Sunday, June 26, 2011

A message to little girls

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?


  1. Perhaps it's because we have a pair of lost generations now out in the world with kids of their own and no moral compass who think glamorizing a thing validates it and celebrity equals worthiness.

    Anyone can have a baby, but not everyone can dress up like a slut and think they look hot.

    This may or may not offend some, but as I witnessed these slut-culture 'fashion' sweep our region California it glaringly emanated from the Latino community. It was a stark contrast, and it quickly spread.

    And then there are the influences like dear old Cher and all the other celebrity sluts presented as models for our young people. Shock wins over taste every time with this element.

    Boy.....I'm on an out and out rant here!

    Thank God the majority of American kids are stand-up kids who know and care about appropriate dress and conduct themselves with more self respect than kids raised on bratz dolls and slutty values.


  2. "Why are parents buying this crap for their daughters?"

    If we knew the answer to this, we would know the answer to so many other problems.

    I can barely stomach walking through the toy aisles, especially those geared to girls.

  3. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)June 26, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Women are going to buy this 'doll' for their little girls because it validates themselves on being a mother. They think that since the choice to have children and to use daycare as a substitute mom, their little girls will turn out just fine. Don't worry about any guilt trip - all they have to do is look like a tramp (but not be treated like one)and all will be fine and dandy. Their little girl will have everything she wants - just look at her role model!
    When I was working I saw it happen all the time.
    Their kids were so busy doing sports & after school camp that wasn't even time to talk, cuddle, share, learn, dream or play.
    I pity this generation - a bunch of unhappy, unloved and confused children will lead the world.

  4. That argument just doesn’t make sense. In order to express yourself, have self-confidence and not be a second class citizen, one must dress like a prostitute? Even if we take (for a moment) the worldly view of a successful woman, that is not the way they dress-for-success unless their office is on a street corner.

    I think these perverted men are dressing these dolls the way they hope and pray women will dress in the future. What they are doing is most definitely NOT about the self-confidence of little girls.

  5. I have a four year old daughter who actually stated that Bratz dolls "look scary" and aren't wearing "good clothes for playing." My four year old gets it...why don't they?

  6. Stuck in California (but looking elsewhere)June 26, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    Unfortunately too many parents, friends and relatives give in to the idea that children have to have the trendy new toys to fit in.

    We do not permit the Bratz brand or similar toys into our house. Everyone that knows us knows we are conservative, yet our daughter has received these toys on a couple of occassions (2nd and 6th birthday). The 2nd b-day was easy, I tossed it. The 6th, I explained to her why they were inappropriate and out they went. She was the victim of the mean girls (Bratz raised children) when she attended public school (first grade). I explained to her that the doll represented the behavior of those mean girls. She was ready to see the dolls go.

    Also, we do not have television service so our daughter is not getting a daily dose of what the media wants her to be. Her morals comes from what her dad and I teach her.

    Her 8th b-day is coming up next month. She wants a baby doll crib, high chair, and stroller. She will also tell you that she loves babies, wants to marry a Christian man and than have twins. (She understand the proper order) She is a little girl, not a little girl trying to dress and act like a TV slut. She says she wants to be like her mom. I think that's the greatest compliment I can get.

    I am very honest with her and explain that mom doesn't dress to display and that only trashy women dress like that. Sorry if that offends anyone. Second thought, no I'm not. I also tell her I want her to be treated well and not have people stare at her girl parts so we dress and cover those parts.

    I don't want my daughter to be treated like a piece of meat. Therefore, I am teaching her to be modest. What is there for a future husband to look forward to on his wedding night if he has seen it all on display before hand? Doesn't everyone like a surprise present? I want my daughter to be loved, respected and honored by her future husband for the wife and mother she will be. I think that's a better image than the one that Bratz CEO wants just to sell a few more dolls.

  7. So 'expressing yourself' consists of one edgy/sexy look? How funny! If the toy company really believed in empowering girls there would be all sorts of looks, sizes and types. Sadly, it's more like that non-sense of "you can be anything you want to be, but stay-at-home mums are bad" or "you can think for yourself, but conservative ideas are evil"
    I'm really tired of being told I can "express myself" but only in a certain way.... *sigh*

  8. A.McSp says "The majority of American kids are stand-up kids"? I wish it were so, but I'm not so sure of that. Go to a mall and find a place to sit, maybe buy something to drink, and just watch the girls walking by. See how many you think are "stand-up kids" and how many dress like sluts, gothic weirdos and witches. It's alarming!

  9. I never thought of Bratz dolls as sexy and neither did my daughter. We thought they were ugly but she had a LOT Of them at one time. It hasn't made my daughter slutty in any way. I think sometimes people take things a bit too seriously.

  10. Surely there are many reasons which lead mothers to buy trashy toys for their kids (and that goes for their sons as well as their daughters). Often, it seems to me, the reason is lazy parenting. It's much easier to give in to their child's wants than to stand firm and deny them what they think they need.

