If you gave a Barbie to a child in France, you might want to check the box. The French feminist group FièrEs secretly inserted pamphlets into hundreds of barbie toys and plastic guns reading “this toy is sexist. They stressed that “We have caused no damage or ripped any plastic. We simply slipped the message in boxes, or in books.” Of course, there is the injury to families who do not want to expose their children to the rantings of an extreme group that wants to use their children to make some point of social protest.
Delphine Asian, a legal representative for the feminist group, said “We targeted games that are emblematic of boy-girl stereotypes.” This lawyer appears to believe that inserting such messages for children to discover is not legally problematic if you do not actually damage the toy. The note asks parents sign a petition and send it to those “responsible.” The group however insisted that it is not trying to “make parents feel guilty.” No of course not. Just trying to use their children as instruments for protest. It said that it hoped to “raise awareness about the fact that toymakers and sellers play a part in the fact that not a single little girl asks Father Christmas for a sword.”
I have previously written columns on the campaign against toy guns (here and here). I fail to see the alarm over such play and, as noted in the prior columns, the obsession of some parents is often based on inaccurate accounts of academic research.
However, none of that debate matters. It is a particularly rotten and thoughtless act to insert such a note for children on a special day for families. These women have few limitations in creating angst-filled, feminist obsessed holiday. Yet, that is not sufficient. This group has to insert itself on Christmas mornings.
In the United States, it is a crime to tamper with products but this is not a lethal or physically harmful addition. Under the common law, there is trespass to chattel where stores could sue the group. The options in France are unclear. Perhaps one of our readers in France can enlighten us.
41 thoughts on “Have A Very Sexist Christmas: Feminist Group Inserts Protest Notes In Barbie and Other Toys For Children To Discover”
Jailed for speech? While I don’t agree with inserting propaganda in children’s toys, I think jailing people for such acts is not exactly in the spirit of the First Amendment, but hey it’s France. Well maybe they have an equivalent to the First Amendment.
Until people are jailed for this type of interference with a company’s product, it will never stop. Feminism has gone crazy!
OOPs deleted part of my sentence sorry.
Playing with “toy” guns is really nothing much to be alarmed about. Boys and girls have been doing it for thousand and thousands of years. !!!. Playing with REAL guns….. Not a good idea at all.
@ William M
Playing with “toy” guns is really nothing much to be alarmed about. Boys and girls have been doing it for thousand and thousands of years. !!!. Not a good idea at all. Responsible gun ownership does require the parents to speak to the children so that they understand the difference between pretend games: playing cowboys and indians, playing cops and robbers etc. and the real and permanent damage that irresponsible gun use can do.
This is why parents who do own weapons are obligated to teach their children about gun safety, gun usage and really importantly……about property rights. Keep your grimy hands off of MY stuff.!! Seriously, when old enough children should be taught how to shoot and learn respect for the power of the weapons. If guns are a big secret mystery….a hidden and forbidden fruit…..they will want to examine and even play with them.
I do think that parents should also be aware of HOW their children play with toy guns…..also how they play with their dolls as well. Watching children play and how they act can be a big view into their mental state and any abnormalities. Girls torturing their Barbies is just as bad as some violent play that some boys might have that is over the top.
Parents need to be alert and it has nothing to do with WHAT toys the children play with but rather HOW they play. None of which is the business of a bunch of feminists.
@ William M.
I have no idea if the French feminists are extremists or not. I tune out feminists. However, the intrusion of shoving their cause/ideas/ideology into gifts and toys that are intended for little children is offensive.
The children don’t give a doo squat about feminism or gender issues. They just want to play with the toys…or not play with the toys. It is not the position of the feminists or anyone else to promote discussion between the children and their parents about issues. Those discussions are in the purview of the parents to decide if appropriate or not appropriate. It is also in the purview of the parents to decide if a toy is wanted by the child or appropriate for the age.
Some things are not worth discussing with little children. As a parent, I have had many discussions and they were when “I” decided it was the appropriate time or when there was a pressing need.
I doubt there was any harm done to the children. Just annoyance at the intrusion and really a huge waste of time for the feminists.
Seems like they would have or should have better things to do to advance feminism than this stunt which really didn’t advance their cause. In fact, it accomplished the opposite and showed how petty and small their focus really is.
Dust Bunny Queen, thank you for responding to my comment, if that is what you were doing. My point is mainly to take issue with the idea that this group of French feminists is extremist,as Mr. Turley characterizes them. I would like to know where the extremism is, where the harm is. I think we all know that what FièrEs did is illegal, so there isn’t much left for JT to do but add his opinion. Personally I see this little guerilla act in a more positive light: more likely to promote discussion and thought than to harm a child. I think the comments here demonstrate that children are a pretty resilient bunch. The great potential harm, of course, is to the makers of Barbie, and that is very regretful indeed.
In summary: Parent’s have the right to determine how to raise their children. They have the right to instill their own values into their children. Once the children become adults or young adults, well….that is another issue. The, the children, are free to make up their own minds.
Other adults have no right to push their political agenda’s on small children and/or ruin their holiday dreams. Other adults need to raise their OWN children and butt out of other people’s business.
In summary: playing with guns: nothing to be alarmed about. Exposure to FièrEs’ anti-sexist pamphlets: alarming!
