This was originally going to be a GREAT MOMENT IN G.I. JOE HISTORY, but I felt this required a little more nuance. Anyways, while looking up something G.I. Joe related, I found this article on the 25th Anniversary, the real one, in 1989. Reading it was great, because it provided a little info, and a lot of laughs.
Here’s a link to the original: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1989-12-17-8903190114-story.html
Here’s the informative section, relevant to ARAH
When G.I. Joe was reintroduced in 1982, it was much shorter, measuring only 3 3/4 inches, and the uniforms were molded on the bodies of the figures, making the toys more like the traditional little soldiers with which boys have played Army for decades. The manufacturers, however, provided a little prompting: an action story line for G.I. Joe`s elite anti-terrorist team that battles to rid the world of Cobra, their arch-enemy.
A new era of aggressive marketing had dawned, and Hasbro was in the forefront. The number of allies and enemies and accessories, including vehicles and weapons (including AK-47 assault rifles, mortars, land mines, grenade launchers and even a stealth bomber) increased as the G.I. Joe line grew by leaps and bounds. By the end of 1982, 45 licensees were secured for related products, including clothing, shoes, videos, comic books.
And new characters keep rolling out of the Hong Kong factories. Every year 17 new members of the G.I. Joe team are offered and 17 from the previous year are carried over for a total of 34 plus 44 vehicles. Since 1964, 230 individual ”action figures” featuring a ”swivel arm battle grip” have been part of the G.I. Joe line.
Below are some of the hottest takes I’ve ever seen;
Not surprisingly, perhaps, the G.I. Joe line has become a flash point for pacifists. Since 1985, people involved in the Stop War Toys Campaign of the New England War Resisters League have held a protest demonstrations at Hasbro Inc.`s Pawtucket, R.I., headquarters and at the New York toy fair.
”G.I. Joe is a real popular toy, and it`s very well marketed,” says Karen Nyer, a parent, former preschool teacher and spokesperson for the Stop War Toys Campaign. ”It`s backed up by its cartoons and its commercials, and the cartoons are extremely violent. The National Coalition on Television Violence has rated them among the most highly violent of all the war-toy cartoons on the market, averaging 84 acts of violence per hour. And they never show the consequences of the violence, so the kids get the impression that when you shoot somebody, nothing happens-a dangerous thing to teach kids.
”When G.I. Joe first came out, he was a bendy-twisty, all-right kind of a guy who could wear (Barbie`s boyfriend) Ken`s clothes-they were the same size. He had more flexibility in his play value. Now he`s only a soldier, and every character comes with a biography that tells you everything you would want to know: where he went to school-if he went to school-if he likes to stomp rats in his Army boots. Very strange trivia. It glorifies soldiering and makes killing seem like a lot of fun.”
”His enemies often have something like a prosthesis, a bizarre weapon for a hand or a leg. It gives kids a bad impression, that they`re only partly human. Most of them have foreign-sounding names-Russian or Middle Eastern. There are very few women, and one of them they describe as someone who always wants to be one of the boys but sure doesn`t look like one. There`s sexism, racism and stereotyping of handicapped people and foreigners. It`s a bad influence.”
I understand the 1980s were a time of panic and crusades against things, without allowing things like facts to get in the way. However this is amazingly slanted, and I say this as someone who ACTUALLY agrees with some of the points they’re attempting to make.