In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the CEO of Hasbro outlined that the company has changed its thinking regarding certain toys being geared toward particular genders.
Brian Goldner told the outlet that Hasbro has found that a significant percentage of boys are interested in My Little Pony, and that girls might like some of the Star Wars products the company will soon be releasing.
“You’ve pivoted Hasbro’s focus from mostly boys to girls as well, and the stock hit an all-time high in February. What does that say about the marketplace?” reporter Tatiana Siegel asked.
“We look at our brands more inclusively than ever. In fact, we eliminated the old delineation of gender,” Goldner 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,” he added.
Earlier this year, Fortune Magazine also noted Hasbro’s desire not to divide toys as being for just girls or only boys, outlining that “[e]xecutives say this is a sign of the times, as Millennial parents in particular don’t want their children to learn stereotypical gender habits.”
“We want to be inclusive in our approach across gender and ethnicity,” said President John Frascotti. “Instead of thinking, that’s a boy brand or a girl brand, we see them as dual-gender. … Our approach is we build brands for consumers.”
He likewise noted that My Little Pony, Star Wars and Transformers brands have had appeal for both boys and girls.
In January, an eight-year-old girl’s letter to Hasbro went viral after she wrote to the company to complain that it had left out the female character Rey from its new Star Wars Monopoly game. She thought that perhaps the company had only focused on the male characters.
“[W]ithout her, the bad guys would have won! Besides, boys and girls need to see women can be as strong as men,” Annie Rose wrote in handwritten note to the company. “Boy or girl, who cares? We are equal, all of us!”
Hasbro responded that it did not include Rey because it would have been a spoiler for the movie as the game was released before the film, and that it would release the action figure separately.
“We are thrilled with the popularity of this compelling character and will continue to look for ways to showcase Rey across all our product lines,” the company responded in part.
However, some have expressed concern about Hasbro’s elimination of gender delineation for its brands or product lines, lamenting that toy companies have now seemingly jumped on the “gender neutral” bandwagon.
“Hasbro’s Star Wars and Jurassic Park lines have performed well with boys. It recently purchased Disney Princesses, but apparently the company doesn’t plan to market them [only] to girls, since it doesn’t believe in gender delineation,” wrote Erin Pierri of TellMeNow. “What sense does this make? The left wants to turn us all into non-gender robots. It will never work as biology will win this war long term.”