When our girls were little, we never allowed Bratz dolls in our home. (Privately, my husband and I called them Slutz dolls.) The exception were a couple of toys that came in a McDonald’s Happy Meal which we allowed them to keep to illustrate our point of why these dolls were so loathsome – and these dolls were invariably the “bad guys” in all the kids’ imaginative games.
Of course now the girls are past the age of dolls, but they’ve grown up recognizing what it is about these dolls we don’t like: the emphasis on inappropriate clothing, the heavy makeup, the extraordinarily sexualized nature of a toy that teaches girls that their bodies are nothing more than tools for prurient purposes.
I don’t pay much attention to the toy market anymore, but for some reason I thought Bratz dolls had been discontinued. That’s why I was surprised to see a headline this morning for a CNN Money video titled Behind the Bratz Revamp. I guess the dolls are back on the market.
The video shows the mildly interesting procedure of how the prototype dolls get their hairstyles, makeup, and clothing. Okay, fine, whatever. But the narrator – who isn’t specified but presumably is one of the executives in the company – concluded with some startling words about the dolls. He said:
“They ARE edgier and we are not going to apologize for that. Actually they are going to become a little more edgier. The reason for it is frankly to give a message to little girls that you can express yourself, you can have self-confidence and do what you want, you’re not a second-class citizen.”
I wasn’t aware that girls were second-class citizens, and/or that to rise from the status of second-class citizen –- or to acquire self- confidence -– or to express yourself –- requires them to "do what they want." Since when does empowering girls mean they should dress like a tramp? Is this what feminism has taught us? Wow, what an accomplishment.
See, this is what I don’t “get” with modern society. The feminist movement has assured us that women are to be measured by their brains, nothing more. So why have these dolls proliferated in the last decade? Why can’t dolls be toys for little girls to practice their mothering instincts? Why are parents buying this crap for their daughters?