Why Is Marketing For Nerf Guns So Different For Girls Than Boys?

Why Is Marketing For Nerf Guns So Different For Girls Than Boys?

Let's examine how Nerf falls into the trap of gendered advertising with their boy and girl blasters.
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Advertising has always seemed to be a major, if not the main, perpetrator of gender roles in American society. What may seem a simple means of promoting a product in everyday lives has unconsciously warped the collective perception of men and women, putting both genders into distinctly separate boxes. If one is a female, then they must act and look this way, checking items down a list that is nearly impossible to emulate in reality; men have a similar set of expectations set before them.

The work of advocates, primarily the feminists, in modern times, have caused these hard-to-crack gender roles to slowly but surely break down. However, there are ad campaigns as of late that still perpetuate a clear line between the genders, such as Nerf’s male toy blaster line and its female “Rebelle” blaster line of toys.

The popular brand of toy dart guns has kept its advertising towards male consumers relatively constant in recent years. An ad for the Nerf “Rampage” gun features a teenage boy firing the blaster at a target off of the box.

The model looks like a deviation from the target audience of Nerf toys, which is mostly composed of kids aged from 6 to about 11 years old. However, the inclusion of the teenager with a brow furrowed in concentration, entirely focused on his target, with a slight smirk on his face—essentially, he fits all the general requirements for someone that looks “cool”—causes boys to look at him and say, “wow, I bet if I get this gun, I will look as cool as he does when I am chasing my friends around the park with it!”

The model is busy in action, unsmiling and deeply focused on the task at hand because, according to Nerf, boys do not sit and pose with their Nerf guns; they shoot them. It is also notable to point out that the color of this specific line of Nerf toys is blue, and when thinking of gender, blue is generally associated with boys and pink generally with girls.

Though the inclusion of a Nerf gun line directed specifically at females is a huge step forward for the company, as Nerf has practically always marketed to boys, the ad campaign for the female “Rebelle” line of blasters falls into too many of the classic female tropes. The ad for the “Pink Crush” bow and arrow blaster features a girl that looks to be about preteen age, younger than the model on the “Rampage.”

This model wears a huge smile on her face, and though she is aiming her blaster, she is not performing the action of actually firing it. In the upper background of the ad, other young models pose with their guns. One of them stands with attitude and a pinch of cute, holding her gun like Lara Croft does on the cover of Tomb Raider II.

The other is, again, aiming her weapon but not firing it. While men in advertising always seem to be in action, unfocused on anything except the task at hand and ignoring the camera in front of them, it seems as though these girls were told they were being watched by a camera and instructed to act accordingly so. Where the “Rampage” gun was blue, this blaster, along with everything surrounding it, is slathered with varying shades of pink, for Nerf apparently believes girls will not buy their product unless it is painted with the “epitome of girliness,” pink, and not in yellow, or green, or red, or blue, or black. That is almost every color of the rainbow for the boy guns and one for girl guns.

Despite the flaws in this ad campaign, Nerf has (almost) corrected their mistake with their line of Rogue One blaster toys based on the weapons of characters in the film. At the center of these ads is Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), the second female protagonist of the Star Wars film universe. Jyn’s blaster is the second-largest in the toy line, second only to a deluxe blaster sold only in select stores, and on the gun’s box, she is pictured aiming her blaster off of the box, her face devoid of any smile.

The box’s label also names her “Sergeant Jyn Erso” rather than just her name, something that pays a great respect to her vastly integral role in the film and avoids belittling her in any way. The blaster itself is orange, not pink, and appeals to both boys and girls. This is in direct contrast with Nerf’s “Rebelle” line, for Jyn is made to look tough, mean, and focused, a behavior and attitude previously only reserved for men in advertising.