Aridog – great post. Our military are brave and courageous, and they deserved better than what the VA gave them. I have great respect for those who serve, especially those who’ve earned a combat ribbon.
Reblogged this on Will S.' Culture War Blog and commented:
I always wondered where Teletubbies came from. Now I know it is from your sister mating Barbies with GI Joes.
Don de Drain – according to my sister, she was not the only one. 😉
Reblogged this on Philosophies of a Disenchanted Scholar and commented:
WILL THEY JUST GIVE IT A REST ALREADY?!
Reblogged this on saboteur365.
Karen S said …
He has to wait until after school. He told me that was silly. He couldn’t hurt anyone with his finger.
Your kid was and is prescient. He is dead a$$ right it is “silly.” It is kind of sad that we adults cannot just affirm such kid’s opinions, without falling prey to the PC advocates. Beyond that, when boys, or girls now, play at mock war, they are preparing for the potential of real war and their part in it, whether voluntary or by conscription. I will be the very first to acknowledge, and assert that I am in awe of them, that our Soldiers, Marines, and Navy operators today are the best we’ve ever produced. Period.
Don’t think so, try the “quals:” course just to wear their badges. Good luck. I once slogged along with a 70 lb (or so) pack…today’s kids do it with 100+ lbs and think nothing of it. These “children” of ours who have grown in to the men and women of our armed services deserve our utmost respect. Especially the medics and corpsmen (& women) who stand out and serve under fire without regard to their own safety. Try that on for size, eh? They are definitely better all around that I ever was…with exceptions, on equal footing, for those in my era who were grunts and earned CIB’s in my time, who also were the best of the best. The CIB for Army infantry is the ultimate award, bar none…and only infantry can earn it. Marines have their own ribbon/medal that says the same thing. We must recognize the simple facts. If not, we miss the point. You meet a soldier with a CIB or a Marine, or Navy guy, with he applicable combat ribbon, just shut up and bow courteously. You really are momentarily in the presence of better men and women… just accept it.
When we see kids signing up for the services, of any type, we need to just acknowledge that “there goes the best of us.” I admit I am a pedant on the subject. I apologized not one whit.
Aridog – Yvonne sounds like a very cool girl! And it’s true. We don’t seem to be teaching our kids character.
I liked dolls, the Holly Hobby oven (so cool!), hiking, camping, and fishing. I spent every summer barefoot and playing in the woods behind my house. So glad my parents let me play with whatever toys I wanted, without worry that I was succumbing to stereotypes, or trying to force me into them.
And the zero tolerance rules about toy guns are ridiculous. My son is 4, and I’ve already started telling him he can’t play pretend super hero gun fights with his finger with the other boys at school. Or bring his empty neon water pistol for Sharing. He has to wait until after school. He told me that was silly. He couldn’t hurt anyone with his finger. I explained that someone brought a real gun to school, and kids got hurt. If the teachers see something that reminds them of a gun, they feel sad and upset, so it’s against the rules. I have no idea if that’s going to help. I never taught him to point his finger like a gun. All of a sudden, one day, he was running around the house pretend shooting invisible T-Rexes. I hate that they have criminalized play fighting behavior that is instinctive in many kids, and the way most boys make friends at young ages.
I value those old days when we judged each other on what we did, not on what some idiot told us to admire or respect. How did we get to here from there?
Karen S…the “Yvonne” I mentioned could slap together a a bridge structure with an “Erector Set” faster than any of us boys…that girl was awesome in our eyes….and definitely part of our “gang” such as it was in those days. Still feminine, she always wore a dress, and we didn’t care one whit. 🙂
Cool story, Nick…kids will find a way, however obtuse, to get what they want to play with at some point in time. In my day (late 40’s very early 50’s) it was double sized sling shots to better fling the little green apples that grew nearby. That eliminated the “you missed” assertions in our play wars…the yelp told the tale. Only one girl joined us, a “tomboy” named Yvonne, and she was the best shot of all of us. Dang it. We always wanted her to be in the center of our ad hoc phalanx when fighting the “evil doers” from the next block over. Yvonne would nail the lead guy and that broke up the mob facing us…made for easy shots at backsides for the rest of us. Had we reached puberty by then I might have fallen in love with Yvonne. I dang sure respected her.
I completely agree with Professor Turley on this one. This activist group should not directly contact children in this manner, or turn a toy into a political stunt on Christmas.
Boys and girls have statistically different tendencies. When one of the girls at preschool tries to get my little boy to play with a doll, he plays “doll ninja soldiers” or he rescues the doll from the jaws of his TRex. I didn’t teach him that. It’s just how he is.
I believe parents should support the inherent, healthy play behavior of their kids. If their daughter wants an erector set, get it for her. But don’t give it to a girl who keeps pleading for Barbies, just to force her to be “the same” as boys. Or force boys to play with dolls if they don’t want to.
I also support how the movie Brave portrayed its main female character Merida in a realistic, athletic form. They, and fans, resisted efforts by toymakers to portray the character as a super curvy figure only a plastic surgeon could create in real life.
That said, there is nothing wrong with selling the idealized Barbie line. She has infinite career and wardrobe choices, and now represents all ethnicities. I well remember my own fascination with Barbie as a child.
Karen – my sister would take my GI Joes and mate them with her Barbies.
Comments are closed.