TIA open to dropping gender-based Toy of the Year Awards categories

TIA president Steve Pasierb has revealed that the organisation is open to shaking up its Toy of the Year Awards categories, including dropping those based around gender.

At this year’s Toy of the Year Awards, the Girls Toy of the Year category was won by Shopkins Scoops Ice Cream Truck while LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Millenium Falcon won the Boys Toy of the Year.

As the association firms up its strategic plans up to 2020, Pasierb is looking at how the Awards categories can steer clear of "false dichotomies". 

“We try to rethink everything we do at the TIA," said Pasierb.

"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."

It follows a move last year by Target, one of the largest toy retailers in the US, to phase out gender-based signage across its toy departments.

Pasierb added: "Obviously, boys are going to gravitate to GI Joe and girls are going to gravitate to Barbie. It’s going to happen.

"The question is how much do we need to identify that as the narrow niche. The example I keep giving is Spin Master’s fantastic Zoomer Kitty. It was in the girls’ category. I have two cats at home. I don’t consider cats to be girl orientated. They’re people orientated. We want to make sure we don’t end up with those false dichotomies"

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