Pages Navigation Menu
Needs

Rebelling against Hasbro’s Rebelle Nerf line

Rebelling against Hasbro’s Rebelle Nerf line

Well it’s been a couple of days now since the Nerf Rebelle line images hit us and I thought I’d jot down my thoughts given it’s related to female Nerf fans and that would include me.

My initial reaction was.. well.. somewhat reactionary. As a woman who has always had ‘guy hobbies’ or been into ‘guy stuff’ the whole ‘paint it pink and call it girls’ burns me like almost nothing else. I despise it, it is lazy marketing at its finest. We’ve seen this in gaming for many, many years, pink controllers and keyboards, but no REAL solid marketing that is inclusive of a female audience. With this in mind, this is where my initial reaction comes from, hard to understand unless you’ve put up with it for years and you’re in that minority.


Hasbro Nerf Rebelle female blaster line of toy guns for girls

‘Same Performance as Nerf’ <- why does this even need to be pointed out? Should they somehow be less powerful because they're for girls? *sigh*


Having said that, there will always be a niche market for this sort of thing and that’s where I believe Hasbro are coming from with this approach (wrong though I may find it). The downside is it perpetuates the marketing tide of this sort of nonsense and supports the present sexist hegemony. The upside is there will be girls / parents who buy into it and that means more girls realizing Nerf isn’t just for the boys and this is a good thing. Hasbro will hopefully tweak follow-up marketing for ALL merchandise that is inclusive, in a non-derogatory manner, thus opening up the entire range to the female audience (have you seen regular Nerf box art / ads?!).

On the actual design of the Rebelle line of blasters – color choice / marketing aside – I like them a lot. They’re sleek and different, which is what’s been missing (imho) from the line for some time. I personally think they should have released the line with clip on cover accents, maybe coming with two different colors and you could choose the accenting color you wanted (over a white blaster with say the black filigree), thus denoting it feminine or masculine if you like those annoying little pigeon-holes. Then of course Hasbro could make more money by releasing additional theme packs of the clip in accents panels. These would be great for people who want a really quick way to mod their blasters without the hassle of actually going through the stages it takes to mod them cosmetically.


nerf rebelle hasbro girly blasters they're pink of course

Nerf Rebelle Awesome design, so why did it need to be just for girls?


Bows are for girls
Not hair bows, we’re talking Katniss, Merida, Abigail Whistler arrow shooting bows. The trouble here is Hasbro are jumping on a bandwagon of strong independent female characters, but they’re doing it with Nerf bows that fly in the face of everything they stand for. I find that sad and again, annoying. Are the designs nice, yeah, but splitting the bow series into the pinky and perky Rebelle “Heartbreaker Bow” (ugh) and the Nerf N-Strike Mega Blazin’ Bow is just a kick in the female face again.

Despite Hasbro stating: “Just to be clear, we could have taken some of our Nerf blasters and just made them pink and put them in pink packages — but that’s not what we did”, this is still pretty close. Sure they designed them from the ground-up and for that they should be applauded…. loudly, but there are still steps to take.


Rebelle by Nerf Hasbro grounded in sexism or insight?

Nerf Rebelle by Hasbro: Grounded in whose insights? Middle aged marketing men in suits? Opportunity lost!. Maybe next time!


One day articles like this won’t need to be written, because we’ll realize gender is a socially constructed mess. You know years ago girls were dressed in blue and pink was the color of boys, that’s how natural these seemingly ‘natural’ things are. Think about that next time you’re in the toy aisle, looking through a toy catalog (they are so split by gender it is unbelievable), or watching an advert for toys.

Anyway that’s my thoughts on the Hasbro Rebelle line. I know I don’t usually ‘blog’ about Nerf things here, but I figured this was important enough to do so and probably too long for a Facebook update.

Now if I could just get that job as remote aesthetic design assistant at Hasbro we wouldn’t have this problem lol.

Some other articles you might find interesting that cover the gender problems of the Hasbro Nerf Rebelle line:

ReelGirl has a small mention that sums up the feelings of some

Good article over at Phek Trek’s Blog on Why Gendered Toys are the Wrong Direction

Rebecca Pahle over at The Mary Sue has a positive spin whilst intelligently covering the gender annoyances.

