Again, Goldie Blox’s problem of its actual product: ‘make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product’

An open letter from the Beastie Boys to Goldie Blox:

“Like many of the millions of people who have seen your toy commercial “GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & the Beastie Boys,” we were very impressed by the creativity and the message behind your ad.

We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering.

As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads.

When we tried to simply ask how and why our song “Girls” had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.”


I am no expert on this situation to say the least. From what I gather, and I could be wrong– it’s happened– you are allowed to parody songs if you are not selling a product and making money off of the song. If you are making money, you can’t use someone else’s song to do it, even if you’ve created a parody. On top of that, in his will, founding member Adam Yauch left specific instructions that his music or image could not be used to sell products.

Goldie Blox is selling a product here, and, as I’ve written, though I love the ad, I don’t like what’s being sold, especially when the company claims to be ‘disrupting the pink aisle’ and then turns around and sells a princess-pageant themed toy.

And why didn’t Goldie Blox ask permission before making the parody? I know it’s easy to look back and see mistakes, but you would’ve thought the GB lawyers, who have already taken steps to file a lawsuit against the Beastie Boys now, would have advised them earlier: ask first.

If this ad were a public service message, it would be extraordinary. But instead, it looks like a song has been “borrowed” to make money by selling a product which IMO contradicts the ad’s message. This is all feeling more and more unethical to me.

Reel Girl’s earlier posts on the Goldie Blox ad:

Did you know the viral Goldie Blox ad is selling a princess themed toy?

Do Reel Girl’s posts on Goldie Blox ‘degrade femininity?’

Do Reel Girl’s posts on Goldie Blox ‘denigrate femininity?’

I’ve gotten all kinds of negative comments in response to my post that the viral Goldie Blox ad is selling a message that’s different than its product. Here’s one that a commenter writes is from Goldie Blox. I don’t know if the Goldie Blox comment quoted is in response to my blog or another one.

“And here is GoldieBlox’s response to the backlash: “Yes, we’ve seen this blog post, and the author raises a lot of great points. We’re sorry she feels that Goldie’s a waste of money, but totally understand where she’s coming from.We don’t have a problem with princesses being AN option, as long as they aren’t the ONLY option. Many girls really enjoy princesses, ballet, and pink, and there’s nothing wrong with that! STEM fields denigrate femininity enough as is; girls who enjoy girly stuff are just as capable of building a catapult and launching their younger siblings into the next yard as girls who don’t enjoy girly stuff.As for the toy itself, sure, it’s a “princess toy” in that there is a princess in it. In Goldieblox and the Parade Float, Ruby, Goldie’s best friend, teaches her friends that creativity and friendship matter more than any pageant. We think that’s a pretty good lesson for any kid.”


First of all, who says pink and princess is feminine? Do you realize how many assumptions you have to buy into to even make that argument? Pink wasn’t even a “girl” color until the last century. It was a boy color, a version of red. Blue, in honor of the Virgin Mary, was considered a girl color. Children weren’t even color-coded before the early twentieth century. Before that, babies wore white, because to get clothing clean, it had to be boiled. Take a look at President Roosevelt.


The fact that we all think, including our poor kids, that pink is coded in female genes and a “girl” color shows the incredible influence of marketing in 2013.

Anita Sarkeesian highlights our 2013 gender assumptions in her “Ms. Male” video. Here’s how Ms. Pac-Man looks in games our children play. Nice and feminine,” right?


Sarkeesian writes:

 Because we live in a strongly male-identified society the idea of a Pac-Woman as the “unmarked” default and a Mr. Pac-Woman as the deviation “marked” with masculinizing gender signifiers feels strange and downright absurd. Meanwhile Pac-man and the deviation Ms. Pac-Man seems completely normal in our current cultural context.


Here’s how the game might look if male characters were always on the periphery.


As far as a princess friend being “an option,” I did think when I saw and supported the Kickstarter campaign, and again, maybe I was wrong in my assumption, but I believed that Goldie Blox, itself, was providing the other options. I thought Goldie Blox was the other option! Goldie Blox sells itself as “disrupting the pink aisle,” not to mention the message in the viral ad. The market is completely saturated with princesses who wear puffy dresses and compete in pageants, to the point that toys who were not princesses, like Dora or Strawberry Shortcake, get princessy makeovers.