Nerf is not the only company guilty of pandering to gender roles that will soon become too outdated to exist in a rapidly changing world. Their marketing for their Rogue One line of toys was a huge step forward and sets an example other corporations should follow. Companies like Star Wars and Disney have already picked up on the importance and value of respecting the consumer by marketing products that represent boys and girls equally, especially with their recent films and the merchandise that accompanied them, Rogue One and Moana. If there is one thing that is just simply not true anymore, if it even ever really was, it is that men always get down and dirty while still looking good with dirt and sweat all over their body while women sit still and look pretty.
Cover Image Credit: Nerf/Roy Mendez

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Kristin Chenoweth's Wicked Great Jewelry Collection From HSN

We all know Kristin Chenoweth as the 4'11 blonde who can sing like no other, but did you know she had a WICKED jewelry line too?
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As some of you may know, I adore Kristin Chenoweth. I also adore jewelry. Now imagine that Kristin Chenoweth has a jewelry collection on HSN. Well, SHE DOES! Recently she was on HSN showing off her stunning, gorgeous, elegant jewelry. I saw a bracelet that I just had to get! It was the "Broken Arrow" bracelet. Since I live in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, I had to get it! By the way, this 4'11 powerhouse diva is from Broken Arrow, as well!

"Broken Arrow" Bracelet

.28 ctw Sterling Silver

Only $49.95, or 4 flex payments of $12.49, on HSN.

Kristin's whole collection is so cute! You can get the pieces in silver or gold, which I love because you get a variety! I really enjoy how each piece has a story behind it. For example, back in December, I got a bangle from her collection. The bangle is called "Music Heals." Since I am very dedicated in the music world, this was also a must-have. The message behind this piece is amazing. Music really does heal and every time I wear the bracelet, I am reminded that and also reminded why I do what I do.

"Music Heals" Clef & Note Bangle

.31 ctw in Sterling Silver or Gold-Plated Sterling Silver

Only $78.00, or 4 payments of $19.50, on HSN.

Her collection ranges from bracelets, rings, earrings, and necklaces. These pieces make perfect gifts for your family, friends, or even yourself. They are delicate, shiny, and also very easy to wear with casual or fancy clothes. Oh, and if you are a hashtag lover like Kristin, then I recommend you to check out her hashtag necklace or ring because it is #toocute. Anyway, after I bought the bracelet, I decided to call back and try to get an on air call to talk to Kristin and tell her I bought a piece of jewelry! Within at least five minutes or so I was put through and got to chat with her!! I told her that I was apart of her Broadway Bootcamp this summer, and she remembered me! It was so much fun getting to chat with her about her jewelry and about this summer with her. Next thing I know, I won the birthday giveaway HSN was doing for their 39th anniversary. I won a gorgeous, stunning necklace from her collection. The name of the necklace is "Stay the Course."


"Stay The Course" Y-Drop Necklace

1.25 ctw in Sterling Silver or Gold-Plated Sterling Silver

Only $59.95, or 4 payments of $14.99, on HSN.



I can't say thank you enough to Kristin and HSN for picking me as their winner! I was so thrilled to just talk to her again and winning the necklace really topped it off. If you love jewelry like me, I highly recommend buying some from Kristin's collection. You won't regret it at all! I promise you! The prices are very reasonable and affordable. I hope you decide to get some jewelry from her collection, which you can find here at the Home Shopping Network.

Cover Image Credit: HSN

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When Patient Care Is Second To Profit, Quality Suffers As Regulations Fill The Gap

The most effective health care system in the world is crippling under the weight of ever-increasing regulation and a disconnect between delivery and management; the health of our patients are at stake and their lives are certainly worth fighting for.

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The modern U.S. health care system is highly effective and efficient at providing emergency medical care beyond that of any other country in the history of the world. However, the quality with which we provide some of the most basic of services has continued to decline over the past three decades. Simply put, the U.S. health care system has morphed into being more focused on productivity and technological advancement rather than quality patient care and cost containment. Although a capitalistic structure for macroeconomic business models is undoubtedly the most effective method to generate revenue with the most consistent quality of product (as exemplified by the U.S. economy since the industrial revolution), it appears to be largely ineffective when applied to health care where the service provided directly affects human lives. This conceptual dichotomy stems from a variety of aspects that collectively shape our perceptions of what's infecting the business of health care; each of which could be discussed ad nauseam. However, two that I'd like to touch on are that of physician involvement in the management of healthcare and the shock-wave of effects that were caused by the Medicare fee schedule.

