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Clarke's Law for Girls' Toys
Little do they know, Baby Alive runs on two C batteries.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke, Clarke's Third Law

Toys for girls which are marketed as using magic rather than technology. These ads are aired in countries with truth-in-advertising laws. Therefore, these toys must use actual magic!

Okay, seriously, computers and electronics and alkaline batteries allow toys to do amazing things. Toy companies are well aware of this. But how they handle it depends on whether the toy is meant for boys or girls.

  • If it's for boys, then the technology in the toy will be prominent in the advertising. The design of the toy and its description in commercials will suggest bleeding-edge technology. "Batteries not included" will be displayed relatively prominently.
  • If it's for girls, then it's time to break out the fairy dust. Even the need for batteries is hidden in fine print. Everything the toy does is attributed to magic or other mysterious powers. The girls in the commercials will act overawed and amazed as dolls move, dance and talk in response to voice commands... even though they probably see TV remote controls and personal computers on a daily basis.

Not every advertising campaign uses the trope. For example, the 1980s Jem toy line which had Synergy, a hologram-making super-computer. Another is the current line of GirlTech products, which make up for their open high-techness by being very, very pink.

Some boys' toys now also run on "magic." Christmas 2008 brought "D-Rex," a small robotic dinosaur that was aimed at boys but treated in all advertising as though the boys were meant to think it was a real, living creature. In fact, the pure and simple reason for this trope seems to be that most toys for girls are supposed to mimic something living; when a product for boys operates the same way, it's also treated as "alive." It's just that most boys' toys are based on machinery to start with, and—barring certain noteworthy exceptions—there's no need to convince boys that their new RC car or toy blaster gun is a sentient creature.

Compare Mother Nature, Father Science, Women Are Wiser, Pink Product Ploy, Doing In the Scientist.
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alternative title(s): Ptitlee7kbu7t 3
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