Dr. Rebecca Hains

Category: toys


Katniss vs Merida: Mattel’s doll versions of strong girl characters

Last month, Mattel released a Katniss Everdeen doll, inspired by the look and style of Jennifer Lawrence in the Hunger Games film. Compared with Mattel’s typical fare, the Katniss doll was refreshingly unsexualized–reflecting the character’s positive portrayal in the film (which…

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Talking about toys: Taking child’s play seriously

On occasion, people ask me why I bother taking children’s toys so seriously. “They’re just toys, after all!” Yes, toys are just toys–but they’re so much more than that, too. Toys are a central part of children’s play, and to…

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Ponies, petitions, and girl power: This week’s roundup

Last week, I kept busy working on the My Little Pony petition, asking Hasbro to stop promoting superficial stereotypes of girls. Change.org invited me to contribute a guest post to their web site about the petition. It’s called “I Won’t…

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New at the Disney Store: Princess Dolls with Extra Sparkles! (and extra problems)

On a recent visit to my local Disney Store, I learned that Disney had just released a new line-up of Disney Princess dolls at the holidays. The new line-up was on the shelves–and so were some of their older counterparts.*…

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“Chess for Girls,” or how Saturday Night Live predicted the future.

Saturday Night Live’s fake commercial, “Chess for Girls” [transcript], was hilarious in 1997–but today, it strikes awfully close to home. An ultra-pink chess set that’s “not too hard, just pretty and fun”–with prancing ponies and a long-haired queen in a…

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Pretty Princess Problems: The Case of Princess Celestia

My family and I were shopping for a child’s birthday present this weekend when we came upon the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic section at a local Target store. As I’ve discussed previously, MLP:FIM is an unusually good children’s…

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Practicing slightly subversive parenting: Toddlers and gender

Gender representations in popular kids’ storybooks make me sigh. Books based on TV programs and movies seem among the worst offenders; yet they’re inescapably popular. To manage them, I do two things: First, I keep movie- and tv-based books to…

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