Hasbro's My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Talking Princess Celestia" toy perpetuates stereotypes about girls, at girls' expense. Although the MLP: FIM television cartoon depicts Princess Celestia as a wise, powerful leader and mentor who advocates for girls' education, Hasbro's talking Princess Celestia toy is a conceited, girly-girl stereotype. It's programmed with lines like these:
- I'm a princess! Are you a princess, too?
- I love when you comb my hair!
- Oh, my hair looks beautiful.
- My wings are so pretty!
- My barrettes look so pretty!
- You’re beautiful!
There's nothing wrong with the occasional "pretty princess" product. But this product is untrue to the onscreen version of Princess Celestia that girls and their allies respect and admire. Recast as pink instead of white, and fixated on personal appearance, Hasbro has reduced the character from a positive role model to a poor one.
This is part of a broader pattern in the toy business. Marketers have decided to view girls AS stereotypes who only WANT stereotypes. The logic seems to be: "Girls love princesses! Princesses are girly and pretty and pink! Let’s give girls what they want.”
Lego’s recent and controversial decision marketing move is related to this. Instead defying the stereotype that girls will ONLY play with pink toys and inviting them to build with regular Legos, Lego created a separate girly-girl line of Legos for girls.
Hasbro's move with the Princess Celestia is rooted in similarly stereotyped thinking about girls. Parents and other concerned parties want Hasbro to know how strongly we disagree with these marketing tactics, and urge them to stop.
Encouraging girls to identify as "pretty princesses," and giving them nothing BUT pretty princesses, is a problematic practice. It harms girls, their imaginations, and their visions for their own futures. It’s the antithesis of girl power.
Hasbro: Please reprogram the talking Princess Celestia toy's voice chip. Give her character-appropriate and girl-centric lines, like these:
- I’m a princess! I rule my country with wisdom.
- I love teaching my students. Do you love school?
- You’re so smart!
- You remind me of Twilight Sparkle, my best student.
- You’re beautiful outside and in.
- Together, we can do anything!
More information about this product and what's wrong with it may be found at http://rebeccahains.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/pretty-princess-problems-the-case-of-princess-celestia/ .
Also of note: Hasbro's Corporate Responsibility Statement -- which fails to recognize the ethical implications of marketing to children -- may be found here: http://csr.hasbro.com/has01-csr-at-hasbro.php.