Is a recent announcement from Hasbro a response to consumer demand – or is it another move towards political correctness?
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner said his company looks at its brands more inclusively than ever. Hasbro eliminated the old delineation of gender, he said.
"And if you think about a brand – be it 'My Little Pony,' where 30 percent of our global TV audience is boys; or 'Star Wars,' where we are launching all-female animated series 'Forces of Destiny' with Lucas and Disney – you're seeing people who want to be engaged in these stories. And we don't care who they are ... we just care that they love that brand."
Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, says this is something stores should be free to do in a free market.
"So I wouldn't try to stop them from adopting this policy if they choose to, and I would add that I'm not arguing that there is anything inherently wrong with boys playing with dolls or girls playing with trucks," he continues. "But frankly I'm a little skeptical that this is actually a response to consumer demand, and I'm afraid it may just be a response more to the demands of political correctness."
According to the consumer information organization 2nd Vote, Hasbro has scored 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index while also being a contributor to The Salvation Army.
Hasbro isn't the first company to drop gender references with toys and products. Lego and Mattel are also in that camp.
"I think we may see more doing it, unless they pay a real price to their bottom line, and I don't think this is the kind of thing that is necessarily going to lead to massive boycotts of these companies and so forth," says Sprigg. "But I think it just results in a greater inconvenience frankly and a waste of time for the 95 percent of kids and parents who are gender-typical in their toy preferences."