Dear Mattel, I’m Seething

Dear Mattel,

Ask me how upset I am that my Saturday began with my bright and beautiful six year old bounding into my bed, saying she wanted to put on all of her make up so that she could look like a Monster High doll. Ask me how upset I am that try as aggressively as I might, you have snuck into my home like a pestilence. Me, an expert in the field, has a daughter ravenous for your awful Monster High and Barbie dolls, because she says they look “so cool”. I think your dolls are twisted and sick.

Today our family is traveling up to Madison to see my daughter’s art displayed for a state contest. We are then going to go to a bookstore and let each of our children pick out a new book. A day meant to celebrate creativity and bright minds began with an explanation as to why your sexualized and unrealisitic dolls are not the look our family strives for, all the while I try not to use the words “street walker” and “stripper”. My God people, these are toys for children. Children.

I had to explain how companies like yours are more interested in making money than making happy hearts in kids. I had to explain that real women who wear such small and tight clothing are usually more concerned about how their body looks to other people than how their thoughts and ideas sound. I told her our family is focused on bright minds and healthy bodies and happy hearts.

But my word do you make my job so, so hard. You make me tap dance around the topic that your dolls are dressed like women who sell their bodies for sex, often to men who offer zero respect to the human being that lives inside. My husband cannot even talk to his little girl about this, because his voice catches in his throat, knowing how awful the world is to its girls. He also knows the thousands of girls who aren’t having this conversation with her parents, and it scares him.

It took me 14 months to become pregnant with this child, 20 hours to birth her, and six years, one month, ten days and one hour to bring her up as the vibrant, creative, intelligent, wild, kind, and imaginative beautiful being she is today. I take the job of being a mama very seriously, and this morning the bear inside was stirred. Actually, it was kicked in the face. It is never wise to be in the space between a mother and her child. Not this mother. Not this child.

Before, when I spoke about your products, I did so as sort of a far-off and removed concept that might someday touch my child. Today, I am speaking from a place of deep anger because you have reached her. Today, more than ever, I am dedicated to making change. Serious change. Today it became personal. Today, the gloves came off. It is never wise to be in the space between a mother and her child.

Seething,
Melissa Atkins Wardy

Mattel Monster High dolls.

 

Amelia with her Go Go Sports Girl doll.

Comments

  1. Word. It’s a whole new ballgame now. Well said.

    • Pure and simple, the Monster High line needs buried. Mattel is NOT listening to parenting pushback/psychological pros (APA study and beyond) when these freakin zombies keep rising from the dead to seep toxic cues onto kids. Sexualization and appearance over substance has quantifiable costly damage to kids self-worth

      Now maybe folks can see why I hit the roof when I heard Mattel had cut a deal with my beloved Playworks ‘save recess/get kids moving’ pals as all I could think of was ‘omg, that $2mill deal could open up backdoor branding big time’—what if they nudge in Monster High under the guise of the ‘kindness campaign’ bit again?” Truly evil and subversive.

      (fwiw, I phoned Playworks pronto asking about whether the Mattel brand name would be associated at all w/their program in schools or if it would be ‘white label’ entry ..I followed with a stern/strident “We are ALL watching you and counting on you not to fail us” warning; I was told it’s all ‘new’ and TBD…

      Clearly THIS is the kind of influence/under the radar insurgency of corp marketing polluting kids that makes parents in the trenches go ape. It makes us feel like we keep getting lobbed sidewinders in the warfare for the hearts and minds of our children. It’s one thing to get backing for sustainability to get kids playing (and even use outdoor ‘gear’) but it’s another to subversively bring the Mattel brand into the play yard of institutions at any level…So I for one will be watching veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery closely as I feel Mattel has proved themselves to represent profiteering over constructive play, with a very broken ethical compass.

      And yes, Lisa, it’s a whole new ballgame. We need you back on the mound to help pitch some fastballs! First team needs a rest w/player fatigue; tho thanks to Melissa’s tenacity and several other all-stars, we’re getting some unstoppable traction…Time to truly create “A League of our Own” and teach corporations how to ‘play fair’ even if it means we have to play hard ball to get their attention. I’m in.

      • I’m in. And remember, there’s no crying in baseball. Time for hardball.

      • emeralda says:

        i for one am very happy and see the monster high doll series as a win for all of the “wierd kids” as a child i loved fantasy and had a great imagination. I loved monsters and more goth fashion and to see what i was ostracized for then and what some kids were beaten for and turtured and picked on for as popular now is very comforting. i feel sorry you and many others are so closed minded and i pray for you thet u dont make your kids feel like wierdos and stupid for having thier own minds and opinions.

