When you hear the word “doll“, the first thing that comes to mind is “Barbie”. The main difference between dolls and action figures is that the former are geared towards girls while the latter are geared towards boys. Dolls usually include matching outfits, while action figures usually include clothing and accessories that you might not see every day.

Look Barbie. Since her creation in 1959, Barbie has been the quintessential girl’s toy, with her interchangeable clothes, pink cars and Malibu Beach House variations. Although the collection later included Ken, of course, Ken was by no means an action figure. His clothes, like Barbie’s, were typical everyday clothes, although masculine.

By comparison, your typical “action figure” is muscular, especially to an exaggerated degree, and may include weapons as accessories. Two classic examples that come to mind are Thundercats and GI Joe. The Thundercats characters, while somewhat human in appearance, were usually yellow or gray in color, with overdeveloped muscles; their outfits consisted of tank tops or leggings. Most of the Thundercats figures, whether male or female, included a weapon; Lion-O, for example, was packaged with The Sword of Omens, a longsword with a fiery red handle.

The G.I. Joes, while not as muscular as the Thundercats, still looked physically fit and usually included accessories like machine guns, knives, and grenades. Can you really argue that these weren’t designed for kids? That’s not to say that girls never played with them, but that’s not what the marketing companies had in mind.

Other popular dolls include American Girl and Ashton-Drake, both of which are also geared toward girls. Dolls of this type may be collected by some adults on occasion, due to their realistic appearance and value, if kept in good condition.

Another classic action figure collection that may come to mind is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, whose very name suggests action and perhaps violence. Like GI Joe and Thundercats, the Turtles, armor and games with vehicles like tanks and cars full of artillery. Again, while some girls may have found the Ninja Turtles attractive, they were mostly popular with boys. Villains were also distorted and mutated, such as the Shredder and his henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady. Perhaps these figures were meant to appeal to the same kids who were into aggressive competitive sports and war games.

Today’s action figures vary quite a bit, but again, their overall appearance is almost the same. Perhaps, even when times change, people’s mindsets tend to stay the same. Toys produced for boys and girls mostly reflect this.

Source by [Clément L.]