For the past three years the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) has presented their Worst Toy of the Year award, the dreaded TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children). Created as a response to the Toy Industry Association of America’s annual TOTY (Toy Of The Year) Awards, the TOADYs emphasize the toy industry’s disturbing trends. From the hoards of 2011 toys promoting violence, precocious sexuality, branded entertainment, and electronics that shun children’s creative play, the CCFC has selected five finalists—many culled from this year’s industry “hot toy” lists–that were then voted on to reveal the shining glory of terrible toys. So here, straight from the CCFC, this year’s most disturbing playthings:
5. Monopoly – Coca Cola 125th Anniversary Collector’s Edition
Retails for: $39.99
Recommended Age: 8-10 years
Why give your kids the classic version of America’s favorite board game when you can immerse them in an ad for Coca Cola? No more fighting about who gets stuck with the iron or the hat; choose from “collectible” tokens like a Coke bottle, Coke can, or even a Coke polar bear. Sign an agreement for exclusive “pouring rights” on Boardwalk…and collect 39 grams of sugar every time you pass “Go!” Recommended for ages 8 and up, even though Coke execs swear they do not target kids under 12. Type 2 diabetes sold separately.
4. WWE Colossal Crashdown Arena
Retails for: $38.99
Recommended Age: 6+
Normally CCFC would be opposed to a World Wrestling Entertainment toy for six-year-olds. After all, toys are one of the primary ways that the WWE markets its unique blend of bullying, violence, homophobia, and misogyny to young children. But the Colossal Crashdown Arena is so ridiculously pathetic that it could be the toy which actually turns kids away from the WWE forever.
3. Monster High Ghoul Spirit Fearleading Doll 3-Pack: Draculaura, Cleo de Nile and Gholia Yelps
Retails for: $42.99
Recommended Age: 6+
Want to scare the pants off your six-year-old? Mattel’s Monster High Ghoul Spirit Fearleading Doll 3-Pack will do the trick. And they’re guaranteed to frighten the heck out of you, too. Not because the dolls are ghouls and vampires, but because the company that gave the world Barbie packs so many damaging sexualized stereotypes into one creepy package. Behold the horrors of impossibly thin body types; recoil from the micro-mini-skirts, booty shorts, and fishnet stockings; shriek in frustration, because—in Mattel’s world—girls are always relegated to the sidelines. Better yet, run screaming as fast as you can from these monstrous “fashionistas.”
2. I Am T-Pain Mic
Retails for: $39.99
Recommended Age: 7+
Worried that your seven-year-old is the only kid on the block who doesn’t know the words to “I’m in Love with a Stripper” or “Take Your Shirt Off”? Remedy that with the I am T-Pain Mic. For just $39.99, this amazing microphone will transform the voice of your child to sound just like rap star and auto-tune aficionado T-Pain – and introduce him to T-Pain’s lyrical world of misogyny, drinking and drugs. ”A lot of kids don’t have cellphones, (so) in order to reach everyone, I’m taking it to where it can be a toy,” the rapper explains. Thank you, T-Pain, for your dedication and service to our children.
1. Vinci Touchscreen Mobile Learning Tablet
Recommended Age: 4 and under
Can’t wait for the day your child starts tuning you out for technology? Give your infant a head start with the Vinci, the first “iPad” designed especially for babies. The $479 may seem like a lot, but that’s a small price to pay for the tranquility that comes when your infant is virtually lobotomized. Make dinner in peace. Better yet, go out for dinner. The Vinci’s hypnotic apps are designed to guarantee that Junior won’t even know you’re gone. Plus, the Vinci makes lots of bogus educational claims, so you can join the company in pretending that screen time is great for your little one.