        • Emeralda- I hear ya. I like the concept of monster high dolls. My daughter wants them in the worst way & finally got one from a relative… they’re cool… but why in hades can’t their clothing *cover their butts!* With one she could play with she became frustrated by the “clothing” right off.
          I regret some of the toys I’ve allowed & tv shows… as I hear my 8 yr old tell me she is too chubby. At 8 she getting a appearance centered critical eye on herself… just wrong. Bad enough all the dolls look like toothpick thin big boobed things- now monster & brats dont have enough fabric to cover their rear ends

          • May I suggest Tim Burton (Coraline, Corpse Bride), Ruby Gloom, and Emily the Strange? All dark and creepy, no sexualization.

        • I for one, like the trembling few above love these dolls. They make a good thing happen for those of us who were bullied because we were not kicks and preps growing up. I grew up on Horror and for those who don’t want to play with Church Going Barbie, it is a refreshing change.

      • Why would Mattel or any brand owned by giant corporations, want to do anything except accelerate the materialism and self-dissatisfaction of children? It funnels them into an enormous profit-harvesting system, and once properly conditioned, they go willingly, and raise children already trained into materialism, consumerism, and body-loathing (with the idea that the solutions to all their suffering from that, is another wardrobe, another skincare line, another surgery and a landfill-load of accessories, accoutrements, and status symbols with logos splattered on them). The gravy train is endless, and the younger they get conditioned, the harder it will be to break out of it once they are older, just like smoking.

        The details of the fad are irrelevant, so long as it objectifies and normalizes self-objectification, and encourages low self-image with the solution of buying stuff, dangling tantalizingly low. Females being depicted as only interested in males for their status, determined by monetary advantage, keeps everyone, male and female, in mind of how even affection are commodities, and that anyone who doesn’t buy into the system properly, gets left behind.

        Why would they want to do anything to jeopardize the objectification and materialism of American kids? Of kids anywhere? Those kids become consumerist zombies, often for the rest of their lives.

        I fully expect they will eventually, if pressured hard enough, do something to make themselves look like they care about what we care about, so as to then sell more product, while subtly undermining any principles which stand in the way of kids learning that happiness is what you buy, and who you are is what you look like, and what you look like, must also be bought. They will whitewash if pressed hard enough, but make no mistake: corporations that sell objects people don’t need, must first sell to people that without those objects, they can’t be happy. Same with self-image. There’s no corporation out there, that WANTS our daughters to be happy just being themselves. There’s no money in that.

        And the parents who care, are completely outflanked and outnumbered by parents who are so materialistic and accustomed to objectification, that they themselves, see nothing harmful in that, for their own kids.

    • I had Barbies since age 12. I had no sisters. Nobody told me about Barbie. I knew it was just a toy of pure imagination and not reality. I am a straight married man that never expects females to be like a lifeless plastic mold. That is the fun of Barbie. It makes no sense to me that some plastic GI Joe that I played with would determine how I look or my career. I never was obsessed with huge muscles or joining the military. I have an inability to swim and a fear of great heights. The toys never reflected my reality. Barbie is just pure fantasy. I never judged my girlfriends nor wife on appearance. Inside counts more than the outside.

      • Not sure how old you are Freddie, but I’m assuming you came of age before the “Fashionista” line of Barbies. I too played with Barbies as a child in the late 70s/early 80s and loved the creative play they brought to my life. However, back then, the Barbie clothes I so loved to “trade” with my friends, actually covered her body. Today’s Barbie looks like a street walker, and that is why my girls do not have one.

        • I think it’s obvious what Freddie was trying to say here, and it has little to do with how Barbie used to dress versus how she is dressed now. Barbie has always, since her initial conceptualization, been a tall blonde with a skinny waist and amble breasts. It does NOT matter what doll it is nor what era they were conceived, and the same does go for GI Joe and, for example, Marvel superheroes. Do you really think that it is inappropriate for a boy to play with an ultra muscle man captain America doll because for some reason boys might grow up with a bad image of themselves? No. These dolls are seen as purely a thing to play with and only adults think something huge of it. If a child says they want to be a certain way then its probably due to some weak parenting methods. Do not blame your childs self estreem on anything but yourself since in the end its you who guides them and if they cannot play with something they like without it shattering their sense of self then something is really wrong here and it isn’t the doll. Confidence is not gained by what you play with, its the environment and people they grow up with. Their friends and family are what molds their character, not some fad that will be replaced by something else later on. I’m sick and tired of parents always pointing the blame elsewhere based on their own insecurities, usually of themselves. Quit the nonsense of trying to take everything away that is unique and fun in this world, or the next generation will be nothing but stuck up people who forgot to be themselves. Basically, its ridiculous to look so deeply into a fad, and all you’re doing is trying to ban things out of fear. Stop this madness, its a waste of life and energy.
          Thank you

          • Lee Ann –
            Taking a critical look at our children’s media, in this case toys, creates children who are “nothing but stuck up people who forgot to be themselves”? That is fascinating. I’d also like to hear more about these “weak parenting methods” you mention.

