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Knocked Up Dolls

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Has Ken been naughty?
Pregnant Midge may be flying out of Canadian stores, but she’s a bit racy for some Americans

Saturday, February 8, 2003 – Print Edition, Page F4

Long-haired Midge looks young, cute and pregnant, and that’s precisely why the $30 doll, who is Barbie’s oldest friend, caused a storm of complaints in the United States. As a result, U.S. Wal-Mart stores pulled her off the shelves.

How dare the doll manufacturer, Mattel, create the impression through pregnant Midge that it condones premarital sex by teenagers. That was the drift of the complaints.

And yet, in Canada, the same doll, who in fact wears a wedding ring and is promoted on the package as being married, not to Ken though, has not caused the slightest ripple of protest, according to Mattel and major retailers here.

Indeed, the publicity about protests to pregnant Midge seems to have helped sales, retailers say. So why are we so different in Canada?

“It’s a different culture,” says Dan Ewing, manager of sales for promotion for Zellers Inc., one of the country’s largest toy retailers. “In the U.S., they tend to be more inclined to censorship.”

U.S. retailers tend to yank CDs with racy covers off their shelves more often south of the border than here, for example, he says. “Canada is more of a liberal place than the U.S. We’re more accepting,” Mr. Ewing says.

This reminds me of the joke, A little girl is shopping for Barbies, and she says she wants a GI Joe too, because Barbie comes with GI Joe, her mother says “No, Barbie comes with Ken”. The little girl says, “Barbie just fakes it with Ken, she comes with GI Joe”.

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