Stylin’ Pose (with addition!)

Polly Pocket DJ

I happened upon this while at Walgreens, and originally thought that it was a female Polly Pocket DJ figure, and thought “oh, this is interesting.”

But upon uploading the picture, I found out that it was actually a male figure. And that the box encouraged you to “Style his hair!” and even comes with a little brush.

Just thought it was interesting that, while there are now “girl” dolls for DJs, the DJ isn’t actually a girl, and it’s made so that you can play with it just as you play with your other dolls. As if DJ is really just a fashion statement.

So I guess this gets girls ready for the dance-party culture waiting for them in 10 years?

EDIT: So, I do have some biases against polly pocket, mostly due to my experience with their website and the games that they offer for girls. Because, you always seem to hear about video games made that objectify women or “perpetuate gender roles”, probably because of their male designers (consciously or not), but I found that female-directed games do the same thing… (more perpetuating female roles than objectifying)

For instance:

Kooky Kitchen: a game in which you essentially have to clean up the kitchen, (move things that are not supposed to be there. Not clean up stains–probably because that would be gross.)

Flower Surprises: gardening

And there was this other game/story I saw (can’t seem to find it anymore. Unfortunately, the 5 year old who showed me this site is no longer around to help me navigate through) where these girls decide not to go shopping with a friend and instead decide to go to the park. And while they’re at the park, they start fantasizing about shopping (seeing pairs of shoes in the clouds, and a dog as a sweater, or something). Finally they give in and go to the mall to meet their friend.

So while I don’t think that these things are bad in and of themselves, the fact that most of the games on this site center on ONLY on these traditionally female themes is interesting.

It’s also interesting to note that this push for females being the consumers also has been happening in the US, as we read in that article last week where there was a trend towards women being consumers of electronic appliances (Yoshimi Shunya).


6 Responses to Stylin’ Pose (with addition!)

  1. tomomi says:

    Thanks a lot, Charlotte, for your post! The doll comes with a brush!! This notion (?) that DJ being a “boy/man” whose styles (and poses) can be modified by girls playing with it is interesting! I am curious how others in class interpret this.

  2. mihog says:

    Wow how cute! I don’t think DJ’s, headphones, spin tables, or even the notion of clubbing was ever infused into toys when I was growing up. I believe most dolls we had, such as polly pocket and barbies, still had the regular wife/mom role given to the dolls. I remember having a barbie house with a kitchen, hair salon, and laundry room beyond the regular bedrooms. I don’t think there was ever a cool basement with speakers and a DJ table within the barbie house. The only field Barbie went beyond the typical wife/mom role was that she got a convertible to drive around in. Oh and I remember we had those Barbie Ovens, figures that girls should be cooking at age 5! I’m glad things are changing for the next generation. I wonder if new toy selections will open the children’s future ideas of women’s roles in society.

  3. mihog says:

    Tracy L. Dietz

    Thinking about the above, and the various impacts toys may have on children’s view of sex roles I looked up some journals online. I found an interesting paper about the alarming statistics of the use of women and violence in video games. The paper is from the Journal “Sex Roles” and the article title is ” An Examination of Violence and Gender Role Portrayals in Video Games: Implications for Gender Socialization and Aggressive Behavior ” by Tracy L Deitz. Here is the Abstract – Using content analysis, this research examinesthe portrayal of women and the use of violent themes ina sample of 33 popular Nintendo and Sega Genesis videogames. It is proposed that video games, like other media forms, impact the identity ofchildren. This analysis reveals that traditional genderroles and violence are central to many games in thesample. There were no female characters in 41% of the games with characters. In 28% of these, womenwere portrayed as sex objects. Nearly 80% of the gamesincluded aggression or violence as part of the strategyor object. While 27% of the games containedsociallyacceptable aggression, nearlyhalf included violencedirected specifically at others and 21% depictedviolence directed at women. Most of the characters inthe games were Anglo. –

    I could understand the lack of female characters in general in video games but what disgusts me is that 28% of the video games that lacked female characters portrayed women as sex objects. It’s as if these video games are stepping stones for youths to adjust to the sexist society we live in today.

  4. charlotte says:

    In response to your first comment, Miho, while I do admit that “things are changing,” I kind of think that they still haven’t really changed that much (at least in this example). I still think that this toy somewhat furthers the role of “girls like making things pretty,” as exemplified by the comment that you can “Style his hair!” and the brush. In addition to this, the doll is given the name “Rick” to preclude any chance of this figure being a female (despite his somewhat androgynous appearance).

    And while this idea of clubbing and DJs is new, and not really part of the “housewife/mother” role, I think that it still reinforces a “new” type of gender role–of the clubbing-girl (sex “object”? Not really sure about this as I haven’t ever been clubbing before. I’m not saying that clubbing can’t just be a fun experience and time to dance, but I do think that there are a number of girls who go just to be noticed in certain ways(the application of make up, the wearing of “stylin'” clothing are done to help “clubbing-girl” get noticed?) and that this image might be perpetuated with this toy?).

    Though you could also argue that because Rick looks pretty “androgynous” then the girls who can’t read (or don’t care about box labels :D) might then roleplay as the DJ, and therefore the existence of such a doll might be seen as allowing a change.

  5. mihog says:

    Hm…perhaps rather than changing society, toys just reflect what’s out there. Logically that would make sense because toy companies market products that they know children will buy. I guess if women Dj’s take the headlines, then the toy would have a female version too. But for now, most girls want boy Dj’s as their toy?!

    I like your vision of youngsters intepreting hings at their own will =) ! Too bad sometimes I forget to do that…and become glued to gossip magazines and believe them too often.

  6. andrew m says:

    we were discussing an ethnography of the use of “Latino” as a trope in advertising in class today (title is “Latino, INC.”). I didn’t read it (since the book was presented by another group of students), but they raised some interesting questions about advertising and how it reinforces stereotypes.

    One girl presenting took extreme exception to the ethnographer’s decision to research advertising agencies, and to include other media texts but not research their production methods, etc. But I think the point of the ethnography’s methodology was to highlight how news, movies, newspapers and TV work to contextualize or set a background for the Advertisements’ production. In the same way, I don’t think the people making these toys are evil for doing so, or have malicious intent, but capitalize on perceived consumer demands and play into those stereotypes. So, although the toy industry may not be actively working to develop a market for color-it-yourself DJ’s, nevertheless the production does work to further encode these stereotypes into society.

    As for making up meanings as kids, this is a really great point! I would love that toy as a kid, if just to subvert it into some fantasy land where changable-hair DJs made perfect sense somehow. So, I pose the question: when is the cultural encoding accomplished? Is it part of growing up with stereotypes or is it retroactively applied from an adult perspective on childhood? And where is the demand in the market coming from? Adults who think in stereotypical terms about their children/grandchildren, or children who need to have the toys they think epitomize their self-identity?

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