            Is the sexualization of girls, in this example through highly sexualized dolls dressed like street prostitutes a “fad”? Or has that been a market staple since the late 90’s? And yes, boys also have their body image affected when playing with physically disproportionate male dolls (action figures). There is quite a bit of research out there on these subjects and interestingly none of it revealed parents who are insecure about themselves, but rather focused on inappropriate media and the messages it carries into a child’s world.

  2. If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention. To everyone who thinks “what’s the big deal?” I’d explain it this way: we are raising a generation of girls who must one day become confident, happy, healthy young women. This is not the way to do it. My heart goes out to every young mother today battling this craptastic bill of goods being sold to little girls. If Melissa Atkins Wardy can’t keep it out of her home and her daughter’s life, think about how hard it is for the rest of the parents. Damn.

    • Well said, Lori. And same goes for yours truly w/ambient intake of tween/teen tripe (e.g. you don’t have to ‘watch’ to be Snookified with behavioral/RealityTV messaging, as Jenn points out in RealityBitesBackBook.com)

      Media/marketing producers need to connect the dots with ‘what they’re putting out there’ to begin with, otherwise we have a culture of ‘oops, I did it again’ starpower, selling toxic cues/crud and then recanting as they have kids when they finally ‘get it.’

      It’s akin to when gutter-mouthed 50cent shifted gears to sell his ‘bullying’ books and Vitamin Water. Hypocrisy and gall in a pop culture zeitgeist of short term $$ gain over long term impact on mental/physical health of human beings.

      Wish we had a ‘do no harm’ Socratic oath for those putting this stuff out into the universe. Or better yet, a ‘pay for harm’ fine to slap on these companies as an ‘outcome and measure’ pain point BEYOND just a consumer boycott/wallet whacking. grrr…Mama bear is riled today.

      • I’m so totally cynical. CSR means nothing. It’s all about the mighty buck. I think the ONLY way to fight this is to hit them where it hurts, and that’s in the wallet. So we HAVE to reach parents and get them to stop buying, and that is so hard to do because so many parents don’t see the issue, or don’t care, and it is just so hip to say, “Don’t you have something more important to worry about? Something better to do with your time?” These CEOs are often parents themselves. They psychologically distance themselves from their own behavior. Nothing will cut the cycle besides choking off the demand. And I also believe you can’t say “no” without providing the alternative “yes.” So if it’s “no Monster High” it’s “Yes, Go! Go! Sports dolls” or other products by responsible shops like Pigtail Pals, Princess Free Zone, etc. There actually IS wholesome stuff out there, but it tends to be hard to find and expensive, and it stays expensive until enough people “buy” into it and bring the price down. I just really don’t think these corps feel shame. We have to keep up the pressure in ways that hurt their bottom line. They’ll never do what’s “right” if it produces less revenue.

        • Well said. Though the corp shame DID work when Joe Kelly of Dads & Daughters talked man to man to corp execs (and media people!) in his tireless crusade w/CCFC against Hasbro & the Pussycat Dolls (stripper songstress type dolls for 6 yr olds) asking the execs to put their own daughter/granddaughter’s face in the ad/toy/campaign.

          In fact, I’m about to make a similar appeal to ad agency/AA execs (tho there are only a handful) to show and tell how the toxic ‘brands’ of certain personalities in the music sphere (misogynistic/DV perpetuation etc) are bringing down cultural “perception vs reality” of AA communities, doing MUCH more harm than good. Worth a shot.

          Gotta hit from all angles of mindshare as the proliferation and financing put parents at a disadvantage.

          It’s not even a ‘turn it off/don’t buy it’ issue anymore.

          Exposure is ambient and 24/7, polluting kids with ‘shoulds’ that shouldn’t be there. Lack of corporate ethics/accountability is a monstrous problem. Truly.

