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McDonalds' toys are still gender-split, Pokemon is for boys only

May 26 // Andres Cerrato
I really want to know what goes through these executives' heads. Maybe I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps this deal was signed long ago. With the next promotion being the surely everyone can enjoy How to Train Your Dragon 2 toys, McDonald's couldn't simply afford the loss of shelving a run of American Girl Happy Meal toys. Let's be honest here. This, at the root of it all, is a business decision. However, these business decisions have consequences. Will this segregation get kids to question their choices in the things they like? Probably not. I don't think that by a girl looking at the options that she's going to make the determination that Pokemon are only for boys, especially if she's playing her 3DS and catching Pokemon as her character. McDonald's only has this out because someone made a decision, and without understanding the franchises at play, that there didn't have to be this kind of segregation. I can't speak from experience of an executive and that's part of the problem. I can speak from experience as a parent today and that's part of the executives' problem. I don't fully comprehend how someone could just shovel off the idea that these toys are such a gender issue. There's a generational gap at play and our generation isn't the one in charge right now. However, it is our generation that is raising our children and we've made the determination that there shouldn't be this kind of gender discrimination any more. There probably hasn't been a toy or game that I've seen in the past two decades enjoyed by all sexes more than Pokemon. I've never thought of the game as being a "boys only" title. The game has made great strides in including all genders, being as inclusive as it possibly can. Yet, there are still people of the mindset that Pokemon is just for boys, simply for the fact that it's a video game. Clearly, as society likes to play out, video games are a boys only club with girls only acting or being embraced as a fetish point when they do play games. Instead, today's girls will be getting the newest American Girl, Isabelle. I don't have any grudges against these toys. Girls are free to enjoy dolls as any other toy. My only problem with these is that they exist merely because someone felt that girls need to have girl things. It's just asinine that this is the alternative to Pokemon. That's what makes this sting all the more. It's understandable given the social norms that many of the people making the decisions have grown up in. There is just a much bigger problem when we arbitrarily throw these social norms onto things that shouldn't exist. Even the activities pages on the Happy Meal website are segregated. Boys can color Pokemon! They can do mazes, scramble and make words out of other words! Draw! As a girl, you can put a dress on a girl! Design a costume! Hooray I'm a girl! It's just embarassing that this kind of promotion and segregation is still going on. These advertising campaigns are created by people who don't understand the current generation. This is a vestige of a time that will soon go out.  When will McDonald's actually go through with the changes to gender-specific toys? Probably when all of their existing contracts for toys run out. Unfortunately, we're going to have to see more of the same controversies continue to exist for no reason. If the company wants to controversy to go away, just start the practice now. This story will continue to come up as long as the practice continues. Besides, I'm tired of being looked down upon because I would like kawaii in my Spider-Man headband.   
Happy Meal Gender Toys photo
Also, these toys are so bad they shouldn't be for any gender
McDonald's had a gold mine on its hands. The ever-popular Pokemon became the newest set of Happy Meal toys. While these are nowhere near the glory days of the Burger King promotion from the first Pokemon movie, McDonald's has...

SI Swimsuit Barbie Cover photo
SI Swimsuit Barbie Cover

Sports Illustrated chooses Barbie for its swimsuit issue

HARHAR they're all plastic anyway yukyukyuk
Feb 13
// Andres Cerrato
I never thought that in my time here at Tomopop that I would write about the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, but yet here we are. The special issue, which gets people who don't have internet connections to buy print media,...
Metal Gear Solid photo
Metal Gear Solid

Hideo Kojima says I'll be ashamed for response to Quiet

Kojima is up on his high horse
Sep 08
// Andres Cerrato
Last week, Hideo Kojima let the world in on his design process behind the character, Quiet, for the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V. I wasn't exactly thrilled with his reasoning behind making the character "more erotic" and Kojim...
Character Design photo
Character Design

Hideo Kojima opens mouth, tells secret everyone knows

Just because it's done doesn't make it right
Sep 04
// Andres Cerrato
You know what the figure industry is about. Consistently, the message is sent that sex sells. It doesn't surprise anyone. If you've played just about any game in the Metal Gear Solid series, it doesn't come as any shock that ...


Hot Toys decides to remake Iron Man Mk I, people blindly rage over it

Oct 04
// Andres Cerrato
When the first of the Iron Man movies was released in 2008, I loved them. What I didn't know at the time was about a company called Hot Toys. The company would go on to make numerous figures of the various armors from the mov...

