Friday, December 08, 2006

Isn't there a better name for this?

As a parent, I've been slow to declare a prohibition on toys of just about any stripe. When I was a kid, the only toy denied me was the G.I. Joe "action figure" -- because our family was Mennonite (i.e., pacifist) and G.I. Joe was, you know, General Infantry (although whose army allows their infantrymen to look like this? No matter: I've let go of all the bitterness and disappointment. Really, I have).

Having said that, my wife and I adamantly refuse to buy, or allow our daughters to buy, Bratz. Honestly, why didn't the marketers just cut to the chase and call their demon-spawn Slutz? Do the guys who dream these things up even have daughters? Or did they sacrifice them as babies before a glittering Maserati?

Anyhow, it's nice to know I'm not alone in my abhorrence. (h/t to Michael Blowhard)


paul bowman said...

Curious whether the Bratz line is of much interest among your daughters' friend/peer set? Is it something you're having to discuss with them, or no?

DarkoV said...

Hmmm, WP, After looking at the Bratz site, I'm wondering if the market for these dolls wasn't the same demogrpahy as the folks who frequently visit the massage/strip/sx clubs?
You know, wink-wink, nod-nod that the dolls are aimed at young girls so that the patrons of the aforementioned establishments dont; feel embarassed when they buy out the store of this plastic dreck.

These dolls even give the word "Wenches" a bad name.

Whisky Prajer said...

pb - there was a momentary flash of interest about a year and a half ago. We explained our rationale to the girls and silently braced ourselves for negotiations. To our surprise, the girls didn't bother trying to brook negotiations, so putting our foot down was surprisingly easy.

The girls have Barbies, and they play with them from time to time. But the younger one is fond of cute animals (Littlest Pet Shop is a big hit) and the older one favours Disney figurines, or Star Wars Lego. It seems to me kids either play scenarios ("Let's go dancing!") or stories ("Oh no - Jafar stole the magic ring!!"). Both girls belong to the latter camp, for which I'm grateful.

DV - the December 4 New Yorker had a lengthy and disturbing article exploring the Bratz phenomenon (not on-line, alas). Here's the passage that leapt out at me: "What Bratz dolls are both contributing to and feeding on is a culture in which girls play a being "sasy" - the toy industry's favored euphemism for sexy - and discard tradtional toys at a younger age. (Girls seem to be growing out of toys earlier than boys are, industry analysts say.) Toy marketers now invoke a phonomenon called K.G.O.Y. - Kids Getting Older Younger - and talk about it as though it were a fact of modern life over which they have no control, rather than one which they have largely created." Bingo. I think a little control over which toys get prestige treatment in the house can go quite some distance in keeping a child happy longer.

Trent Reimer said...

Glad to see your addressing this on the home front and I can only assume you have more influence than the peers when Star Wars Lego is at the top of the toy list.

Asking marketers to have a conscience may be a battle worth fighting but there is always someone willing to take the role of "pusher" if it will get them the sales. Remarkable how many shady business people go on to become celebrated philanthropists.

ジョエル said...

Wow, that article was disturbing. Maybe I shouldn't be stocking those toys.

Scott said...

IMHO Time!

Since I'm the big-city gay man who happily cheers on the pervert forces that keep James Dobson in a constant state of horror, you might be intrigued and/or heartened to know that I find those Bratz dolls utterly despicable.

I've always insisted on giving teenagers the knowledge, confidence and freedom to make the best sexual choices they possibly can -- and that sure as hell ain't gonna happen when they've primed to go at it since the age of six! Those toys are completely disgusting.

I did giggle at the 'Maserati sacrifices' though! :)

Whisky Prajer said...

scott - "completely disgusting"? Somebody's angling for a Christmas hug!