The team at building set company Click-A-Brick are pleased to hear the Toy Industry Association (TIA) will review the categories for its Toy of the Year Awards as part of its strategic plan for the next four years, including the possibility of doing away with the gender-based categories.
Click-A-Brick Co-Founders Jason Smith and Georg de Gorostiza are among a group of people calling for the TIA to eschew the Boy Toy of the Year and Girl Toy of the Year categories. Others along with Smith and de Gorostiza who are calling on the TIA to eradicate the gender categories for its Toy of the Year awards are Washington Post contributor Rebecca Hains, who is an associate professor of advertising and media studies at Salem State University and an assistant director of the Center for Childhood and Youth Studies, plus entrepreneur and founder of DadDoes.com, Dan Nessel.
Nessel has been lobbying the TIA for years to change its categories and drop the gender labels from them and now it looks like that may be happening.
As reported by the Australian toy industry website Toy and Hobby Retailer, TIA president Steve Pasierb revealed the organization would be open to dropping the gender designations from its awards.
“We try to rethink everything we do at the TIA,” Pasierb said. “We know that with our Toy of the Year Awards, there are categories we need to add and there are categories we need to change.
“The question keeps coming up: if you have a boys’ toy of the year and a girls’ toy of the year, why don’t you have a boys’ outdoor toy of the year or a girls’ outdoor toy of the year?’ Is dividing by boys and girls the best way to do it? Some shows do it by age group. We’ve encouraged our TOTY committee to go back and look at this.”
This is welcome news to the co-founders of Click-A-Brick, which recently released its newest building set Sandy Sidekicks. The pair of entrepreneurs have long advocated for gender labels to be taken off toys so children can choose themselves what they feel comfortable playing with.
“The TIA is a hugely influential group in the toy industry, so it’s great to see that the organization is at least considering moving away from gender labels for its toy awards,” Smith said. “It’s a move that signals to us that the TIA is willing to listen to its constituents and is able to keep up with what is really happening in the toy industry. It’s one thing for the TIA to say it represents the toy industry, but if toymakers and toy retailers are clearly taking steps to stop gender labeling, the TIA is going to look out of step with the very industry it claims to represent if it keeps the gender labels on its awards.”
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