Bratz? Really?

I don’t get Bratz.  I don’t understand why people buy these dolls for their daughters.  Why would you want to idolize the epitome of what we don’t want our children to become?  Or am I the only one who doesn’t want her daughters to be spoiled brats in inappropriate outfits?

Barbies and Polly Pockets don’t bother me.  Does that make me a hypocrite?  Maybe.  My girls have a lot of both Barbies and Pollies.  That being said, we do not purchase all of the clothes and accessories that are available for these dolls.  If my girls want a house for their dolls, they have to build one out of Legos or shoe boxes or use the dollhouse that my parents built for me when I was 5.  I certainly don’t buy any of the outfits that look like they belong in a strip club…and believe me, I could if I wanted to!

When Abigail started 1st grade I was forced to accept that things aren’t the same now as they were when I was in 1st grade.  When I was seven I paid no attention whatsoever to what my friends were wearing.  Okay, that’s a lie.  I secretly coveted my best friend’s purple New Edition t-shirt.  But that’s it.  I had no idea about brands or fashions or the cost of clothes and neither did anyone else in my class.  It wasn’t an issue until I was in the 6th grade.  Even then it was forced on me by other girls in my school.  Looking back, it was wonderful to be truly innocent during elementary school.  I had plenty to occupy my mind just being a child.  Now stores are selling low rise jeans and skimpy panties for elementary aged girls.  Many stores don’t even offer “regular” children’s clothes.  It’s all just the junior department in tiny sizes.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not suggesting that children can’t be fashion forward or that they should wear smocked dresses or sweatpants every day.  I just don’t think they should be dressed like tiny adults.  I also don’t want my daughters to dress in an overtly sexual way at age 16 much less at age 8.  Am I the only one who thinks that these trends are sending the wrong messages?  Then there are the moms who try to hold on to their youth by dressing like 18 year olds.  As my favorite duo, Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear say, “18 year olds always win!”  But I digress….

I don’t think parents realize what they are setting themselves up for.  Little girls should have the chance to be little girls.  There is no reason to make age 13 come any quicker than it already does.  It will come fast enough!

My mother-in-law gave me a great book for Christmas about raising girls in the current era of advertising.  I will admit that I haven’t finished the book but what I have read so far intrigues me.  As parents in 2009, we face a whole new set of challenges that didn’t even exist when we were children.  There are entire marketing campaigns targeting young children.  If you’ve ever watched Saturday morning cartoons (there aren’t that many to choose from these days!) with your children, you have probably noticed that the majority of the air time is dominated by commercials.  Commercials for crap.  “All you ever wanted in its own storage tub for $19.99!  Call now and we’ll double your order!”  Great.  Double crap.  Fabulous!!

I know I’ve written a lot lately about my ideals of raising children – girls in particular.  Please do not get the wrong idea.  I am merely expressing my thoughts.  I am not going to judge you if you don’t agree with me.  This is my opinion, nothing more.  I am not a nominee for mother-of-the-year and I never will be.  I make a lot of mistakes.  We all do.  But it’s my job to give my children the best chance to succeed in life.  And I don’t think missing the Bratz boat will hurt them one little bit!

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2 Responses to “Bratz? Really?”

  1. Alessandra Says:

    Hi I am Araya1, I lead a Media Literacy workshop for teen girls in order to battle premature sexualization by gaining tools to be critics of this increasingly sexualized environment, and not be absorbers of it. I am so happy to hear your conerns- I agree with you. I wonder how many other mothers are concerned. And how many are doing something about it?

    The American Psychological Association agrees with us. Below is their quote:
    ‘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[8]

    Mattel has taken over Bratz I wonder if they will keep on selling them or stop the line. MGA who lost a case against Mattel is launching another line of dolls called Moxie Girlz- they are a little better. I wonder what you think of them.

    What book are you reading on parenting in this age? I read Jean Kilbourne’s ‘So Sexy, So Soon’ the facts were alarming but the suggetsions for parenting were great. The main point I got out of it was to talk with your kids, constantly, as things pop up (such as a blatantly sexy billboard) and talk about its innapropriateness. Also to monitor ‘screen time’ whether TV, internet etc. And doing what you are already doing; having them play with legos- things that require creativity.

    Thank you for your post!

  2. Anna Kate Says:

    Wow! I can’t believe that there is actual research to back me up. I feel vindicated! The book I am reading is “Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers’ Schemes” by Sharon Lamb and Lyn Mikel Brown. Thank you so much for your comments!!

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