    Every time I'm in a store that sells toys, I see mothers relenting and buying their kids lousy toys because the kids are having tantrums and it's easier to give in to them than to stand firm.

    This seems to be the biggest problem we face as a society - the idea that it's easier to just give in and go with the flow rather than stand firm and say NO! It's time to take back our power and to say NO! and stick to it, whether we're talking about inappropriate toys or disgusting advertisements or lying politicians.

    Anonymous Patriot

  11. My daughter was never allowed to have the Bratz dolls either. It got to be a joke with us. She'd invariably pick up the doll in the store and go "moooooommmm...." then giggle and put it back. I explained that if she were to EVER dress like a Bratz doll she'd be grounded for life - and that's why we don't support them or the company that produces them.

    Gee, guess what? Denying her access to inappropriate toys and clothes didn't scar her for life or anything. She's a well adjusted 10 year old who loves history, her trumpet and playing soccer.

    Becky (not the troll)

  12. This is an issue that few people we know understand or even care about. Oh, the flak we got from "friends" and family when we wouldn't let our daughters have barbie dolls......

    It's encouraging to read articles and comments from those who GET IT. Our daughters watch and listen to us for examples If our example tells them that compromise on toys is okay because grandma bought it, then how much easier will it be for that daughter to compromise on bigger issues when she is a bit older?

  13. Anonymous 4:22 I know what you're saying. I know all too well, in fact. But I have to stick by my assertion that the stand-up kids well outnumber the ones you're describing. This is so in my part of the world, and since it's a blue state I figure it's likely to be truer in red states where values run more conservatively.

    I know there are numerous urban areas where there are concentrations of certain elements like the ones you describe, and I don't mean to minimize the problems this presents. There's too much of it. It's not good when it's gotten to the point of anarchy, as we've see in Seattle and out-right riots like we saw in L.A.

    These are seriously dysfunctional days we're in, but I'm confident in the good of most of America's young people.

    A. McSp

    young people.

  14. They're just like Lady GaGross dolls.

  15. "New concerns over the body image and lifestyle the Bratz dolls allegedly promote were raised by the American Psychological Association when they established their "Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls" in February 2007. In their published report, they cited concern over the adult-like sexuality the Bratz dolls allegedly portray."

    "'Bratz dolls come dressed in sexualized clothing such as miniskirts, fishnet stockings, and feather boas. Although these dolls may present no more sexualization of girls or women than is seen in MTV videos, it is worrisome when dolls designed specifically for 4- to 8-year-olds are associated with an objectified adult sexuality.'"

    – APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls, Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls

    Source: wikipedia

    I also have a problem with the short shorts girls are wearing that have words printed on the bottoms. I told Wifey "So, those were designed to make us 'read' the butts of design?" No Bratz dolls or logo butts in our house. Period.

  16. We don't allow them either. My MIL bought them for my girls one Christmas. My oldest daughter (5 at the time) yelled, " Mama, why did Grandma buy us these dolls we can't play with!"

  17. This may seem harsh, but political correctness isn't what I'm going for here. I think the reason that parents continue to buy this trash for their children is because they are trash themselves. Any mother who would think that a Bratz doll is appropriate is likely half witted in the first place. These parents buy children these horrid dolls for the same reason they dress them in horrid clothing. They have no self respect. They are too stupid to realize that they are setting up their children for molestation, heartache, and a world of other troubles throughout the rest of their lives. It is sickening.
    This country has fallen to a set of standards that are absolutely incredulous when it comes to what we market to children, and quite frankly, it makes me want to puke.
    Another part of the problem is that people aren't standing up and telling these parents that they are trash for buying this junk because they don't want to be called *politically incorrect* or *cruel*.......People don't stand up to these companies and boycott in large numbers because it is easier to turn a blind eye. So sad, but so true unfortunately. Thanks for letting me rant!--S

  18. I believe with all my heart that this Bratz doll craze is just a small part of the modern left's comprehensive effort to "slut up" our little girls and that this effort is for no other reason than to boost the abortion market and to create a class of people dependent on government support. We the people must show more courage and more outrage than we ever have before against this assault on our daughters before we lose another generation of girls to the liberal machine.

  19. A few years ago I was attempting to buy clothing as a gift for a 4 year old little girl and found out that things had change since my own children were little. The stuff on the clothing racks looked like it was meant for a street walking hooker. Who dresses a preschooler in clothes like that?

    I haven't been in the toy isle in years and can only guess how bad that area has become. Thankfully Bratz dolls are something I've never seen and don't care to either. I now have a grandson and most of the gifts I have bought for him have been books I remember reading to his mom and her brothers when they were little. His favorite right now is, "Cars and Trucks and things that go", by Richard Scarry. From what I've noticed most toys have way too much plastic and many seem to be electronic. More plastic is something I'd rather not seen added to the landfill in a few years. I'd rather be remembered as the Granny that always gave books.

