As the 2010 Toy Fair draws to a close, we are left with a deluge of new products that our lil ones will be clamoring for in the coming months. With the nation still recovering from a deep recession, were manufacturers keeping our wallets in mind as they developed the latest batch of toys? Take our quiz and see just how much some of the most buzzed about products will set you back this year.
Mattel has launched some new black Barbie dolls, and they're getting praised and dissed in equal measure. Grace, Kara, and Trichelle, created by Stacy McBride-Irby to give her daughter and other African-American girls dolls that resemble them, have been criticized by some for not being "black enough."
"I love the black Barbie. It's about time," said Jua Simpson, a reporter for CNN's iReport. "But the hair is still a step backwards, since most of our hair is not straight and light brown." (Check out BellaSugar's review of Chris Rock's documentary Good Hair, which addresses this loaded subject for black women.)
These new black Barbies could be said to be a step in the right direction for a couple reasons. First off, it's important that there's not a monolithic (i.e. white) sense of what's beautiful, and studies have shown that little girls of color do absorb the idea that white equals beautiful.
Also, it sounds like more thought was put into creating Grace, Kara, and Trichelle than the Oreo Barbie (hand smacks forehead!) that Mattel came out with in 1997. I guess with all the focus groups and marketing Mattel must surely do, no one bothered to tell them that "Oreo" is a term used by some in the black community to denote someone who is black but "acts" white. (I'm guessing the Oreo Barbie tanked?)
My question is, should we be pushing dolls (of whatever color) on girls at all? Don't dolls just get them to focus on how they look, as opposed to toys that would invite them to invent, think and do things, like boys' toys? (I mean, boys have
dolls action figures, but yeah, notice the emphasis is on action, on doing things rather than on just being pretty.)
What do you think about the new black Barbies and about dolls as girls' primary toys in general? Do you think it's outdated to push dolls on girls, or do you think girls gravitate to dolls naturally?
The Transformers movie clearly turned out to be massively successful for the Hasbro toy company, and talk of a sequel swiftly followed the first movie's release. Then a G.I. Joe movie went into development, followed by a deal with Universal to make at least four movies based on Hasbro products, including Ouija, Candyland and Battleship, among others.
Not to be outdone, rival toy company Mattel got to work on a live-action "300-style" He-Man movie (with rumors of Brad Pitt taking the main role) and now there are a few more toy-inspired projects on the way. Apparently the company hopes to make an action film based on Hot Wheels, and at long last, Barbie will get her very own live-action feature film (though, as we all know, it's not exactly easy to find real women with the Barbie doll's measurements, or those who walk only on their tiptoes).
Obviously these projects are done with the intention of selling more toys, but do you think there's anything cool or interesting about them? And what kind of character will Barbie be?
Good or bad, recalls are all the rage these days.
So get ready to check your goods -- Here's what's being recalled now:
- About 18,900 pounds of Chinese fresh ginger contaminated with a toxic pesticide have been recalled by the Christopher Ranch food company of Gilroy, Calif. The ginger was shipped to more than a dozen wholesale and retail clients in California, Louisiana, Michigan, Oregon and Washington state between July 10 and July 26.
California officials said the ginger may contain potentially harmful levels of the pesticide aldicarb sulfoxide, the San Jose Mercury News reported. As of Monday, there had been no reported cases of illness linked to the imported ginger.
- Toy maker Mattel has recalled nearly one million toys in the United States because they are covered in lead paint. The recall covers 83 different kinds of toys -- many of which feature Sesame Street and Nickelodeon characters -- that were made in China.
By halting product shipments from its distribution centers and by contacting retailers last week, Mattel said it prevented more than two-thirds of the 967,000 affected toys from reaching consumers, The New York Times reported. However, more than 300,000 of the lead-tainted toys have already been purchased by US consumers. The affected toys, made between April 19 and July 6, may have a date code from 109-7LF to 187-7LF on the product or packaging, said the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
- Lakeside Foods, Inc., is recalling 15,000 cases of its 14.5-ounce French style green beans because some of the cans may have been under-processed and some may have leaked. This could have lead to the beans being contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning. No illnesses have been reported, and no botulinum toxin has been found in any cans tested to date.
The cans with the following code in the top line should be returned to place of purchase: EAA5247, EAA5257, EAA267, EAA5277, EAB5247, EAB5257, ECA5207, ECA5217, ECA5227, ECA5297, ECB5207, ECAB5217, ECB5227 and ECB5307. Details: by phone at 800-466-3834 ext. 4090; by Web at Lakesidefoods.com.
There's been a lot of other recalls recently, review them all here
In early 2007, Mattel teamed up with MAC Cosmetics for the limited-edition Barbie Loves MAC line, which was MAC's most successful collection ever. The nostalgic line of bright and playful shades (at right) was inspired by Barbie but designed for grown women.
Now, Mattel turning its makeup brushes toward a younger generation. According to MediaPost, Mattel is working with Bonne Bell to develop a makeup line for girls. (Thanks to Jezebel for the tip.)
Though Mattel hasn't released any details, the collection will reportedly target buyers ages 6 to 9. The Bonne Bell products are expected to launch next year. Say Mattell, via MediaPost:
"The Barbie and Bonne Bell partnership will bring girls a fun, feminine and unique beauty experience, leveraging the unparalleled popularity of two globally loved brands," the company says in its announcement.
When I was a kid, I loved Bonne Bell Lip Smackers, and I know that little girls love playing around with makeup. But creating actual makeup designed especially for the pre-tween set just seems wrong to me. What do you think?