Toys and Games: Barbie says, "Math class is tough!"
From the hula hoop, tabletop hockey, Spirograph and toy guns to Cabbage Patch Kids, Elmo, GI Joe and Transformers, kids in Canada have had no shortage of toys and games to choose from since the 1950s. Mega-seller Barbie came in various incarnations and the trivial pursuit of digital equipment made popular games seem invisible in the new millenium. CBC Digital Archives takes a look back at what's been cool and unique in playland throughout the years.
• The Barbie that emitted the controversial "Math class is tough" phrase was called Teen Talk Barbie. It was released in July 1992 by Mattel. This Barbie also spoke a number of other phrases, including "Will we ever have enough clothes?", "I love shopping!" and "Wanna have a pizza party?" Each doll was programmed to say four out of 270 possible phrases, so it wasn't likely that two dolls would be the same. In fact, only about 1.5 per cent of the Barbies spoke the controversial phrase.
• The math comment was attacked by the American Association of University
Women which denounced the doll as having short-changed girls. In response Mattel
announced in October 1992 that Teen Talk Barbie would no longer say the phrase.
The company offered to exchange the doll of anyone who owned an offending
Broadcast Date: Dec. 20, 1992
Guest(s): Ann Boden, Tony Long, Vaughn Whelan
Host: Linda Sims
Reporter: Dianne Buckner
Last updated: November 26, 2012
Page consulted on September 10, 2014
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