MAKING OUR MARK: Child Labor and Toys

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Hello, and I’m sorry for not posting in a while.  I’ve really been thinking about how to approach Zenith of Corruption, and inevitably, this new column.  After all the good feedback I got from the 4kids/RAI dub article, I decided to create this new feature.  First off, this is entirely different from the “Thursday Your Say” on Una di Noi, and I’m not copying that site in any way whatsoever.  Rather than being a simple opinion column, “Making Our Mark” emphasizes current issues that have a connection to Winx fans, or sometimes even directly to the program itself.  Issues used in “Making Our Mark” are more controversial than those in posts that I normally put up here, but from your reactions, you seem to encourage these types of rational discussions.  So, here it is.

Like the dub article, this one starts with another source.  Except this time, it’s not a music video: it’s a book PDF.  Now, I wasn’t able to find just the story that pertains to this discussion, so when you get to the link, just read pages 85-88.  So anyways, here’s the story:  http://www.vday.org/~assets/board/Emotional-Creature.pdf  Come back after you've read it, okay?

Unfortunately, this story isn’t as fictitious as you might think, as Mattel has been proven to do just that: http://ihscslnews.org/view_article.php?id=38 .  So, how does Jakks Pacific play a role in this controversy?

The answer is that their position is, as of yet, unconfirmed.  The Winx dolls are, in fact, made in China, but it could be an entirely automated process, or they could even be moving progress to America for all we know.  Now some of you might get mad at me for this, but I believe in “innocent until proven guilty.”  What I request more than anything about this is awareness. One of the posts on this website came from a Jakks Pacific employee.  She, more than anyone, can confirm or deny what we all may be fearing.  This isn’t so much a post about boycotting Jakks as it is a plea for a definite answer to how our dolls may be made.

But for now, I’ve been thinking, and there are some things about the way Jakks operates that might mean that they are by no means contributing to this problem.  Here’s what I mean:

1. Barbie dolls, the main Mattel items that have been confirmed to use child labor, cost less than Winx dolls.  I went on ToysRUs. com for research, and found that a basic Barbie ballerina doll costs $7.49, and a simple Barbie convertible costs $16.99.  Even the convertible costs less than Winx items.  Therefore, this could be a sign that Jakks uses more humane methods.  And remember: no matter how expensive they may become, it’s worth it if we know that no children were harmed or used for any purpose other than playing with the dolls.

2. Winx dolls have increased their prices.  At first they were around $15-$19.  However, I have seen that some of the Harmonix dolls are priced at around $22, and the Bloom Pink Enchantix that put this blog on the map costs $29.99.  Price increases could signify that they may be increasing pay for workers, if not move completely to America altogether.

3. Jakks is a smaller company than Mattel.  Therefore, as a “dark horse” with an increasing presence, they might not feel the need to go to such lengths to assert their dominance.

4. There are far less lines of Winx than there are of Barbies.  With less designs, there are less demands on the company, meaning that there are far less Winx dolls out there than Barbie dolls.  This could give Jakks the extra advantage of more time to make each one, and therefore not even need child labor.

5. The Winx dolls are created to be more detailed than the Barbies.  Take the Blue Bloom Believix, for instance.  She has multiple types of lace and bright blue rhinestones on her wings.  This type of attention to detail requires a precision that may not be met by simple child labor.  The wings on the Winx dolls are very likely to be done by a machine, since human efforts might not be enough to create them.

You can go the way you want to on this issue.  You can choose to attack Jakks if you desire.  But I choose the path of logic, the path that can’t just jump to conclusions without even knowing if they’re true.  We can’t just rely on “guiltiness by association” when there are toy companies out there with good intentions.  I believe that deep down, Jakks is one of them.  But we don’t need to riot now.

We need to know first.

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3 responses »

    • It’s not an article, it’s a skit from the perspective of a fictitious Chinese laborer. It’s really well-written and very emotional. It’s called “Free Barbie,” so you can try to look it up.

      Also, I found out that Hasbro apparently has had a very progressive anti-child labor policy for it and all companies that make their products ever since the ’90s! So to any bronies or other Hasbro product fans that may be on here, don’t feel ashamed and support them as much as you want! 🙂

      • Also, the book it was published in is called “Emotional Creature.” That could help to find it. I’m just glad someone finally commented on this, though!

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