FeministSonar has an interesting take and asks the big questions.

Addendum:
Adding in my twitter pal Ragegirl’s article because it made me LOL and she says vagina…
Ragegirl talks Nerf Rebelle “Dear, Hasbro/Nerf/Companies in general who want to make things female friendly, I don’t like pink. I never have. I know, strange, because I have ovaries and a vagina and other bits that the Republican party of America is afraid of.”

And another great article via Jet in the comments. Nella over at Chez Apocalypse investigates the Nerf Rebelle line and how sometimes it is truly all in a name. “So let’s have more toys of equal quality that encourage kids to play in the way they want to play without us adults clutching our pearls for boys and girls”. Nice one Nella.

—===—
Written by Nerfenstein for her home blog. She loves Nerf, so this makes her sad.

16 Comments

  1. I fully support this! I custom paint my daughters :)

    [Reply]

    GirlyGamer Reply:

    I don’t know whether you mean you paint your daughters blasters pink, or you support the idea that girls should be wooed into Nerf without this silly pink idea and you repaint them other colors?

    [Reply]

  2. Remember that line indi say in raiders? I got my own version “pink whyd it have to be pink’. and dafuq is the advertising about? So guys are gonna buy these and respray, why didnt they release em two different colors and market the whole thing to everyone, seems legit.

    heartbreaker bow dafuq? thats the best they come up with? maybe they pay a 10 yr old girl for that name. you notice regular nerf aint blue but for the new ones, they are gender non specific colours so really market to all already. how hard can it be?

    [Reply]

    GirlyGamer Reply:

    lol apparently it can be very hard. That’s true about the regular Nerf colors, very gender neutral, though it’s mainly for safety reasons as opposed to any effort by Hasbro to make them so.

    [Reply]

  3. Abagail Whistler is a badass. But these aren’t badass.

    I’ll wait till I can have a light bow…

    [Reply]

    GirlyGamer Reply:

    Abigail Whistler is a total badass with her bow for sure.

    [Reply]

  4. the clip on cover accent idea is brilliant. Would love to see hasbro doi it in the future

    [Reply]

    GirlyGamer Reply:

    Maybe I’ll get a cut for the original idea eh?

    [Reply]

  5. I’d have to say I agree with you. I’d read multiple articles on this subject (including the one you read, but there’s another good one here: http://chezapocalypse.com/youre-a-heartbreaker-toy-taker/) and they’ve all kind of hit the nail over the head as to why I really am not looking forward to Rebelle. Yeah, the blasters are very very neat and have some new ideas that people are looking forward to (namely that hammer-action revolver), but this marketing is just… dated. To me, this feels like a marketing thing that would have happened like five or ten years ago. It feels like Hasbro’s going backwards with this.

    I think this just overall gives me a bad gut feeling because this was supposed to have been advertised to a younger me, and younger me would have looked at this and said “no”. I have a bias for tech-looking stuff, but I dunno… it just feels like Hasbro’s trying to go out for this one specific stereotypical target, and it’s going to alienate other girls and other people in general. I know the modding community will buy these either way, but if you bring in the general population into this, then this might be a marketing failure.

    I know I’m being a big party pooper about this new series, but I just can’t shake that bad gut feeling.

    [Reply]

    GirlyGamer Reply:

    Fantastic response Jet, thanks for taking the time to articulate your feelings so well. The marketing strategy here is definitely in need of a kick in my opinion also. Despite Hasbro stating they asked the market, this reeks of old school male led marketing of a female centered product. That’s probably that bad feeling you have, it’s sadness Hasbro let this happen lol.

    A marketing strategy can be a failure for a few reasons, this is a failure on the grounds that Hasbro could have re-marketed their entire range and added these awesome new blasters to that range. That range could then have had open marketing that was inclusive of girls, whilst not directly aimed AT them. Yes, I worked in marketing once ;p

    My guess is these will be a success. Why? Because they’re new and not just skinned new. The Nerf community seem to lap up any innovation and regardless of the sickening skin and marketing of these products, they are innovative from a design / usability standpoint. Present Nerf fans – like me and you – will buy them and as I briefly mentioned the pink brigade too will hopefully step up and make purchases, thus making more girls Nerf fans. We can but hope.

