My daughter (almost two) absolutely loves CARS. We have the first movie on DVD, and she pulls it from the shelf and carries it around the house saying the word "cars" in her sweet little voice to anyone that will listen. When the TV spots for CARS 2 come on TV, she shout's "Cars!" as a big smile overcomes her face. She has a set of toy cars (not from the movies) that she loves scooting around with on the floor. With all the hype surrounding the new film in recent weeks, I had every intention of getting her something from the new film - and that was a feat easier said than done.
I was shocked to discover that in Wal-Mart and Target, there are NO products associated with CARS 2 being sold for girls. With dozens of items available, you'd think there would be a HOLLEY SHIFTWELL t-shirt around - perhaps a group shot printed on pink or purple or even white? Nope. All of the clothing is marked "boys," even that which could be considered unisex. Well, how about a HOLLEY SHIFTWELL toy car? Since there's a few different versions printed on the back of other packages, you'd think there would be one somewhere in the store, right? Nope. An entire section devoted to the merchandise in the front of the Supercenter, two full pallets in the main aisle, and a full section in the toy department - not a single HOLLEY anywhere.
A search for CARS 2 "GIRLS" products on the Toys R Us website brings up only some old-fashioned, wooden block style cars, while a search for"CARS 2 HOLLEY" features five items (one is the wood block car). The same search at Target displays a whopping one item - out of stock. While most of the toys actually seem to be poorly made, especially the $20-a-pop larger age 3+ cars made of plastic with paper decals on them, my main interest was to find my daughter a CARS 2 t-shirt of some kind. What better place than The Disney Store, right? Wrong again. There they at least have "boys" and "kids," at least acknowledging that it's ok for everyone to like cars, but in the end I ended up back at Wal-Mart for a CARS 2 character shirt printed on the fairly neutral color of green.
This is the first time I've experienced this first hand, but the lesson learned seems to be that consumer culture starts fueling exclusion at a very young age.
In a world where some girls grow up to be racecar drivers like Danica Patrick, it's foolish for companies to think that little girls wouldn't like CARS 2.
Has anyone else had an experience like this?