Here’s another comment on Reel Girl’s Facebook page from the same person as the one above.

It’s a real pity that it has come to this, but I can’t stand for this aggression that you are exhibiting to Goldieblox and anyone who dare to utter “princess”. Princesses are Queens in training – getting ready to one day rule the world.

It is sad that you are using your influence to attack people and products who are technically on your side of the girl empowerment movement. The only way change can be made is through co-operation and support. You are not an example of that. I would wish you “good luck”, but really I don’t. Divisive people are not good people to have in the Feminist movement. I hope one day you will learn the tolerance you so vehemently demand.

The issue is not that I condemn anyone “who dare utter princess.” I recommend princess narratives on Reel Girl including “Brave” and “A Little Princess.” The Middle Grade book I am writing has a princess protagonist in that she is heir to the throne. Here’s a princess narrative, “Child of Light” by Ubisoft, a role playing game due for release in 2014, that gives me chills,.

The Goldie Blox princess, her image and story, leave me cold.

Other commenters write Goldie, herself, is not the princess, she’s just friends with the princess who she is trying to help to win the pageant. Again, that narrative doesn’t excite my imagination or appeal to me. If it appeals to you, go ahead and buy the toy.

Did you know viral Goldie Blox ad is selling princess themed toy?

This is how fucked up kidworld has become. Finally, parents are catching on that gender stereotyping children limits potential. So what do we get?  An anti-everything pink and princess themed ad, which is great, selling a princess themed toy. WTF?

Here’s the ad.

Here’s the toy, which isn’t so great. “In this much-anticipated sequel, Goldie’s friends Ruby and Katinka compete in a princess pageant with the hopes of riding in the town parade. When Katinka loses the crown, Goldie and Ruby team up to build her a parade float as well as other fun rolling, spinning, and whirling designs.”


Read this blog by Rebecca Hains to learn more. “I have been rooting for GoldieBlox since their Kickstarter days, and I love their mission to break stereotypes and spark a love of STEM in girls. But by pandering to princess culture, this new offering just isn’t living up to the promise.”

Melissa Wardy also has a great blog on this: “You cannot create a toy meant to break down stereotypes when you start off with the ideal that ‘we know all girls love princesses.’ ”

Another good one here (though I think it’s fine to change sexist lyrics and make them your own.) Goldie Blox, no thanks. “It’s the same dumb-downed princess bullshit as the rest of the stuff they are shoving down the throats of our daughters.”

I am pretty sure I gave money to Goldie Blox’s Kickstarter campaign. I know I intended to, but I’m not positive I followed through. I certainly promoted the toy in its earliest days on Reel Girl’s blog, Facebook page, an my Twitter feed.

Once again, I like the Goldie Blox ad. I understand the product is supposed to be a step towards getting girls interested in engineering, but this doublespeak makes me feel like I’m being taken for a ride on a big, old float right down Main Street. I would not have given money or promoted a toy like the one above. I don’t know if Goldie Blox’s “success” made it become this or if this was this always the intention. Maybe, like someone on Reel Girl’s Facebook page writes, Goldie Blox is trying to “straddle the market.” If so, that kind of risk-free, inauthentic approach appeals to me even less than the product.

The toy box shown at the end of the ad is Goldie Blox and the spinning machine. You could argue that the Goldie Blox princess is just one image, or one character, of many. But what I thought is that this brand was going to be different. In a market saturated with princess/ pageant narratives, Goldie Blox was going to stand out as moving beyond stereotypes, not just in some products, some of the time. Maybe I misunderstood the message, but aren’t parents seeing this ad misunderstanding it as well?

Here are 4 previous blogs I’ve written about Goldie Blox where you can see how I progressively begin to question what is being created and sold to kids. One of the lines in the adoring media that really creeps me out states that those sweet, caring girls have “an inclination to help.” In boyspeak, we call that same impulse something more heroic: “a rescue fantasy.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if toys, and the language used to market them, was created for humans, not stereotypes?

‘The thing is, 89% of engineers are male, so we literally live in a man’s world’

GoldieBlox: new building toy created around a narrative with female protagonist

Ever heard of a prince with ‘an inclination to help’ a maiden in distress?

Toy companies start marketing sexism as progressive