Hello Barbie, in a landslide!
The votes are in for the 2015 TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young children) Award, and the creepy eavesdropping Hello Barbie blew away the competition with 57% of the vote. The Brands We Know book series was runner-up (14.5%), followed by the Bratz #Selfie Stick with Doll (13.6%), Nerf Rebelle Charmed Dauntless Blaster (8.6%), Sky Viper Video Drone (3.8%), and Tube Heroes Collector Pack (2.2%).
CCFC member Julie Abraham explained why she voted for the Wi-Fi enabled Hello Barbie as the year’s worst toy: “This toy has all of the things I most detest: sexism, invasion of privacy, and rampant commercialism. YUCK!” Kaylan Crowther said, “Just when you thought Barbie couldn’t get any worse…she does.”
All of the nominees had passionate supporters. The blatant commercialism of the runner-up Brands We Know book series—glowing portraits of corporations like Coca-Cola, Disney, McDonald’s, and Nike presented as non-fiction for kids—struck a negative chord with many. “These marketing ploys disguised as books shamefully exploit a child’s inability to distinguish between reading material and advertising,” commented Robin Meltzer. “Using books to deceive and exploit children is so sad. Reading should be fun, educational, imaginative. What a terrible misuse of the printed page!”
Moira Chas, who voted for the Bratz #Selfie Stick with Doll, said, “It was an incredibly hard choice. What made me decide is that the Bratz doll combines two awful features: promoting the selfie culture and distorting body image.”
Cody Weaver said of the Nerf Rebelle Charmed Dauntless Blaster, “Not only does Nerf’s Rebelle line of toys militarize playtime and teach children that guns are fun and for playing, it also teaches girls that they are separate from the boys and must have their guns adorned with glitter and pastel color pallettes. How can one product be more offensive?”
Jeanne Lupien voted for the Sky Viper Video Drone, commenting, “This toy teaches children disrespect for the privacy of others and objectifying people for their subjective amusement, as well as desensitizing them to a spy culture.“
The Tube Heroes Collector Pack earned the vote of Richard Hawley, who said, “It makes children feel they have no worth unless confirmed by all their friends.”
But in the end, Hello Barbie was clearly the worst of the worst. She is the perfect storm of a terrible toy, threatening children’s privacy, wellbeing, and creativity.
Thanks to everyone who voted and shared. Together, we’re shining a light on the toy industry’s most troubling trends—because children’s play is too important to surrender to marketers.
Campaign Manager, CCFC