I was in Target (pronounced Tar-jay) the other day, browsing the toy aisles (what, it’s right around the corner from the DVD’s … I got lost?). As I rounded the Legos aisle I landed in familiar territory: the Barbie aisle.
Apparently Barbie is old news. On the wall facing Barbie were Bratz, which look like some sort of genetically damaged version of Barbie. According to one statistic I found, for every one Barbie sold, ten Bratz are sold. There were BratzBoyz, Bratz Babyz and Pretty ‘N’ Punk (a.k.a. British Bratz). What’s with all the “s”-“z” substitutions?
Collectdolls.com’s “doll profile” says of the toys: “Bratz dolls are somewhat controversial because of their heavy diva-like makeup and their oh-I’m-so-bored heavy attitude. Many mothers have also objected to the skimpy and or/overly ‘fashionista’ outfits … Whatever mothers think, 9-12 year-old girls are crazy about the Bratz dolls!” I don’t know what “fashionista” means but I do know what “slut” means.
I was, to say the least, disturbed by the fact that this is the most popular doll on the market for 9-12 year-old girls. Maybe you need a visual. One specialty “Brat” was apparently visiting Las Vegas in the near future, because the top supplied was basically a bra with fringe, and don’t get me started on her skirt, or lack thereof. Each doll has a different name, like Cloe, Jade, Meygan (with a “y”!) or Yasmin (Bleeth?) Are these on the list of popular baby names for strippers (I apologize if I’ve offended anyone)? The BratzBoys might be described as part “Metrosexual” part sexual predator. The “Pretty ‘N’ Punk” line comes with a British phone booth (to make out in?), and a bar — excuse me, “Party Spot” (but it does come with a bartender!) I don’t know what your Barbie did in her free time but mine did not club hop or down beers with friends. For God sakes, Ken had a chastity belt if I remember correctly. As Lil Jon would say, “WHAT?!”
I do not consider myself conservative and I don’t think its purely nostalgia that makes me playa hate these dolls; There is clearly a fundamental problem with young girls playing with dolls who are sluts. What next? Bratz Frat Party, with girls being date raped? Whatever happened to innocence? Barbie may have led girls to have harmful body images but she didn’t show them how to sell their bodies.
It’s obviously not just the dolls; These images are symptomatic of society’s abuse of youth and sexuality. Images on television, especially those of celebrities, bring the messages to kids that it’s ok to dress this way and act like — I’ll just say it — sluts (although you should give props to Britney Spears, who has previously been called a bad role model — at least her child-to-be was conceived in wedlock.)
Clearly, if I had been playing with these dolls I might have gotten more ass in my young teens, but I don’t see the gain. These dolls force issues on children that are meant for young adults in College, or at least high school.
My question is: Will the next generation of Cornellians have nothing to learn from college? Now that’s a scary thought.
Archived article by Logan Bromer