  20. What people have to understand about these dolls is that to a young girl they don't see it and go 'Oh, I love that short skirt, I want to dress like that one day.' What they see is something that they can have fun with, play some games with their sisters or friends. In my opinion, yes the clothes are getting worse and worse, but the kid sees through that. Instead of ranting about their horrible outfits, make some of your own. One thing I always loved about my dolls wasn't dressing them in the clothes they came with, it was making something. More times than not, when a girl gets to the age that she understands how the dolls are actually dressed, she will be dressing them in the boys' pants and sweatshirts instead anyways.

  21. hontestly i was a totall fan of barbie products but when bratz came out i instantly fell in love with im just saying that i started at an older age and people dont uynderstand until its from a kids point of view. i feel as if peoplething there sluts and trashy becuase they have short skirts, there called fashion dolls for a reason they are not to be played or tamperd with. unless you have a doll head. yes they have big heads, alot of makeup, and short clothes but they are not to teach a lesson. they are to show off style..............DONT JUDJE BRATZ UNLESS YOU HAVE EVER HAD ONE

    1. I tried reading your comment but due to spelling and lack of punctuation, whatever thought you were trying to get across was completely lost. Perhaps an English translator would be appreciated?

  22. you taught your kids that women who wear make-up and "revealing" clothes are evil? Great parenting.

    1. Stop focusing on just the objects of make-up and clothes and take a bigger-picture look at the mentalities that go with bringing too much attention to yourself.

      First of all, many of the styles being aimed at girls today are aimed at younger and younger age groups. There's no good reason why a teenager, a "tween", and now even elementary aged girls need to look like and act like sex objects.

      You're the same person that commented about feminism and I asked whether or not you adhere to authentic feminism or radical feminism. A true feminist of the authentic type would want to keep her body concealed so as to not distract from her many other gifts and talents... forcing a man to look at her more for who she is, not what she looks like and leaving his mind to fantasize about what she's like in bed. No, he's going to love her for who she is, and if he's a respectable guy, he'll appreciate the respect she has for herself.

      Those that think like us don't think it's great parenting to allow our children to traverse the gray area that leads to looking like a under-aged prostitute. We hold our children in high regard and we want others to treat them that way as well. The poor parenting position would be the one that sends a message to our children that their looks take priority over other things. What ever happened to getting to know the person within, not just what's on the outside?

    2. A true feminist appreciates the right of other women to wear whatever they feel comfortable in. The fact that a man (and this does not apply to all men) cannot control his lust is his problem, not mine. Why don't we teach men to respect women rather than teaching women to cover up? I agree that Bratz dolls are distastefully sexualised and would not buy them for a child but using them to act as the "bad guys" is a bit much.

    3. Respect is not a word or act that can be applied to a woman who refuses to cover her girly parts. It cannot be taught, it has to be earned. How many pictures of Margaret Thatcher show her with exposed cleavage, bottom cheeks hanging out of shorts, and tons of eyeliner, lipstick, etc. None of those types of pictures exist. And she was respected world wide by many men. Just one example.

    4. What is so offensive about cleavage? I don't think I should apologise for having breasts. Margaret Thatcher is a very poor example. People idolise her as a great leader, forgetting the fact that under her nobody has any jobs, social mobility was much more difficult, the situation in Northern Ireland only got worse and she sent people to die in wars that the general public felt were pointless.

    5. Heidi, you said "A true feminist appreciates the right of other women to wear whatever they feel comfortable in."

      So a true feminist, by your statement, would support a woman that wants to go shopping in a G-string if that's what SHE feels is comfortable? How about a G-String just about anywhere else for that matter? And is it a man's fault if he sees THAT much flesh exposed?

      Again, if she doesn't respect herself enough to cover up, how could she possibly expect others to respect her? That's like saying we should all respect porn stars because, hey, that's what they're comfortable doing. NO!!!

      Know this... one good test of whether something is good or bad is to take a scenario to an extreme and see how that measures up. On one side of the spectrum, we have the porn star example. On the other side, we have the conservatively dressed woman. Which of the two is going to garner more respect and cause less trouble? Which would you want around your children? Your husband?

      This doesn't mean that people have to go to extreme conservative sides, but for those that do, there's no problem with that. We aren't going to see the moral decline of our county increase due to conservatively-dressed people and in fact, might even slow things down a bit if widespread enough. But a society that lets it "all hang out" is just making a bad moral society worse.

    6. I don't see what respect has to do with outward appearances? True respect is about appreciating the person's intelligence, kindness, integrity and a variety of other qualities found in women of any dress sense. I am not the greatest fan of the porn industry but I have no personal disrespect for the individual women involved in it. I don't see how this promotes moral decay, it's such a very trivial issue after all. Personally I'd feel too self conscious if I wore "revealing" clothing but it absolutely doesn't affect of worry me if I see a bit of leg or cleavage. It's strange that female bodies are supposed to be so obscene wheras the male body is relatively inoffensive.