  3. Maybe I’m just in a mood today … but what if your child had bounded into your bed and announced that she wanted to put on all of her make up so she could look like her favorite super hero? Or a Butterfly? Or one of the fae?
    I understand your anger if this were something she wanted exclusively, but I have read enough of your posts to think you have a well balanced child, and is teaching her this, as an OPTION when SHE chooses, is bad, are you not skewing the balance the other way?
    I am female, and I in no means fit the traditional roles all the time. I don’t wear make up on a day to day basis, in the bush, on the range, etc. I rarely wear make up. I do wear it in situations when it is appropriate, including sometimes in “play” (cosplay or Tribal Style Bellydance, for example.)
    Are you telling me that when I choose to wear make up, that I am being swayed by mass media, as opposed to making a choice of my own free will? That I am not looking at the options I have available, and choosing the one that I feel like, the one that appeals to me, at the time? Does it make me a bad person?

    • Basinah –
      I literally just got done putting on my make up for our day out shopping, and came to check blog comments before we left for the day.

      This isn’t about make up. It is about sexualization.

      • I concur. Even if you took away the pounds of makeup these dolls wear, you are still left with streetwalker clothes and provocative poses. The dolls are marketed to Tweens, meaning girls under the age of 13. Does anyone truly want their 10 year olds emulating one of theses dolls? We do on watch monster high on tv, and my daughter knows that the toys will not grace the floors in our house. When she asked me why I told her plainly that they were not good role models. That and encouraging imaginative, confidence building play is the best I can do. Even then, the influence seeps in from commercials, school and agressive merchandising.

        Thank you for being a voice in the wilderness Mellissa. Your intelligent and on target arguments cause far reaching ripples. Keep throwing stones.

    • Yes, I think the issue is not the fact that she wanted to put on make up, but that she wanted make up so she could look like a Monster High Doll. If you noticed the picture of the dolls at the bottom of the post, this is NOT how a six-year-old (or any girl) should be looking. Butterflies and superheroes don’t really read “street walker” to me like those dolls do. Like Melissa said, it’s about sexualization.

  4. rose enyeart says:

    I have watched as little girls become more sexualized and it is distressing. Why would Mattel make such gross and demeaning looking “dolls or tarts” to sell to little girls. Girls are first off children who happen to be female. They are not miniature women who should look like tarts on the streets. Really Mattel get a grip. What is wrong with girls being children and treated as such. They will grow up and hopefully not be influenced to dress like those dolls/tarts and not buy your products. As a grandmother, I know I won’t.

  5. Charlotte Franchini says:

    its a toy… calm down….. and if u look deeper into it all the monster high girls are different monsters and they all get along the message is that no matter who or what you are we can all get along and be friends. i mean clawdeen(a wearw…olf) and draculaura(a vampire) are best friends and in myth vampires and wearwolves are mortal enemies. its not about setting how girls should look its saying to be yourself…. and its a freaking toy! its the same lady who made my little pony so calm down

  6. Charlotte Franchini says:

    and seriously its not like your girls are never gonna grow up so calm down i mean its not like they understand what sex is. look at like every single doll ever. baby dolls promote having babys and yet you still buy them for your daughters. barbies have been around forever and yet im sure u still buy them for your daughters. and any other dolls are still setting standards for how girls should look or act leaveing little to the imagination. im sure u buy your daughters fake makeup sets. put ur girls in gymnastics or ballet make them more flexible and are able to do other (more sexual) things. honestly this is a very sexual society. if you dont like some things dont get them for your kids but for those of us who see no problem with it leave us out of it because there is no point in you trying to control all kids lives. dont like it dont buy it its plain and simple. if the monster high series was made to sell sex they would show the girls in tube tops and booty shorts and they would be all up on all the boys in the school which they dont. if you think about it in actual high school its ALOT worse then the monster high series so calm down its just a toy

  7. Just don’t agree. I have a feminist Lego For Girls eschewing athletic daughter who also adores Monster High. She is being raised to our values of balances and critical thinking. Her older sister, who wants to be a chemical engineer, went through a Bratz phase. These dolls don’t exist in a vacuum. They can be enjoyed while still having healthy self image and feminist values. (In the 70’s I had Darcy, the Model, aka Darcy the Swinger). You can teach your child to evaluate her playthings and still allow her to enjoy them. My brother being told his vampire bat toy was twisted and sick made a far deeper negative impression on him than a more welcoming but evaluative discussion of his enjoyment would have.

    • Meoskop –
      You are correct, they do not exist in a vacuum. In fact, Monster High reinforces every single misogynist and sexualized gender stereotype your daughters are receiving in all the other media they take in during the day. Critical thinking skills or not, you allowed some of that to become normalized when you allowed those products into your home as toys because ultimately you said “This toy isn’t all that great and we need to desconstruct this quite a bit, but we’ll buy it anyway.”

      Media is a diet, so let’s compare it to food. I allow my kids sweet treats, but in moderation. So we enjoy cake, but we surely don’t eat cake every day. You’ve allowed your children to eat cake every day, even though you sit around the table and ask them to think critically about why it isn’t a good decision.

