There always seems to be a debate about what toys are appropriate for kids. Looking back at some of the items sold years ago, one has to wonder just how many inappropriate toys have been given to children. These toys range from creepy and suggestive to downright dangerous.
Would they survive today’s debate about child’s toys? Keep reading to see for yourself.
Batman Water Pistol (above)
Kids could get a Batman action figure and water gun all-in-one with this toy. We aren’t too sure how the designers decided on the pump and squirt placement for it.
The Punisher Shape Shifter
Back in the late 1990s, Toy Biz came out with a line called Shape Shifters, which featured popular Marvel characters. The figures were given the ability to transform into an assortment of weapons.
The Punisher figure caused plenty of confusion for its design as its “Power Pistol” mode made a missile shoot out of the figure’s crotch area (the orange tip in the photo above).
Inflatable Wolverine Hammer
Wolverine was also the center of a controversial toy. It’s not hard to see why this inflatable toy hammer’s design was criticized.
Action figures and hero-centric toys are hardly the only figurines to turn controversial — Barbie dolls have quite the history of problematic releases.
Check them out…
Barbie’s Problematic Past
Slumber Party Barbie
The Slumber Party Barbie sparked a pro-eating disorder controversy in 1965. The doll came with her slumber party essentials, which included a pink scale that was permanently set at 110 pounds.
The doll also came with a book called How to Lose Weight that advises “Don’t Eat!” While an updated version of the doll was released a couple of years later without the scale, it did include the book.
Barbie’s BFF Midge
Barbie’s best friend, Midge, wasn’t without her own controversies. In the “Happy Family” line, Midge was sold “pregnant” with a tiny baby figurine inside a magnetic, removable womb. Parents were enraged at the doll’s alleged promotion of teen pregnancy.
Growing Up Skipper
In 1964, Mattel debuted Skipper, Barbie’s kid sister. All was well until 1975 when Mattel decided to let Skipper hit puberty with a doll that grew breasts and an inch taller. When Skipper’s left arm was rotated, her rubber chest would inflate and her torso would lengthen. She could revert back to her “child” form when her arm was turned the other direction.
As many can imagine, parents and women’s groups complained about the doll. But these aren’t the only controversial dolls on the list…
The Breast Milk Baby
In the early 2000s, a company sold a doll in Europe called Bebé Glotón, which was designed to let children imitate the act of breastfeeding a baby. The doll came with a child-sized halter top for the kid to wear that featured flower-shaped nipples, which were sensors for the doll’s “sucking” feature.
The doll was set to debut in the US as the “Breast Milk Baby,” as seen above. Parents were outraged, saying it was inappropriate and caused kids to grow up too early, or consider motherhood at too young an age. Despite this, others thought it was a great way to normalize breastfeeding to younger kids.
Baby Wee Wee
Another eerily realistic baby is Famosa’s Baby Wee Wee. Kids were supposed to feed the doll his bottle and watch him until he waved his hand back and forth in front of his crotch to signal that he had to go to the bathroom.
Then, kids were to undress the baby and watch him pee. Many parents argued that the doll’s function — and anatomically correct features — were inappropriate for young ones.
These “Lovable” toys left kids lighting up a cigarette for their miniature Yogi Bear or Huckleberry Hound. Kids would place one of the “cigarettes” into the figurine’s mouth and light it. Supposedly, the figurine would blow smoke rings.
Mister Merry’s Play Lighter
Nothing was more encouraging of a bad habit than giving kids a “play lighter” kit, complete with a pack of cigarettes.
Grow Up Just Like Dad
Seriously, the tobacco industry started them young.
Racist Make-up Kits
There’s no doubt that these racist make-up kits would spark controversy if they were released today. While items like these are no longer on shelves, some photo editing apps are still making headlines for enabling digital blackface.
Now let’s go from racist toys to dangerous ones…