When I was a kid, my mom did not let me play with Barbie dolls because they presented an impossible standard of beauty. I didn't care that much for dolls, but I loved playing dress-up and did resent the Barbie sanctions. My daughter will play with Barbie if she wants.
A couple of years back, I encountered the Bratz dolls. These little 10" fabrications of feminine ideal are just about the sluttiest thing for ages three and up. Bratz dolls make the anorexic Barbie (a 5'9" Barbie in real measurements would have a 36" chest, 18 waist and 33" hips) look wholesome. No way would a child of mine be playing with these belly-baring, poof-lipped, pubescent prettygirls that truly belong in the virtual reality section of an Adult DVD store.
Bratz came about in 2001. That wasn’t long after Brittany Spears declared she was saving herself 'til marriage, even though she wanted someone to hit her "Baby, One More Time." The Spice Girls were peaked and already broken up by the time the Bratz got packaged, so the dolls were not breaking new ground.
The Bratz dolls were for little girls, and therefore lingered longer. I would not be able to stop my kid from seeing these and wanting their hyper-sexualized glamour as they stood in plastic-packaged splendor in the toy aisle of everywhere. They are in the zeigiest. Pandora was here and the box is open.
Now I see new hope.
Turns out, Carter Bryant, the creator of Bratz, was working for Mattel when he sold the idea of Bratz to MGA Entertainment. Since he was on their payroll, Mattel had the rights to his ideas. The lawyers began their work.
I don't know if Mr. Bryant brought his teenage slut fantasy doll up for consideration to his then-employer Mattel. They already had been making and selling Barbie for more than 40 years. Perhaps they had more shame than MGA proved to have.
Either way, the courts say Mattel owns Bratz now. It's a business, after all. The Wall Street Journal said, "Mattel Inc. faces a big question in the wake of a federal judge's order handing it control of MGA Entertainment Inc.'s popular Bratz dolls: Are the Bratz worth more to Mattel dead or alive?"
Can we hope for dead? The times have changed. Brittany Spears long ago lost her schoolgirl allure. And isn't it a common rule of thumb that hemlines rise and fall with the economy? Let these barely-clad Bratz recede into history already.
Please Mattel, let the Bratz die. Barbie can handle the future.