Transsexual Toys Lead The Way
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 94 23:45:52 PST
Subject: Transsexual Toys Lead The Way
From: Christopher Sorensen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Copyright 1993. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- When 7-year-old Zachariah Zelin ripped
off the Christmas wrapping, he squealed with delight. Santa
brought the talking G.I. Joe doll he wanted. Problem was,
Joe talked like Barbie.
His doll stands at the ready in its Army fatigues,
machine gun and hand grenades at its side. But it says
things like, "Want to go shopping?"
The BLO has claimed responsibility. That's Barbie
Liberation Organization. Made up of more than 50 concerned
parents, feminists and other activists, the BLO claims to
have surreptitiously switched the voice boxes on 300 G.I.
Joe and Barbie dolls across the United States this holiday
"We have operatives all over the country," said one BLO
member, who wished to remain anonymous. "Our goal is to
reveal and correct the problem of gender-based stereotyping
in children's toys."
Among the messages the tampered G.I. Joe utters are,
"I love school. Don't you?" and "Let's sing with the band
In a deep voice, the altered Barbie says, among other
things, "Dead men tell no lies."
The BLO claims a few other doll voices were reversed in
Canada, France and England. The group contends Barbie
teaches sexism and passivity in girls, and G.I. Joe
influences boys to act violently.
A spokesman for Hasbro Inc., the maker of G.I. Joe,
called the BLO's attack "ridiculous." "This will move us
to have a good laugh and go on making more G.I. Joes," said
Wayne Charness of the Pawtucket, R.I.-based toymaker.
"Barbie dolls and G.I. Joes are part of American culture."
A spokeswoman for Barbie's creator, Mattel Inc. of El
Segundo, would say only that no consumers have complained.
When Zachariah was asked whether he wanted Santa to take
back the feminine Joe, he responded sharply, "No way." "I
love him. I like everything about him," he said as he and
three neighborhood friends played with the doll. "He's
teaching me not to fight."
His parents are thrilled, too. Although Zachariah has
water guns, his parents say they oppose violent toys and
were unwilling to buy the G.I. Joe.
The doll was Zachariah's grandparents' idea. The parents
were shocked, but tickled, when the doll turned out the
way it did.
Zachariah's parents said they are not part of the BLO,
and had never heard of it.
"I think it really became an educational toy. I'm really
happy it worked out this way," said Zachariah's mother,
Susan Orlofsky. "Our job is to help him understand so that
he doesn't think he has to be a soldier. I think it's
© 1994 Peter Langston