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Barbies now come in all shapes, sizes and colours – but the history of the doll shows it’s business as usual for Mattel. Mattel

Drastic plastic: a look at Barbie’s new bodies

Barbie has a forgotten history of changing in response to market pressures. Are her multiple new bodies ushering in an era of ethical body inclusiveness, or is Mattel just shifting deckchairs on the Titanic?
Makies was the first company to respond to the #ToyLikeMe social media campaign. Image courtesy of MyMakie

Disability and dolls: #ToyLikeMe is a mark of progress

Makies, the #toyslikeme campaign and the broader focus on disability in digital spaces show we are in the midst of a significant shift towards an inclusive world view of disability.
Just because Barbie has impossible proportions, does that mean playing with her will distort young girls’ body image? Flickr/Freddycat1

Is Barbie bad for body image?

Launched in 1959, named after the inventor’s daughter Barbara, and owned by 99% of 3-10 year old girls in the USA, Barbie has been a popular request on young girls’ Christmas wish lists for 55 years. So…
Where toys promote aggressiveness in boys and submissiveness in girls, they are definitely part of the problem. EPA/Jason Szenes

‘Toy war’ debates misunderstand the causes of domestic violence

Australia suffers “endemic” levels of men’s violence against women, so if the child is the father of the man, then it’s time we talked about boys’ toys. And what better time to start the conversation than…
Kids don’t always play with toys according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Charles Roark/Flick

Leave Barbie alone – so we can talk about how kids actually play

On Tuesday Greens Spokesperson for women, Larissa Waters, lent her support to No Gender December – a campaign spearheaded by the group Play Unlimited that aims to highlight the gendered marketing of toys…
The No Gender December campaign suggests that the gender stereotyping of toys restricts children’s creativity and development. Tracheotomy Bob

Barbie for boys? The gendered tyranny of the toy store

“I didn’t encourage my daughter to play with Barbie dolls and dress up in flouncy fairy costumes, but she just gravitated toward them.” When confronted with the idea that gendered marketing and stereotypes…
The Lego brick has now become a basic module of virtual “brickworlds”. Andreas

Sublime design: Lego

“Danish design” usually conjures up images of mid-century modern furniture – functional yet sculptural – but Denmark’s most successful “design icon” is a humble plastic brick: Lego. In 2013, the Lego Group…
The LEGO Architecture range has been good for the company’s fortunes. lilivanili

Block party: how architecture helped rebuild LEGO

Virtually any kid who picks up a bucket of LEGO bricks will start by making a house, usually in mismatched, rainbow colours, maybe featuring a few of the little plastic minifig people. It seems almost…
Time to give pink toys the pink slip. Dollyclaire

There’s no good reason to push pink toys on girls

You only have to walk down the aisle of a toy shop to see that young girls really love pink. This has some parents worried. They are concerned that pink is bad for their daughters. One engineer in the…

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