Why Pink? In a survey, the correlation of pink with femininity by both male and female respondents was over 76% (Koller 404). What about the color Purple? Purple is a color associated with feminism because of such works as The Color Purple (1982) and the Woman’s Suffrage movement. Because of these color associations with the female gender, toy manufactures have created and boxed their products in all shades of pink and purple. One can see this marketing trend at their local Toys R Us store.
By contrasting several toys for various age groups, we will see that pink and purple predominate in the marketing of our young female children. When discussing the toys chosen for comparison, the following age groups are used: Early Elementary (5- to 7-year-olds), Tween (8- to 11-year-olds), and Early Teen (12- to 14-year-olds). For comparison purposes, I randomly picked four toys per age group from my local Toys R Us.
The toys chosen for the Early Elementary group are the Friends Olivia’s House by LEGO, the Totally Me! Make Your Own Greeting Cards by Toys R Us, the Strawberry Shortcake Berry Best Collection Doll Set by Hasbro, and the Dream Dazzlers Dress Up Trunk by Toys R Us. The Friends House, with its hues of pink and purple, targets females with its five cartoon girls having fun together on the box. The Make Your Own’s box has a picture of a real girl showing off her greeting cards amid a background of pink and purple. The Strawberry Shortcake box is the odd ball of the group with its bright yellow box, but the background behind the clear view of the five female dolls is still a bright pink. The Dream Dazzlers box has a picture of six young girls all dressed up in the box’s contents and is the typical pink and purple we have come to expect.
The toys chosen for the Tween group are the Tapeffiti 30-Piece Caddy by Fashion
Angels, the Blingles Bling Studio by Moose Toys, the Project Runway Fashion Design Sketch Portfolio by Fashion Angels, and the Happy Handle Stamp Set by Melissa & Doug. With its use of various shades of pink and purple, the Tapeffiti is a prime choice for girls. The Bling Studio itself is a purple and pink toy contained within a purple, pink, and black box showing the sparkly beads Tweens love. The Sketch Portfolio targets girls with its picture of four young, fashionable females sketched on the cover of black trimmed with blue and a pink stencil. The Stamp Set, while not specifically targeting girls, does have designs that would cause it to lean towards femininity—a smiley face, a flower, a paw print, a heart, a butterfly, and lips.
The toys chosen for the Early Teen group are the 24-inch Love Bike by Toys R Us, the Monster High: Ghoul Spirit for Nintendo DS by THQ, the RipStik Caster Board by Razor, and the Justin Bieber ‘Justin’s World’ Comforter & Sham Set by Sandra Home Fashion. The Love Bike contains contrasting colors of black and white with pops of neon purple and pink that makes it gender-specific. The Monster High game has an image of three girls on the cover that contains a large pink coffin that screams girls, girls, girls buy me! The RipStik Caster Board comes in five different colors (red, pink, blue, sliver, and black) that make this gender-neutral. The Comforter & Sham Set is various shades of pink and purple trimmed in white and a large life-like picture of Justin Bieber on it specifically meant for the thousands of girls that long to be his girlfriend.
Most of our toys were gender-specific towards girls and used predominately pink and purple for the toy and/or the toy’s packaging. Two of our toys are gender-neutral—the RipStik Castor Board and the Happy Handle Stamp as they use those bold and darker colors typically associated with boy toys (Auster and Mansbach 377). Two of our toys predominately used colors other than pink or purple to market their products—the Strawberry Shortcake (yellow) and
the Sketch Portfolio (black and light blue). One can see that a trip down any isle of girl toys at our local Toys R Us will bombard us in an easily recognized wall of pink and purple that is a shrine for girls and a repellant for boys (Seiter 236).