Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Don't Get Me Wrong...

I adore Target, but I was disgusted with the Sunday sales flyer.

This is one of the new "Bratz Babyz." If you don't have kids maybe you are not familiar with the line of dolls called "Bratz." They've been around for a few years. And now there is a new line of "babies." I don't think I could possibly list all the things that I find despicable about Bratz. But, I'll give you a few.

Of course, a disclaimer: If you daughter loves Bratz, fine. I'm not talking about "you" specifically. This is just how I feel about what kinds of toy we buy and the things we hope to teach our daughter. (I'm speaking for my husband here too. I think he'll agree.)

So, first: The name. There is nothing nice about a brat. It's about the most undesirable quality I would want in a daughter. A brat is selfish and annoying. She doesn't care about others people's feelings. Sensationalizing this quality and jazzing it up with a hip misspelling sends a terrible message.

The Bratz look. They've caked on the makeup and the eyeliner within an inch of hooker. And the lips are redredred and so pouty that you can just imagine the kind of sass that would come out of that mouth. They wear skimpy belly-baring tops and ridiculous accessories. Don't even try to tell me this is not about sexuality. Not for my six-year old, thank you very much.

I'm not a prude. I'm not a conservative. In fact, I'm a big liberal... but where is the balance? And I'm certainly not perfect. My kids probably watch too much tv. I lose my patience too often and I sometimes ignore my kids when I'm writing or reading blogs. (Like right now.) But, I'm clear about Bratz. No go.

And what do these Bratz like to do? From what I can tell from the commercials and a quick visit to their website (which I will not link here), they like the SHOP!!! Well, hey, I like to shop too. But I think it's terrible to sensationalize materialism and frivolous spending.

So now there are Bratz Babyz with all these same gimmicky qualities. And the one in the Target ad is riding a motorcycle! Don't even get me started on the fact that she's not wearing a helmet.

It really makes me sad. The fact that my daughter doesn't seem to be interested in them -- or the high heeled, fake leather boots with the cheetah skin trim that you can get in the kids' department -- makes me happy.

Excuse me while I go play Uno with the kids. Then read some books and kiss them good night.


gabrielle said...

Deborah, one of my grandaughters emaled me her Christmas list..isn't that cute? Every single item was a Bratz something. I am having to decide whether I will condone these items and succumb to her wishes. They are just too much for me also.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. Like Gabrielle I also have a granddaughter who wanted Bratz things for Christmas - no chance, not from this Nana.

Terry Grant said...

Ick. Having grown children and no grandchildren yet, I hadn't seen these things. I thought Barbies were questionable (though I did eventually cave and let my daughter have one) but these are nasty.

Anonymous said...

I love you, deborah.....what am I going to do when you're gone!!! kathy

mary m. said...

I agree with you Deborah. I didn't let Barbies into the house when KC was little...primarily because they were too passive and too into lookism. Luckily, she liked the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. At least they were proactive about life and DID something, even if it was kinda violent.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who reads my daughter's blog knows where we stand on this!! No Bratz, no Barbies, no garbage!

Karoda said...

Being a "big liberal" doesn't equate to poor taste and poor consumerism and accepting images that promote misogyny...no need to explain, I feel ya!

Elle said...

I'll admit that I loved Barbies as a kid, but I do not like Bratz. It's just something so trashy about them to me and the fully made up "Baby" versions are even more "What?!" to me. What kind of images are we putting out there for young girls?

Lisa Call said...

Okay - I'll bite. (and hopefully not regret it - but the outspoken part wins sometimes...)

I played with barbies as a kid. I played this great shopping game where poor barbie had no money and then some how (can't recall the magic now) she got rich and could go shopping and buy all sorts of fabulous clothes and model them. And then marry Ken. And that was all there was to Barbie's lovely life.

I grew up into an outspoken feminist, don't own makeup, hate to go shopping, have a very strong sense of self, went to college and 4 years of grad school, have a good high-tech career (where women are a still minority), and am often told I'm a "role model" for being a strong female.

I'm thinking I did okay for someone subjected to such a damaging toy. I had good parents.

So yes - when my daughter wanted bratz I bought them for her, even the motorcycle (it lights up!!). And I played with them with her occasionally. Best part is their feet come off - kinda clever - way better than losing Barbie's tiny shoes.

In the end I truly believe that my values will have significantly more impact in her life than a toy.

And I feel that showing her that I respect her and her choices even if they differ from mine is a very empowering message to send her.

Did you read the op-ed piece in the NYTimes the other day about digitally altering "Goodnight Moon" to remove a cigarette? I really liked it: Goodbye, Moon. [subscription required or use www.bugmenot.com to bypass that annoyance].

[She never really played with the bratz much and within a couple years outgrew them. I think a really great girl toy are the girl legos - they are pink and probably totally politically incorrect - but check them out on the lego.com website - you can't buy them in the store. Search for the Belville theme. Totally cool stuff that girls love like mermaids and horses.]

Joanne S said...

So Deborah, now tell us what you REALLY think!!!!

My daughter had Barbie and tons of the glittery prom dress outfits. Barb dated Stretch Armstrong and GI Joe from my son's toybox. Daughter has a brown belt in karate and the son is a good cook. Go figure. It's not the toys. It's the imagination that is used with the toys.

Anonymous said...

BRATZ...those are absolutely AWFUL! Emily likes them, but I don't buy them. And, I don't let her buy them for other girls' parties, either. I would NEVER let her leave the house at age 7 with her belly button showing, and that's the kind of clothes they make for little girls now! The whole thing makes me sick. Good for you! Lucy in Germany

Balwearie said...

Hmmmm.... I kinda (stress the kinda) agree with Lisa. I grew up with Barbie only I grew up in the Mod era with kewl outfits, not prom dresses. My Barbies rode horses, went camping and occasionally rafted on the goldfish pond. They had complicated relationships and there were good Barbies and bad Barbies. Most importantly, they weren't that picky about clothing and could easily handle wearing stuff made by a seven-year-old with a penchant for 1/2" long stitches. On the other hand, I don't think I could force myself to buy anyone a Bratz doll. They're ugly, narcissistic and materialistic and from what I can see, they're not particularly imaginative.