Gi-Joe Essay, Research Paper
There are hundreds of thousands of icons throughout the world that represent many different things. (Nachbar and Lause 171) GI-Joe is an icon that is sort of out dated now, but represented several things about the United States and the people that lived it. The twelve inch GI-Joe was released by Hasbro Toys in 1964 as the first ever “action figure. It thrived for twelve years, changing from one soldier, to several members of every different military service. (Son) He represented, as the song goes, The real American hero! He was a young adult, male army doll, dressed in camouflage. He was also a role model for many children. He represented aggression, strictness, and responsibility. This doll soon became very popular as the years went by. He became the favorite thing for children to watch on television for several years. There is also one more thing this doll could have done, but cannot be proved. This doll may have helped the United States government out by inspiring little boys to join the army. (Burlingame) This doll became a very powerful icon that represented many things.
This doll was a very important turning point in the history of toys. Hasbro Toys released this doll in 1964. It was basically the Barbie Doll for boys. It was the first ever doll to be mass-produced for younger boys. The doll stood at exactly eleven and half inches. (Or one sixteenth full size) When it first came out it sold for $29.95. In 1978 the eleven and a half inch line was canceled. In 1980 Hasbro brought the doll back in a three and three fourths inch size. This line of dolls became very popular also. When the doll was first released in 1964, it had a very popular saying to go along with it.
GI-Joe, the real American hero, was spread all over the United States as the saying for this popular doll. It did a very good job holding up to this saying also. The appearance of the doll was a young adult male, dressed in camouflage. He was a soldier of the United States Army. He was willing to fight and die for his country. That was the message this doll was to portray to the people that played and looked at it. People (mainly little boys) that played and saw this doll were to think that this is what a true American is supposed to be. To other people this doll was looked at as a status. The status being a soldier in the United States Army ready to fight and die for his country. (Burlingame) These people may not have thought that this what they were supposed to be as an American, but saw it as a certain status in the American society.
GI-Joe gave people an impression that an American hero was or did certain things. One of these things represented is aggression. He is a soldier that will fight and die for his country, so he will need aggressiveness. Another thing that this doll represented is strictness. He portrayed that you need to be strict with yourself and others around you. Being strict in a child s eye meaning, following the rules, and taking care of him or herself. He also portrayed responsibility. A good American is responsible with everything they do. Again, in a child s eyes this means doing your chores, homework, and other things a child would. This doll became an important and good role model for a child to have.
The popularity of this doll grew and grew. It became so popular that it became a cartoon on television for kids to watch. The show consisted of the GI-Joes and the Cobras. Each episode the Joes would fight the Cobras and stop them from trying to take over the world or do damage to anything. At the end of each show there would be a message that one of the Joes would give to the audience. Weather it being about pollution, crime, or safety tips. This doll represented all the good things and American citizen should do and be. The only down side of this television sow was the violence involved in it. To many kids the thought of having a gun in your hand and the hand- to- hand combat was thought as cool. There are the pluses and minuses of this doll.
There is also a latent function of this doll that cannot be proved, but probably did happen many times. This doll, being an icon of a real American hero, could have helped out the United States government in recruiting for the army. (Burlingame) A little boy that grew up playing with these dolls, and seeing the cartoon on television may have been inspired by this toy to become a soldier. They would look at the doll and think that this is how a true male American should live his life, at least for a little while serving his country. This could be seen as good and bad. The good side of it is that it gets more recruits for the army. The bad side of it is that GI-Joe only showed the good and cool things of being a soldier. As a doll the only thing that could be seen is what the imagination could let you. In the show, the Joes never died, or got wounded. This gave the impression to kids that GI-Joe was invincible, and if they were to be soldiers, they would be invincible too. This was not a very good message to be portrayed to children.
GI-Joe has and always will be an important icon of its time. It represented so many different things. It represented a true male American that was strict, responsible, and aggressive. This is what many young boys thought a true American should look and act like at some time or another. It cannot be proven, but this icon could have effected the recruiting of soldiers by the United States Army. That is a good thing and a bad thing. GI-Joe will always be seen a true patriot, a status symbol, a favorite cartoon, and a possible career by the eyes of many. It can also be seen as just a plain out toy to amuse and entertain young children. Of all the things it does represent, there is one that will always stay the same, The real American hero.