An anti-war group has declared war on GI Joe, asking peace activists to participate in a “Say No to War Toys” campaign this season.
Code Pink is asking consumers to avoid toys that support soldiers and, in turn, the war in Iraq, said Tiffany Burns, a spokeswoman for the organization of anti-war feminists, based in Venice, Calif.
“It’s really about encouraging people to buy gifts for children that are peaceful and to not support the war in Iraq by buying violent toys,” she said. “We ask them to avoid the typical toys that we see all the time, like GI Joe, and a number of video games out there that are particularly disgusting.”
To persuade shoppers to avoid military toys and violent video games, Miss Burns said, Code Pink members are asked to picket outside stores, hand out pamphlets and encourage people to put pink and white “warning” stickers on items considered especially bad.
Instead of toys that promote the military, officials with Code Pink suggest gift items that promote creativity.
“We tell people to buy things that encourage imagination. It might sound kind of cheesy but things like Play-Doh, paints and colorings and that sorts of thing,” Miss Burns said. “We specifically suggest a peaceful hot-pink Frisbee.”
This is the second year that Code Pink has mounted its anti-war toys campaign, and some critics call it a blatant attempt to feminize little boys.
“It’s ridiculous, and it’s a part of the feminist assault on masculinity,” said Carrie Lukas, director of policy at the Independent Women’s Forum.
Encouraging children not to play with toys that support soldiers also teaches them not to appreciate American sacrifices, Mrs. Lukas said.
“Since our soldiers are heroes, it’s a very natural and very healthy thing for children and little boys to want to emulate those soldiers,” she said. Code Pink “says all over their Web site that war is not a game. Of course it’s not a game, but playing a game and wanting to imagine yourself as one of the good guys fighting against evil seems like a healthy process for little boys to go through.”