Houses will be wheelchair accessible in the next couple of years. Big step for Mattel, and a huge win for children everywhere. Their dolls turned out beautiful, and we know countless children are going to be excited to play with dolls that look like them. These new Barbie dolls release in Fall 2019.
Another brand who did a fantastic job showcasing different abilities, disabilities and skin tones was Playmobile. They did a beautiful job on their School themed playset which will debut in August. The details were incredible and children of all skin tones were represented. Additionally, the school is designed to be wheelchair accessible and included in the set is a figurine using a wheelchair. If you can’t wait to get a figurine in a wheelchair, you can grab one here now, but this great school set won’t be available till August.
This is the subtle one, as it was tucked into a dark corner of the Spinmaster booth. John Friberg, Senior Director of Marketing, enthusiastically described bringing back the iconic Erector sets for all children to enjoy. Their inventor kits are going to be a favorite around here as we love the idea of free play for all ages. So why does Erector get to be on the list? Here’s the win: a toy typically associated with masculinity, had a young girl presented on the box. Below her was a male-presenting child of color. Again, these gains in packaging deserve positive attention, as it would have been easy enough to stick with the status quo. Children in 2019 will see themselves on packaging, unlike many of their parents who never saw anyone like them on packaging or instruction pamphlets.
A list without Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls would not be complete. Their beautifully illustrated book of historical female characters shows women oftentimes excluded from history books. Within the pages of the first and second book, you will find hundreds of stories of achievement from real women. These stories rewrite Herstory while engaging young readers through beautiful artwork. The accompanying poster and journal are a great addition and make reading the books an interactive experience. McCall Bennett-Lawrence, their head of US Wholesale, shared a story of a father documenting his daughters days in the notebook which was a touching account of modern fatherhood.
Lastly, I will mention the great work of MGA as they show representation of little girls everywhere in their imaginative L.O.L. Surprise Dolls line. Their L.O.L. Surprise House also won Playset of the Year. This isn’t a new one for me as my daughter has been playing with L.O.L. Surprise Dolls for a couple years, but if you are considering grabbing some for your child, know that you are supporting a company that takes care in making sure a variety of skin tones are featured on their doll figurines.
If you think we missed something at Toy Fair, let us know in the comments. We look forward to highlighting other favorite moments from the show floor as well as product reviews in the upcoming months.