The consumers (the parents) are in a fluff over what appears to be a highly sexualized toy. Yet this toy is pretty much the same shape as the real thing (refer to my Pinterest page for Cake icing tool images).
I guess for the sake of making a cute toy for children, the edges of the Play-Doh extruder are slightly more rounded than the real thing.
There is the argument that very young children will most likely not perceive this shape as being anything other than a cake decorating tool. If they do – perhaps that's a bigger issue. I can sympathize with both sides of this debate. However, since adults make the buying decisions when it comes to toys for their children, we as designers and illustrators need to consider the various possible interpretations or misinterpretations a shape can take.
Illustrators also need to know the audience they are marketing to is parents first, young children second. Otherwise, things can go terribly wrong as noted in 19 unintentionally disturbing moments from kids’ books. I’m sure these books started out with great intent, but adult interpretation obviously wasn’t taken into consideration prior to printing and marketing them.
So to caution against misunderstandings, should bananas, zucchinis and carrots be banned from children’s books because they are potentially phallic in nature? Where does one draw the line? And where does misinterpretation become an opportunity for education and dialogue? This week's illustration is in response to these questions. It was also submitted to Illustration Friday for the theme of Passion.
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