Special Report: Boy Toys Gone Girly - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Special Report: Boy Toys Gone Girly

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(WFIE) -

Bella Spears is nine and has just as much fun getting dressed up in play clothes as she does with her blaster toy.

"She likes to play both boy toys, girl toys, she likes to be girly, do sports," said Bella's mom, Melody.

She enjoyed playing with her brother's lego sets, but really likes the newer versions now available on store shelves.

"They're more girly-er than boy stuff and I just like playing with girly stuff instead of boy stuff," said Bella

A new trend in toys is designed to appeal to girls just like bella. From reinvented tinker toys to nerf rebelle to goldiblox - some boy toys are going pink.

"It really is about the message that, 'Yes, you can be Belle and you can be Cinderella, but you can also be a strong, empowered female,' said Laurie Schacht. "Girls want to be just like Katniss from the Hunger Games. And why not? She changed an entire society."

The lego friends line has been so popular, it's expanding and toy insider Laurie says it's not the only toy line thriving by going 'girly'.

"Toy companies are realizing that by tweaking these toys, by changing the design a little bit, by changing the color, suddenly it's going to appeal to the other 50% of the market that many of these toy companies have missed out on," said Laurie.

Play therapist and Professor of Counseling Psychology, Dr. Sharon Lamb, says some of these toys could have a positive effect on play, showing girls that being assertive is okay. But she isn't a fan of feminizing them.

"They're pinkifying it. And it's as if they're giving a message that 'sure you can be empowered, sure you can be strong, but you have to do it daintily and in pink," said Dr. Lamb.

She feels toys should be tailored to the individual child.

"Somebody shouldn't go into a big box store and say, 'I need a birthday present for a girl, show me what girls like,'" said Dr. Lamb. "I think that people should describe the individual kid and then be shown gender-neutral toys."

As for Bella, even though she likes her legos with female figurines she says she doesn't care what color her bow and arrow is.

"It really doesn't matter to me because I like it just as much," said Bella. "I think it's the same exact toy but in different colors."

It's not just toy makers getting in on the trend.

Schacht says videogames like angry birds and skylanders are incorporating more female characters, and that those female characters are expected to be featured in bigger roles in the coming months.

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