Sexism is everywhere


Several ads roll before our eyes as my siblings and I sit in Movies 12 to get our latest fix of superhero action. When you go to a movie like Thor: The Dark World on opening weekend you usually have to get there fairly early, and when you get to a movie early you usually have to watch commercials before the trailers even begin. We had gone in expecting to be offended and annoyed as usual, but a certain NERF commercial seems to stand above the rest.

Teenage girls dressed in pink shirts and blue jeans run across the screen, saying things like “I am strong and confident” and “I fight like a girl.” Pink and white NERF guns come into view, and my sister and I quickly turn to each other in disbelief as we both realize what we’re being sold: NERF guns– for girls. As the commercial fades to black, my sister shakes her head and laughingly states, “separate but equal.”

Hasbro’s new NERF Rebelle guns are but one marketing faux pas in what seems to be a trend these days: gender-bending your product to widen your demographic. Last year LEGO introduced their “Friends” line of toys, pink and purple dumbed-down sets paired with doll-like figurines, replacing the traditional LEGO people.

My sister’s witty remark holds truth, though. In an attempt to be “accepting” to both genders, these companies have actually boldened the line between “boy things” and “girl things.” Unlike McDonalds, which selects its boy/girl toys based off of what is currently popular amongst both demographics, these other companies simply try to make a synthetic replica of their product, but with a girly spin.

The logic itself isn’t even sound. It’s as if these business executives thought there were girls shopping at WalMart picking up NERF guns and saying, “well, I really love shooting guns and fighting with foam darts, but I just can’t buy something that’s not pink.” Really?

When I want to play Halo 4 with my sister, she doesn’t need to be enticed with pink armour or the option of a female character, she simply plays it because she enjoys it. I honestly don’t see any need to alter something to fit both genders.

If a girl likes shooting guns and building LEGOs, it’s because guns and LEGOs are fun, not because a French sounding E was added to the name or because the LEGOs look like Barbies. At the end of the day, we’re all humans. So let’s let people like what they like, and treat people like what they are: humans.