      Your girls sound like wonderful people. I’m just choosing to give my daughter what I consider to be a healthier media diet.

      • They are, and I’m not judging your choices. Just not sharing your view. If the cake analogy were to hold, cake would have to be the only thing I let them eat. And I don’t disapprove of the dolls in and of themselves so I didn’t buy them anyway, I bought them in addition to. They are part of a balanced diet of playthings. Maybe once a week she plays with them. I choose to use them to educate her instead of denying the world she and her peers operate in. Can she dress like that? No. She is not a Monster, she is a little girl.

        • I do not deny my daughter the world, I just choose to make my home a safe haven from sexualization. Just like racism or sexual abuse, toxic toys may be a part of the world my daughter’s peers operate in, but I certainly do not have to allow it into my home to educate my children.

  8. Ugh. We do not watch monster high. No more commenting from the iPad.

  9. I had no idea how terrible those dolls were. It’s just not good for our girls to want this look, what are we telling them? Great article. I have boys but these dolls are terrible.

  10. As a recently retired teacher, believe me when I tell you it is much worse than this. At the elementary level, girls are coming to school in short shorts, halter tops, and tight tight tops. Years ago the District recommended a uniform policy (which, by the way, makes a huge difference) but the principal is too intimidated by parents who actually have no objection to their daughters dressing in this fashion, and are absusively vocal about that. Have you seen South Park: Season 8 Episode 12? It’s worth the watch. All of us–regardless of politics, religion, age, ethnicity, or anything else need to be up in arms about this! Melissa, I will post your article on my facebook page, and encourage everyone to share, tweet, and repeat. As women, we do have a voice, and we are capable of having it be heard!

  11. Amy Gilliam says:

    You said it perfectly! Sexualizing children is NOT ok ever! Mattel has become part of a societal problem. Sure, they can’t fix it all, but they don’t have to keep being part of the dark side. (Who’s running a company that wants “sexy” little girls, anyway?!)

  12. Way to go Melissa. A lot of those ‘big boys’ are void of feelings or concern for anybody. As you said, the best way to fight is about the ONLY way to fight them …by aiming at their wallets. If you can persuade lots on mothers to listen to you, you WILL get their attention. You have my full support.

  13. You super strong minded women need to lay off the derogatory use of stripper as a former dancer I am offended. Hooker fine, porn star ok, but really you want to bash strippers who prefer to be called dancers btw, I danced out of choice but just fyi strippers don’t really dress like that, obviously haven’t been to a stipclub lately have ya? I have never and will never sell myself to anyone so please drop your bs, being a stripper isn’t that bad to be honest makes quite a bit of money and atleast I’m not a douchey soccer mom that cheats on my husband with some alky from the dumpy corner bar. I think if you want to make such a big statement offending strong women that could back you up you could just watch the terms you use to decribe undesirable women. Infact go yell at all the rich girls from the expensive schools that dress worse than strippers, and they do it in public.

    • Dancer –
      Calling a stripper a stripper is calling a spade a spade. You strip off your clothes until your naked, or nearly naked, body writhes around on stage while strange men stuff dollar bils in your g-string and between your breasts, selling the illusion of sex. I’ve been to strip clubs. A stripper is most definitely part of the sex trade. Please drop your bs by calling yourself a “dancer”.

      I want more for my daughter, and would be deeply disappointed in her if that is what she chose to do with her life.

      Maybe to you being a stripper isn’t all that bad. But it isn’t all that great.

  14. Here’s a radical idea – turn off the TV! My 6-1/2 and 5 year olds have no idea what Monster High is! They’ve seen the dolls in the store, and we agreed that they look “creepy” and like they don’t have very much respect for themselves. End of discussion.

    The TV is on in my house right now – but they’re watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Or we watch DVDs.

    If these arrive as a birthday gift in March or August, we will graciously thank the giver and then return them. I’ve managed this long without a single Bratz doll taking up residence in my home, and I’m confident I can keep out the monsters.

    • Amy –
      Your comment sounds very judgemental, specifically since you do not know my family. My children’s media is very closely monitored by my husband and I. They watch only one show that is not on PBS or Nick Jr, and therefore only take in a small handful of commercials each week. In general they do not spend a lot of time watching tv.

      My daughter’s desire for these dolls did not come from tv commercials, it came from exposure at school and while out shopping.

      • Ah, FINALLY the AMBIENT conversation. THANK you, Melissa.

        People need to understand that what manufacturers ‘put out there’ in the media and marketing universe is now ambient in its proliferation. It’s beyond dismissiveness in a ‘look the other way/don’t buy it’ stance—it’s everywhere.