    I’ll add that new link to the article, thanks for the heads up.

    [Reply]

  6. As someone who is a father and a gun enthusiast (both real and nerf), I see both sides. My son isn’t quite old enough to play with nerf guns yet (he likes to say “go!” and watch me shoot them across the room), but I dabble a little myself. They’ve come a ways since I was a kid, I have to say. This marketing, as obnoxious as it is, works. My wife hates pink guns because she thinks nobody will take her seriously if her concealed carry pistol is pink (and I agree). My mom and girl cousins, however, want everything they own to be pink and sparkly. And if you go to an outdoors store, you will definitely see pink guns that fire real bullets.

    But I notice that the real gun manufacturers rarely make guns in just pink versions. Hasbro/Nerf should pick up on this reality. Like you said, the modders and nerf-lovers will see through the marketing and grab these guns. After watching this video I personally think a pump-action crossbow is awesome. As a dad/husband I’m secure in my masculinity and often carry girly looking bags for my wife. For me, it wouldn’t be a big deal to walk down the barbie aisle and pick up a nerf gun, go home and repaint it to my liking. But I think back to myself as a ten year old and I never would have bought it for fear of looking like a girl. They’re doing themselves a disservice by only offering these in the girl paint job.

    I’m usually a fan of traditional gender roles, but even I have to agree this is a fail. I’m all for girls having dolls, but I don’t have a problem with a girl getting into a nerf war with her brothers or friends either. Until now they really haven’t marketed NERF to girls. The commercials and boxes are all boys and the guns are in the boy section. Undoubtedly these Rebelle guns will be in the girl section and have only girls in the commercial (unless they are shooting boys). Instead, they could include girls in the commercials with boys, as well as offer more paint combos for each model and they might actually capture both genders.

    Also, as “neat” as the collector darts are, parents will hopefully figure out the cost difference pretty quickly.

    [Reply]

    GirlyGamer Reply:

    Hey Josh,
    fantastic response, thanks for taking the time to write such an articulate reply. It is very strange Hasbro hasn’t taken the move to open up their marketing to be more gender neutral, but the same can be said with most action / doing toys, unless they are related to care-giving / domesticity. Would I buy my daughter dolls, yes, would I buy her a little mini ironing board and kitchenette, no. People don’t realize the messages these seemingly innocent acts send to the growing mind. You and I as adults both know walking into the girls aisle and purchasing a pink gun for you doesn’t bring into question anything, people would assume it is a gift, Were you 10 – as you mentioned – it would be different. We should be looking at why that is and trying to fix it, rather than just saying, oh that’s just how it is. It is that way largely because we make it so.

    [Reply]

  7. I love the sleek, curvy design rather than the usual chunky one, but the pink makes me cringe! When will Hasbro realize they’re being totally sexist? Its not so much the pink on the guns thats bothering me, but its the entirely pink packaging and the little girls on the packaging that are in lots of makeup and extremely girly poses. Who shoots a gun like that? Even though I absolutely hate the marketing, I’m still probably going to buy a gun because they look like they would make some badass mods.

    [Reply]

    GirlyGamer Reply:

    Right with you Hannah and you probably noticed the newer non Rebelle Nerf are still being marketed directly at boys, so so sad and a wasted opportunity.

    [Reply]

  8. So is this to capitalize on the inherent aggressive tendencies of young females, if so bad business choice. Biology will be against you Nerf.

    [Reply]

    GirlyGamer Reply:

    You need to do some study on nature vs. nurture, I think you’ll find it very interesting indeed. Young ‘females’ are no more aggressive now than they have ever been, with MANY other variables in play in modern times which can skew how things may appear.

    Perhaps you never meant your comment in the negative manner it has come across… who knows, either way, thanks for taking the time to leave one.

    [Reply]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Ad