Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Barbies and Hot Wheels

Ever wonder who benefits from rigid binary gender roles? Well, here you go:

Mattel Inc. on Monday reported a 15-per-cent increase in its second-quarter profit on global sales of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels toy cars that offset U.S. declines.

The toymaker posted a net income of $43.1 million US, or 11 cents per share, compared with $37.4 million, or 10 cents per share, a year earlier. Net sales totaled $1.02 billion, up from $957.7 million a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial on average expected earnings of 11 cents per share on net sales of $1.03 billion.

The company said global gross sales for Barbie rose six per cent, as international strength offset U.S. declines. Hot Wheels rose 20 per cent. The most notable laggard was the American Girl brand, where sales fell 10 per cent.

Shares of Mattel gained 67 cents to close at $27.20 US on the NYSE after rising steadily last week.

© The Canadian Press, 2007

c/o CBC News: http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2007/07/16/mattel.html.

It's not that I specifically oppose Barbies and Hot Wheels; lawd knows I played with both when I was a kid. And I can say just as many good things about Barbie as I can make criticisms--well, maybe I can make a tad more criticisms. But I read this little business blurb, and in my mind's eye, I can see to whom and how each toy is being marketed, in such gender-specific ways that are never really challenged or crossed. I can also see the toy store that carries these products putting up their displays, placing the Hot Wheels in the sections for boys, and the Barbies in sections for girls. I can also see the formerly-fat-but-can-now-afford-a-daily-personal-trainer-and-regular-cosmetic-surgery-to-conform-to-beauty-ideals-set-out-by-our-society capitalist pig sitting back in his (and/or MAYBE her...after all, it's not like women never perpetuate their own oppressions)leather chair, lighting a cigar with a hundred dollar bill at the expense of gender fluidity, and the regulation of children's now-gendered behaviour through the toys which are bought for them. Damn, that was a long sentence.

A hex on you, pig.

If you own a Barbie or a Hot Wheels car, that's cool. Just make sure you share them amongst and across the gender of your siblings.

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