        To me it’s like second-hand smoke. Should my child have lung cancer from pervasive exposure to unhealthy environs even though I choose not to smoke?

        Should children have to breathe in the polluted sphere of formulaic pop culture with its body image soul erosion and snarky/mean-spirited hyper-sexualized ‘dead Bratz’ imagery and vapid values?

        The only option consumers are entitled to is to ‘leave the building’ to get some air (getting harder to do with mega-bucks marketing proliferation) or to ‘deconstruct and desensitize’ with media literacy (tune out the crud with ‘why not to buy’ which in itself presents a judgmental conundrum, since lil’ Sally is bound to have peer posses playing w/MH)…when the larger question should be:

        Why isn’t the default for ‘clean air?’

        Why isn’t Mattel/Monster High put out on the stoop? Why should healthy kids be forced to leave play environs to eke out some fresh air away from cancer-causing agents of ‘secondhand smoke?’

        Why are we as parents undermined by cruddy ambient cues, essentially putting Non Smokers into a Smokers den…then asked to ‘do our jobs as parents’ by not letting them breathe in the fumes?

        Why are peer parents entitled to dismissively tell nonsmokers to ‘calm down’ and start the eyerolling and name-calling as ‘over-reactive’ when we’re just trying to find some freakin’ fresh air to breathe? It’s the ultimate ‘pass the ashtray’ peer perpetuation hipster moment and frankly, I’m sick of it. Instead, let’s ‘imagine’…(channeling Lennon here)

        Imagine if Mattel embraced healthier products w/the same fervor and financing imparting POSITIVE caring credos (eco/animals/ocean/whatevs) and amped ’em up with ‘coolness cache’…Imagine if we replaced toxic items like MH with healthier ones and ditched the coffin nails to try a “switch pitch” so children could breathe healthier air?

        It’s doable. Really it is. We shouldn’t need to live life with 21st century inhalers to filter; instead, let’s task corporations NOT to light up toxic media/marketing tripe in the first place. Accountability and a free market economy CAN go hand in hand.

  15. Becca Hoover says:

    When I read your letter I cried. I am from the generation that fought mightily in the ’60s and ’70s to change the image of women in the world. It upsets me mightily that it may all have been for nothing. Thank you for your work. Keep the pressure on!!!

    • Becca –
      I often wonder how the women of the Women’s Lib Movement during the 60-70’s view my generation of moms, the majority of whom are completely drinking the Kool Aid on all things pink and princess…and worse, not marching in the streets over the rampant sexualization of childhood. You ladies worked so, so hard back then, and I do feel like so much has been undone.

      If anything, I think it shows how far we came that my generation can take it for granted so much so that we allow the backwards slip.

  16. Wow, so much venom in this article… What ever happened to the old saying “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”???

    Get over it, they are selling a product and guess what?? You don’t have to buy it!!

    Kids are always going to see things we don’t want them to see and don’t always agree with. How do you think all the people that oppose gay marriage feel every time their child sees people of the same sex holding hands, etc???

    The price we pay for freedom is that there is a place for everything at our collective “table.” Some things we like, some we love and some we hate. Our job is parents is to explain and set an example for our kids to follow.

    Rather than spew aggressive rhetorict, how about just talking to yor daughter and choosing not to buy Mattell??

    • Well, really do you think from the tone of her letter that she lets things go UNSAID to her daughter? C’mon, the woman and the child are obviously bright enough to have conversations about it. The problem here is that we’ve let our culture demean women and girls to the point where a great deal of people think its ok or normal. And, yes to the ambient thing concept! I can only let my 4 yr old watch Curious George til the cows come home but in September she is going to Kindergarten and she will be exposed to all of it. The capitalism argument just does not hold any water here it is a question of social mores. So, it’s ok to sexualize little girls because someone somewhere is making a buck? Um, no. Yes, it IS my job to set an example for my child, talk things over, teach her. I know this and you bet Melissa knows this as well. It’s the constant barrage that we are not equipped to fight! And what happens when the OPP or my daughter or your daughter get to the age where they don’t value our opinions above all others? When their peers and friends suddenly take precedence? This fight is worth fighting and I, for one, am grateful for Melissa’s work.