U.S. healthcare is a $3.3 trillion industry that serves to provide 17.9% of the GDP. Integral to the delivery of that service are, undoubtedly, physicians and nurses as they are involved in its implementation on a daily basis. Why then, are the most experienced personnel in the industry almost entirely absent from the management of that system? Granted, physicians commonly go on to become hospital presidents, Chief Medical Officers, and into governmental positions, but I would argue that they should also be intricately involved in the more executive and financial positions within their individual organizations. Doing so would, not only, streamline health care delivery (as those who are providing the service are determining where resources should be allocated) but would also increase the level of trust that other health care workers have in management. In fact, a 2011 survey revealed that 56% of physicians on hospital staffs didn't trust the administration as partners because of a lack of physician leadership. Additionally, in what seems to be an exponential increase in the rate of physician burnout, even this issue may be combated due to the executive doctor now having a vested interest and influence in the growth of his or her organization.

There are a few inherent problems with doing this, however. While physicians and nurses are the primary purveyors of health care, they often-times lack the necessary business skills to effectively manage a company or organization. Educational training programs that equip physicians to fill these roles are practically non-existent, with the exception of the Alliance for Physician Leadership at UT Southwestern. This need must then be met by alternative means such as earning a non-health care MBA or simply by fostering one's own managerial skills through acquiring non-clinical experience and the ever-important aspect of networking.

In order to expound on the impacts of the Medicare fee schedule (as it pertains to the decline in the quality of healthcare), a bit of a historical backdrop is necessary. Originally devised in 1985 by Harvard Economist, William Hsiao, was commissioned by the U.S. government to measure the exact amount of work involved in each of the tasks a doctor performs. He defined work as a function of time spent, mental effort and judgement, technical skill, physical effort and stress. Overheads in training costs were also factored in. The team he assembled interviewed and surveyed physicians from approximately 24 different specialties, analyzing everything involved from 45 minutes of psychotherapy for a patient with panic attacks to a hysterectomy for a woman with cervical cancer. They determined that the hysterectomy takes 4.99 times as much work as the psychotherapy patient and used this method to evaluate thousands of other services. A relative value for everything doctors do was quantified. Congress then recommend a multiplier to convert the values into dollars and the new fee schedule was signed into law.

The fee schedule dictates which services a physician renders and governs a higher payout for more complex services than other [lesser] services. In 1992, Medicare began paying doctors accordingly and private insurance soon followed these same guidelines. Implemented as a top-down form of governance, the fee schedule is one of the primary reasons why our healthcare system has become so heavily reliant on output rather than patient care. By generating a standard that converts patient conditions to dollar signs, the focus was able to shift from patient care to generating revenue. Therefore, when the insurance companies adopted this schedule as a guideline for negotiations with physicians and hospitals, it effectively established all of health care as a business transaction instead of a service provided.

To understand what role government should play in our health care system and what the "end goal" should be, we must first understand what are the truths that we hold as self-evident and what it means for our rights to include that of "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." Doctor Robert Sade, in his paper on the interactions between politics and morality with that of medicine, explained that "The concept of medical care as the patient's right is immoral because it denies the most fundamental of all rights, that of a man to his own life and the freedom of action to support it. Medical care is neither a right nor a privilege: it is a service that is provided by doctors and others to people who wish to purchase it." For a governing body to unilaterally dictate health care policy is to exalt their own reasoning and logic over that of the millions of individual minds associated with health care; be it physicians, patients, nurses, or policyholders. If we claim to desire a higher quality of patient-doctor relationships then we must keep the power of decision in the hands of those who are offering and consuming the service, namely, the doctor, nurse, and citizen.

Cover Image Credit:

RawPixel

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