Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Nerf pitches for the baby Katnisses and wigs us out in the process

Admittedly I've still not recovered from the introduction of the Lego-for-Girls line, but there’s something ultra-squeamish about Nerf’s new Hunger Games tie-in line. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

Join me after the jump for more adventures in horrific marketing!

This advert screened before Catching Fire in our local cinema, and I was at least reassured by the noises of disbelief around me. Transformers, GI Joe, sure, that makes perfect sense. To attach this piece of what-the-christ to the front of a dystopian drama about violent oppression is a bit - rough.

So yes, someone at the Nerf round table missed the point. Or, as is more likely, didn't miss the point but just decided to make a wildly inappropriate line of feminized weapons for pre-teens anyway. Because you know, someone will buy them. Lets ignore that first chunk of Catching Fire where she had massive PTSD on account of the people she killed in the first movie.

I know that this piece of horrific cashing-in has no real impact on the Hunger Games franchise itself, but regardless, it’s uncomfortable on two fronts. Firstly on the feminising point - it’s a weapon. It kills people. Who is using it is not relevant, and there’s definitely nothing about Katniss that screams pink and lavender. Why is it assumed that she wouldn't be appealing to young women and young men? It belittles the character and Lawrence’s (epic) performance.

Secondly the movie leans heavily on a few key moments of violence to drive home a point, and those moments are brutal. They aren't glossy fight scenes with a pumping soundtrack, they’re militarized peacekeepers beating and killing innocent people. The Hunger Games itself forces innocent people to kill innocent people. Exactly how does the glamorizing of a weapon fit into this scenario? By all means, make toy bows. Cover them in ugly garish squiggles, as annoying as I find it. But don’t go out of your way to tie them to the Hunger Games. Ugh. Ugh. 

Also: “Rebelle”. No. Go home, Nerf, you’re drunk.


  1. I know one person who really wants these, my daughter Elle. Not only is her name in the title (and she goes crazy for anything with her name in it now that she can sort-of read), but they're Nerf toys in her favorite colors. She hasn't seen any marketing beyond the shelves at Toys R Us though.

    1. this reinforces my theory that I'd be a terrible parent. "Oh, Sasha, no!! Defy the patriarchy!!"

    2. That reinforces my theory that you'd be an excellent parent.