    • I agree Dad, well said.
      Moogg

  17. Reading these comments, I am trying to understand why Melissa is getting backlash. She is fighting for your daughter – or, if you don’t have a daughter, your granddaughter, future daughter, and/or any other girls in your life. If you feel attacked by how she describes these dolls, that’s unfortunate, and I mean that. But do you know what? This really isn’t about you. It’s about young, impressionable girls who are still forming their identities and who should be concentrating on doing so in a non-sexual way until they are old enough to encounter sexuality in a positive, healthy way. It’s also about body image, imo, the same way that Barbie debates often are. I played with Barbie all the time growing up, and I’ve generally turned out alright… but I have also suffered body image issues for as long as I can remember. Is their a connection? Maybe not, but probably yes. So while I’m sure it’s true that most girls playing with Monster High dolls will “be fine in the end,” is it really fair for our society to throw these sorts of toys in their faces, and in doing so dig them into a deep hole and say, “You’ll be fine. All you have to do is climb out”? When I have a daughter I want her starting her life on even ground, not digging herself out of a messed-up identity society has created for her. Thanks, Melissa, for fighting for this.

    • Thank you, Richele. I will never stop fighting.

      I played with Barbies, too. But our childhood was so much different than it is today. It is MH + Barbie + Bratz + LIV Girls + Moxie Girls + sexualized clothing + tween make up + oppressive marketing + age-compressed tv shows + hypersexual pop music (and stars) +++++++ Everything for our girls tells them to focus on fashion, manufactured beauty, and attracting guys. It isn’t just one toy that needs to change, it is the entire culture of girlhood that needs fixing.

      • I absolutely agree. Also, although I’m not sure how much it matters, I was born in ’89, so I would guess I’m more of an intermediate between you and the girls of today (with regard to “our childhood”). Either way, very well put.

  18. I’m officially mystified. Who on Earth are these people who are disagreeing with the idea that these dolls are inappropriate? It’s like we’ve been invaded by consumers from Mars!

    Of course, I was mystified the first time I saw the MH dolls for sale in the grocery store. (Yes, GROCERY store — so every week, I get to walk my little girl past these abominations in order to buy food.)

    So, consumers from Mars, please ask yourself this: if you saw a woman (or worse, a teenage girl) dressed and posed like these dolls, standing by the side of the road, what would you think her profession would likely be? What do you think her view of herself, her body, and her personal autonomy would be like? And finally, would she be a role model for your daughter? (In anticipation of the “you’re being judgmental!” response, let me take a moment to say, YES, I’m being judgmental. That’s why we have brains — to, y’know, exercise judgment.)

    • I would hope that my daughter would understand that we do not judge people on their appearance. I would hope that I am teaching her that a woman should be able to dress in a way that she feels comfortable without being objectified and judged. I hope that she would understand no matter how someone dresses, we cannot attack their moral character without knowing them and that they will never deserve to be treated differently, or, god forbid, physically attacked.

  19. I personally think that Michelle Obama with her “Let’s Move” campaign should back a company that is willing to release a round of dolls such as the early 90’s “Playground Kids”. Promoting friendship, movement (each doll came with her own piece of Playground equipment) and diversity. I wish that ALL the companies would quit putting so much focus on fashion, makeup, and looks.

  20. Getting back to the subject of how we keep our daughters from embracing these hypersexualized images of what Mattel (and other companies/industries) think that girls and women should look like…

    Banning them from our house was never the answer. Instead, we opted for the “teaching opportunity” approach. We would never buy this garbage – but, of course, someone gave us my daughter one as a birthday present. And the statement, “Mom, I don’t want to BE Barbie – I just want to play with her,” calmed my fears a little. But having her in the house enabled us to talk about her in a more substantial way. “Look at her feet. Can you imagine having feet that were stuck in that pointed toe position all the time? What would that be like?” And I was able to share what I knew about how, if Barbie was a real person, what her proportions would be – and how much it would hurt to walk around.

    I believe in doing everything I can to protect my kids. And I also believe in giving them the tools they need to see the inappropriate imagery that will bombard them in school, at friends’ houses, on TV, etc. in the appropriate light.

    The key isn’t to pretend this stuff doesn’t exist. And even if Mattel were to listen to the anger of the parents who find their ideas of “appropriate dolls and toys” outrageous (and I do think it’s valid and important to speak out about it), they would still exist. So, the best we can do is talk about it with our daughters and each other. Equally important, we should encourage our daughters to think and talk about it. And we should listen to our daughters. It’s not an exciting, “change the world” kind of approach. But it’s the one that my daughter (now 13, still self-confident, still carrying a healthy image of herself) and I have found works best for us in the long run.

  21. My DD was given a MH doll. I thought it was pretty creepy myself. She also owns one Bratz doll, a bunch of Barbie stuff and Polly Pockets. However, I’m not even sure where the MH or Bratz dolls are. I haven’t seen them in months, thank goodness. I do however, know where her books and puzzles and legos (yes, she was given some of the new “girl” stuff which is now mixed in with all the rest) are…all over my house! It’s a tough job balancing everything for our girls. We were watching the Oscars last night and she asked, why do people keep asking “who are you wearing”? I then had to explain about designers and designer clothing. She understood and we moved on. I’m hoping she doesn’t think she has to look like those women in their painted on dresses and over the top hairdos and makeup. Sigh….keep up the good fight everyone!

