Disney, You Lost Money On My-Four-Year Old Daughter

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Disney has decided to withhold Rey toys, because, you know, no boy would want to play with a girl doll, and girls don’t want to play Star Wars. The magic marketers know it all.

Left unchecked, you will crush my daughter, who plays house with boys and superheroes with girls, loves her ballet, and has a huge stack of unused princess toys because many of her relatives and friends won’t shop for her outside of the girl section.

Don’t worry, I will not let you pull the joy from my four-year-old’s play, no matter how she doesn’t fit the segmentation you believe she is in. I will help her find the toys she likes best.

You will, however, lose any revenue you might get by properly conducting your market research and your segmentation, and actually create toys my daughter would like, then market them to her. That choice and loss is yours.

On Christmas morning, I watched my daughter open the gift that made her the most excited, a Queen Elsa outfit her grandparents thought she would love. For whatever reason, of all the Disney princesses, she loves Queen Elsa the best–Elsa can freeze people. She loved the outfit and wore it excitedly for about an hour.

Then my four-year-old daughter put her Elsa dress up clothes away, and hasn’t looked at it since.

Her second Santa gift, the one she asked for, comes out regularly. She loves being a dinosaur who can eat people. It comes out again and again around the house, leaving her magic wands, her crowns (she has three of each), and her princess toys in the sidelines.

Yet, without a single Star Wars toy, she happily runs in with makeshift lightsaber in hand, to play Jedi. She has her father and me shoot our fingers at her, as she cuts down the bad guys with a swing of her magic wand-turned-lightsaber.

She turned to her dollar store wand turned into lightsaber instead of a toy made by Disney.

You might just get me to spend more money on your toys for her, if you included her in the toys she would like…

You see, Disney, your princesses bore her. And so I don’t buy them for her.

Other people do.

You even take steps to keep my daughter out of the sections she would most enjoy. While you finally have a Rey Lego Set, I remember three months ago when I walked into a Target aisle with Lego Star Wars, and my little four-year-old almost cried, as she told me she was not ALLOWED to be in the “boy” section. You did that to my daughter, as she knows she can play with the same toys at home to her hearts delight.

Then, when she runs up to the same toys with happiness in Fred Meyer, I see what they did. Disney, they went against you and all the marketers mistaking gender for a character trait and put gender diversity in their toy section. They even had a freaking Peeta Barbie doll for crying out loud.

And yet, you still divide your worlds into “girl” worlds and “boy” worlds. In doing so, you get girls who half-heartedly embrace your “girl” princesses and uses a pink flower wand to fight finger guns, because she thinks you banned her from your boy section. In reality, if your marketers have their way, they would ban her from the “boy” toys.

Disney, your marketers ensure she does not want to spend money on you.

Disney, stop dividing your segmentation into easy and false divisions and instead look at the true traits of your fans. Like, say, what they actually find interesting.

Yes, I know that when you have force fed toys to children along gender lines for over a decade, it is easier to sell to boys and girls as if they had nothing in common. Getting rid of that fiction would double your possible market share.

My daughter can and will find toys to play in your boy worlds as much as she wants. The question is, will you make money from it?

For those of you who say I should just let my little girl like what she likes, and stop making an issue where there is none, just as soon as the toy makers and toy stores start selling her toys she wants to play with instead of making her want to cry from exclusion, I will, but not until then.

Picture Copyright Claire Jennings

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9 thoughts on “Disney, You Lost Money On My-Four-Year Old Daughter

  1. So much word, but in reverse. When “Frozen” first came out my son loved it, but there was no Frozen clothing for boys and little merchandise. His favorite character? Elsa. He is a little boy who would happily wear a shirt with Elsa on it, but there aren’t any. They now have clothing with Olaf and Sven for boys, but he’d prefer something with Elsa on it. I was similarly disappointed when I went shopping for my daughter, who is not quite 2 and while she hasn’t seen Star Wars yet because of her age, she burst into applause when she saw the preview, and could not find any Star Wars clothing for her. The demand is there, the stuff is not!

    1. I feel for you. For whatever reason, it seems easier to allow girls to break the mold than boys.

    2. Go ahead and get your son stuff from the girl’s section. My son’s favorite hat is a pink Rainbow Dash. After much conversation he even understands that Rainbow Dash is a girl and that doesn’t affect how cool she is. My oldest daughter hasn’t worn “girl” pajamas in 4 years, and my middle only does because she prefers the cut of night dresses, even if they don’t have her favorite characters on them.

      Our children don’t have the time to wait for the rest of the world t get their act together! Not that we shouldn’t keep fighting, because there is obviously a lot of work to be done.

  2. I love that your daughter knows exactly what she wants, and is willing to handcraft it so that she has exactly that thing. Many times in life she will find that what she has pictured in her head is not what the world is willing to provide, and she has to go out and forge her own world. Props to her and I hope you continue to encourage that behavior.

    1. Thank you for this, I will.And I will also get her some Star Wars toys once she decides she wants real ones too, assuming she does.

  3. Yes! I have twins that are 4; a boy and a girl. (Yes, we discussed naming them Luke and Leia.) 😉 In our house, I’m the biggest Star Wars geek. I’m the biggest Disney geek, too, and in fact, a former Disney Cast Member. I grew up with both franchises, and still love both. But not this debacle with toys. I was pleased to read the other day that the Cover Girl Star Wars make-up is making some little boys realize that girls like Star Wars, too. I’m hoping that the grown-up Disney marketing powers that be will really see these messages too, and change strategy for the next movies. Because my 4 year-old son plays with Disney Princess toys all the time… with and without his sister. When he sees The Force Awakens, he’s going to want a Rey toy, and a Finn toy, and a Kylo Ren. Like Froianna’s son, he also loves Elsa the best of the “princesses” (although she’s a queen!) and picked out Elsa ornaments over all other ornaments last year at Christmas. My daughter likes to play with cars, way more than her brother does. She likes The Avengers, Toy Story, Daniel Tiger and PJ Masks, and will happily play those with her brother and the boys at school. We’re lucky, I suppose, in that we’ve got both genders therefore they get more toys to choose from than the average kid (those Princess dolls may be “hers” but they both love them). I want them to both enjoy whatever toys ignite their imaginations, regardless of packaging, aisles, or what some executive thinks is a good marketing call. I’m 39 years old and my oldest t-shirt is a tiny size 3 Millennium Falcon shirt from 1980. I didn’t care if it was a boys shirt or not. I’m bringing up my kids the same way but you’re so right, if these companies want my money, then they need to branch out a bit, or we’ll just get creative and make our own.

    1. I’m glad I am not the only one who feels this way. I have wondered if have both genders in the house naturally removes some of the effects of marketing. But in the end, we can create what will make our children happy, with or without the toys being made for us.

  4. You are so right! Girls should be able to play with whatever toys they want. Since Disney marketers have their heads up their…never mind. My daughter made “light sabers” for her kids out of pool noodles and silver duct tape. If you can’t find the toys your kids want, let them help make them. Shame on Disney for missing out on a huge segment of the buying publick.

  5. RE: “… she told me she was not ALLOWED to be in the “boy” section …”

    WOW! I wonder who told her that! There are clearance signs in both aisles (in the top picture of your other article on toy stratefication) so, of course one has to go down both aisles automatically just to check if they made it worth your while.

    It is even worse for boys as far as toy sellers trying to limit what they can play with – and even Batman needs a chesterfield/sofa/couch to sprawl out on after a busy day of crime fighting, if you think of it.

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