Why My Cousin Wants A Vinyl Whore, I Mean Bratz Doll for Christmas…

1 Dec

I would say I’m a very tolerant person. I’ve worked in retail and food service industries for years, so I know a little something about tolerance (in the least, how to prevent myself from committing a public murder). Although I’m nowhere near motherhood, I do, on occasion watch my younger cousin while my Aunt goes to school. Now I’m not a big fan of Christmas itself, but I do enjoy the feeling of it, and how it restores my hope in humanity, even if it’s just temporary. So off we went to Target so I could get some decorations for my first year living in my new home with my boyfriend. But of course, it wouldn’t be strategic marketing if you didn’t have to walk passed the toy/electronic department in order to get to the seasonal isles. We were almost there. I could see the lights poking through the artificial trees, and glittered ornaments scintillating against the stained yellow flooring.

I was walking briskly out of excitement when I noticed I didn’t hear a matching set of foot steps. I looked behind me and realized my ten-year old cousin had become hypnotized by a vinyl, butter-faced whore.

Image

“Sadie you scared me,” I said. “Don’t stray.”

“But look! I want this! Call Mom!”

I lifted the box like it was a severed head and just kind of stared at it in awe for a minute. A bobble-headed, scantily dressed, clown-faced thing retaliated with a snobby facial expression. “Ugh, you’re one of them,” I lamented. I really do not like Bratz dolls. I immediately remembered working at a toy store during college. We had gotten a shipment of Bratz, but they were naked, dismembered, and had no faces. Clearly an error on the factory end but still, it looked like a modern day holocaust.

I find Barbie (yes, in all her skewed proportions) a tame alternative to Bratz. For all her care-free hair flipping and high heel wearing, she at least always had a job of some kind. Whether she was working in McDonald’s, being a veterinarian, or training to be a gymnast, she always had professional interests, skills, and hobbies. Bratz, in comparison, look like bitchy teenagers with trust funds, whose only duty to themselves is to detangle their weaves and shop till they drop (or at least the weight distribution of bags outweighs their freakishly large heads and causes them to fall to their death down an escalator).

I think it’s important for young women to realize that when you look good (by your own standards) you feel good. And that confidence in oneself is inherently needed to do well in life. However, I may be digging into these dolls too deep, but my problem is they are too unrealistic for me and I fear they present an unattainable image for girls who are already bombarded with negative media towards body image. Bratz have no personal complexity. Barbie is versatile and constantly evolving. She can be both a princess and a firefighter, getting a spa treatment and learning science. Her many incarnations, which were no doubt a marketing gimmick, still showed girls that the same woman who wanted to be a Olympic swimmer could also be a professional dog groomer or even a doctor — that predilections and hobbies were not confined by persona. Bratz dolls don’t really change much besides their sparkly mini skirt.

While both dolls still depict distorted versions femininity and womanhood, Barbie is now the lesser evil by contemporary standards.

I’m not against getting beautified and slutting it up for a night at the club, but these things should come with age. I’m 23, and able to make decisions with realizing the possible outcomes. My tween cousin? She may find Bratz dolls admirable, but has no real clue as to the damages of being 1. self absorbed 2. dressing too mature for her age 3. adopting a different persona than her own because she thinks it’s what society expects of her.

Anyway, I did buy it for her, but when we got home I showed her how to dress the doll so that she accentuates her personality without being practically naked.

“But I saw a picture on your Facebook where you were wearing a really short skirt and kissing Caitlin. Isn’t she your best friend?”

Oh boy, this is a toughie….it could have been explained more rationally if the Bratz came with a 6-pack of bud light…future marketing campaign?

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