Sucklord and bootlegs as an art form

Sep 15 // Jackie Zysk
We've covered the artist Sucklord on Tomopop before, but I don't think many people fully realize how he creates his art. Each one of Sucklord's pieces are cast in resin from original, (mostly Star Wars) action figures. This is a classic bootleg; in fact, Sucklord himself openly admits his products are bootlegs. On his webpage, he lists his past figures on a page called "Bootleg Enterprise". Even his descriptions of the figures poke fun at the bootlegging process. These seem to be a clever commentary on the industry as a whole, a message delivered in almost a modern Warhol kind of way. These products are still the embodiment of the figures collectors bash regularly. A bootleg is a bootleg, no matter what artistic statement it maybe making. The original producers of the figures Sucklord makes are not compensated, and while the quality is a little higher than the average Nendoroid making it's way from China, it's still a knockoff. However, while Sucklord is the most prominent of the artists approaching this style, he is by no means the only one. Imagine my surprise when I saw this figure, by an artist calling himself "Schmucklord." Yes my friends, Schmucklord is in fact creating bootlegs of bootlegs, and people are loving it. Including Sucklord himself! Schmucklord confirmed that Sucklord had reserved a few of these choice figures. It's not just limited to mass-produced figures; KAWS figures are bootlegged regularly, and people buy them up intentionally with no ill thoughts. It's a unique mindset I don't believe I've seen in other figure communities. It especially seems odd for a community like the vinyl one, which lives on names. The idea of a bootleg KAWS is somewhat understandabl,e though; his figures tend to be large and very expensive. Collectors want his work but often can't afford it, making a bootleg an ideal solution. But the same logic cannot be applied to Sucklord's work. As stated before, most of Sucklord's creations are based on old Star Wars action figures. His pieces are by no means perfect replications of the original figures they are casted from. He gives them wild paint jobs and new characters. The backgrounds he gives for his figures do remind me of old dollar store bootlegs, and I think that's the charm in them. While I understand the hate bootlegs get, I do admit I do not have the same raging hate most people do. When I see a particularly bad bootleg, I roll my eyes and look away. I don't feel angry, or wish ill on the people who made it. I do not agree with the concept, but I know it exists. I even admit to have bought bootleg products before (although never figures). Sucklord's work is interesting to me. As an artist, I do enjoy the commentary he seems to trying to make with them. They do not personally appeal to me, but I can easily see why people would be drawn to them. The main question that I ask is one I extend to you, the community. Do you believe Sucklord's pieces are just regular bootlegs, and deserve the scorn that goes along with them? Or do you see them as a unique commentary of the bootlegging process as a whole? How do you think Sucklord's process differs from that of the people who produce bootleg PVC figures? Or do you see them as one in the same?

Like in every community, figure collectors don't always agree on things. Our opinions can vary on things from top coats to a face sculpt, but there is one thing we can universally agree upon: bootlegs are bad. Few people can ...


Nendoroid Petit Lily's controversial debut

Sep 14
// Andres Cerrato
I'm not really one to turn my head at most things. I have little qualms with some of the more risque elements of the hobby. I never thought that of all things that could possibly cross my imaginary line, that the item in ques...

