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Let's Talk About: 'The Great Toy Divide'


Star Wars is perhaps one of the most popular film franchises, and certainly one of the most lucrative. They have so much merchandise available yet the majority of it is aimed at boys, excluding girls from the franchise. Out of 185 Star Wars toys on the Toys R Us website, only two were of female characters, and one of them was the highly sexualised Princess Leia as the slave in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. What sort of example is this setting to the youth of today? That a female's only purpose is to be a sexual commodity, because throughout the vast majority of the films, Princess Leia is fully clothed and is pretty incredible. She breaks free of the stereotypical female character who is weak and unable to look after herself, relying upon other male characters to save them. So why is the only toy available of her, the one of her dressed in very little clothing, when she was only dressed like this in one scene?


To makes things worse, and further exclude girls, there was not one image of a girl playing with the toys, it was exclusively boys. Now I do realise that the same can be said for girl's toys such as Barbie and dolls of that style, but at least there are many male characters available. But despite this, I still feel that this is a problem across the board of children's toys. Girls are designated certain toys and boys are given their own set of ‘masculine’ toys. I myself remember hating playing with dolls, instead requesting Action Man to play with. My parents happily obliged and would buy me the toy of my choice, but I always remember finding it odd how there were never any pictures of a girl playing with Action Man, only ever little boys.

 

I suppose what I am trying to get at is the level of gender separation in toys, specifically within the Star Wars franchise, is shocking and even damaging, because Star Wars, I believe sends out quite a positive message to girls that they can save themselves and that they don't need to rely upon a man to rescue them from their own incompetence!

 
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