Figuratively Speaking: Growing up

Aug 09 // Andres Cerrato
So what exactly is being grown up? For some generations, it's solely a matter of age. When the Earth has revolved so many times around the sun over the course of your existence, you are thereby given the magical and innate ability to reason fully as an adult. We can all concede that age doesn't make one grown up, but there is the expectation of certain behaviors. "Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence ... But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development ... When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." - C.S. Lewis When the public says "adult", what they really want to talk about is maturity. There are plenty of things that we would consider adults only, but are quite immature in nature. For as much as we make fun of it, is Queen's Blade or Ikki Tousen more a mature narrative than simply the fantasies of a roundtable of 9th graders? Why do these questions even come up? We, as social beings, like to judge based on what we don't like because that makes us feel better about what we do. We pretend to be of the interest of a discerning public, looking out for the greater moral good. It's not that we're trying to be holier than thou, just right in our own actions. We can justify our own hobbies and interests by simply deriding those of others. We see this all the time from outside communities. "How can you still be interested in toys?" scoffs the public. Meanwhile, that same person will watch Jersey Shore or follow Hollywood gossip to the most minute of celebrity. However, there lies the contradiction. By simply trying to defend my hobby, I've committed a grand hypocrisy to justify my own hobbies. We all do this, and it's perfectly okay to do so, so long as you actually acknowledge it. What this whole argument of adulthood really boils down to is a matter of what's appropriate. We want to act adult. We want to be mature. Going back to the C.S. Lewis quote, we get hung up by using adult as a term of approval. All that we are looking for in our hobbies is approval. We can get approval by it not being something we determine to be worse. We'll damn it by saying that it's not appropriate for anyone instead of saying it's simply not meant for us. Let's take the vinyl scene for example. The genre has come under so many labels that it has confused itself. Many times, the justification for vinyl is that it's an expression of art, hence the urban art label. You can't attack art because it's open to interpretation. In that same genre, though, the industry will attack itself to keep its own club in tact. Remember the Death to False Vinyl campaign put on by Kidrobot attacking Taco Bell? The uproar that Disney, of all corporations, has its own line of vinyl toys? These items were attacked because they came from the world of business and not from those artists. They wanted to keep intact their little club because it represented a threat. The entrance was decried as a defacement and abuse of their art, their perceived notion of acceptance. It's a shame that some of those positions in leadership in the industry, so eager to be accepted outside the marketplace and to shed unfair labels like "hipster garbage", were so willing to reject a validation of the industry to protect what they felt was "adult." We need to recognize things we don't like have a right to exist. There are so many messages of what's wrong with X and we'll consistently repeat them. "I'm going to boycott X because of what they did with Z." "How can anyone actually be comfortable with buying that." "Whoever buys that must be a deviant." We've all seen these kinds of comments and probably made them ourselves. What irks me about those kinds of comments is that they're ignorant of the hypocrisy they lend to. I don't mind the statements, but the people who make such comments need to realize the exact same can be said of them and their tastes. They're all subjective judgments, not ones made based on fact, let alone maturely. None of us are in a position to really comment on what's right or wrong. We just want to project our beliefs because if more people are listening to it, we become more accepted. What's right in our mind is what is really appropriate. Speech, art, jokes, sports, pretty much everything is subjected to this kind of cherry-picking. Certainly there are things that we take offense to. We're entitled to be offended by things we don't like. What most do in turn though is damn the entirety of everything. We find ourselves trying to categorize everything so that it can be approved for ourselves and no one else. Appropriateness is arbitrary. Bring up the topic of sex and watch mouths foam, heads explode and comment sections burn down over it. These arguments happen just because the views that we find ourselves supporting must also be superior. We can't let things just be what they are, we also have to be right. This leads to a horrible path where we'll belittle one another over things that do not concern us. Even worse, what these people are at odds over something that will never adversely affect the other.  What we can do though is simply agree that we're all different. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and tastes. You can hate what I like. We can hate things together! (You'll have a blast with me, I swear.) God forbid, we can even like things together. What we can't do is deny someone the enjoyment they get from something. Enjoying something for what it is at value is the most adult and appropriate thing you can do. When you like something for a reason that is not directly related to your own satisfaction, that is the definition of immaturity. What I want to leave you with is that there is no line of maturity, adulthood or appropriateness to this hobby or any that you have. We are going to be critical of things we don't like and that's okay. I'd like to think we could all get along, but I'm sadly too pessimistic from so many pointless arguments to see this happening. We'll battle over this topic too, but I would like to hope that we can at least respect each other in what we like. You have my approval to like what you do, but something like that shouldn't matter. Enjoy your hobby for what it is. Don't worry about the critics, just enjoy it. I'll still continue to deride what I don't like. I'm still going to enjoy what I like, regardless of what you or others think. That doesn't mean that I'm attacking you or your enjoyment. If you let myself or anyone else stop you from enjoying your hobbies, maybe you didn't really like it that much to begin with. Be yourself, enjoy yourself and what you do. [Note: The views expressed in this piece are solely those of Andres Cerrato. They do not reflect the opinions of Tomopop or its staff.]

[The views expressed in this piece are solely those of Andres Cerrato. They do not reflect the opinions of Tomopop or its staff.] At Tomopop, our slogan is "Refusing to grow up." It's not that toy collecting is immature or ma...


Leeke World releases Mikhaila amid a swirl of controversy

Mar 22
// Brigitte Coovert
Leeke World has just released (on March 21st 2011) an unusual new ball-jointed doll named Mikhaila, but it has happened amid a maelstrom of controversy. In the past few days leading up to its release a small, handmade BJD com...

Tomopop Opinion: Dexter toys and the marketing of violence

Sep 16
// Tomopop Staff
Toys do not often make it into mainstream news, so whenever they do we here at Tomopop get pretty excited. Toy publicity has the ability to inject new life into the hobby and bring in people who were not formerly aware of it....

NSFW Opinion: Carlos Enriquez' Hierophany

Sep 01
// Colette Bennett
[The opinions expressed in this piece are all individual and do not reflect the opinion of as a whole.] Whether in the art toy world or the often perverse Japanese collectibles sphere, sexuality is a theme that is...

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