  22. Hmm. I’m wondering… To all the people who say “Just don’t buy it,” is there any possible toy marketed to children that you believe would be bad enough to justify speaking out against? Would it be okay to market a doll that is not only dressed like a sex worker, but actually labeled “Prostitute Barbie” on the box? What if the advertising overtly stated “Girls, you can grow up to have sex for money too?” Would that be okay?

    If your answer is no, then the “Just don’t buy it” defense just doesn’t make sense. If your answer is no, then there you recognize that it is at least possible that a product could go too far, and your disagreement with Melissa is whether or not Monster High dolls are over the line or not. That’s a different debate.

    I really don’t understand the anger directed to Melissa for speaking her mind on HER OWN BLOG from people whose ultimate defense of these toys is “If you don’t like it, just don’t buy it.” Why then would people criticize this blog, when they could say to themselves, “If you don’t like it, just don’t read it?”

    Personally I think Melissa is entitled to criticize any product she wants to in any way she wants, and I’m glad somebody is speaking out about the implications of marketing on childhood. I think it’s probably good for people who disagree to debate the issue, but the “Just don’t buy it” argument doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you really believe that nothing in popular culture should ever be criticized by anyone at anytime.

    • And people have the right to criticize your opinion too and Melissa’s. And yea it is easy to not buy something, if you don’t get it then that’s your own problem. I don’t get why America have to make such a big out of everything. Do you know other countries are in a much worse state. And here you are saying a doll is “sexual” and saying it as a fact and clearly a lot of people don’t feel that way. Btw, kids aren’t that stupid, they know what they are playing with is fake. If they become a terrible person then it’s the parent’s fault. Stop telling companies to raise your own damn kids.

  23. Ive been thinking on this since reading your post over the weekend. And here’s the thing, if the OPP had come in looking for black makeup to look like batman, or silver to become a robot, would you have been upset? It is my belief that at ?5? She is exploring different roles and identities. She was exploring the monster high imagination.

    While WE see the bigger picture of over sexualization of little girls, she sees a new character and world to explore. You can provide her freedom to explore it while explaining your boundaries and reasons why you don’t like it. By banning it completely you don’t allow for a conversation about it.

    I have 2 boys who have a deep yearning need to turn everything into war play. I hate it. I don’t disallow it though. I explain tp them why I don’t like pretend shooting and tell them that I won’t ban it but I would prefer other types of play. They were given need guns for Xmas (imagine!!!) and my first instinct was tp return them. Instead we had a talk about guns, gun safety, when guns may be used and why mom doesn’t like them. They are allowed to play with them but they know the rules. I hate it. But accept it. Within the confines of my belief and value system.

    • Penny –
      No, if she had asked for robot or Batman or fairy make up, that would all be age appropriate and fine. This isn’t about make up. It is about her exposure to and now wanting to look like the highly sexualized products that Mattel calls “toys” for children. It is one thing to want to explore with make up, it is another to want to paint yourself to look like she is going clubbing or walking the streets. That notion would not have come into her head had she not been exposed to Monster High.

      She sees a new character and story she wants to explore. BECAUSE I see the big picture and the harms of sexualization, I say no to the toxic, but yes to the healthier version of what she is interested in – like yes to Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride” and “Alice in Wonderland”, both full of exquisite creatures and amazing use of make up. But in an entirely different context. It is that context that makes ALL the difference. This weekend we looked at the make up and outfits worn by Circque du Soliel performers. Again, context.

      I can ban the toxic, and still have the conversation. Just like as my son grows and may/may not move into fighting/war play. He will not have toy guns. He will be allowed to grab a stick and team up with his buddies to shoot at or swashbuckle imaginary enemies. He will not be allowed to pretend to shoot at people or pets, but he will be allowed to zap bad guys.

      Like you said, within the confines of my belief and value system. The sexualization of children lies far outside those lines for me.

  24. The media teaches our daughters that their only worth is as a sexulized being, while law-makers are asking for the boycot of Girl Scout cookies and trying to take away access to birth control! Some of these commentors are correct – these toys do not exist in a vacuum. Rather, they exist in a roiling sea of sexualized images and role models, mixed messages, and hypocrisy. Is their any hope for society?

  25. Dear Melissa,
    I feel your pain! As a child, I was a Barbie fanatic and now have a toddler daughter. One day I found a Baby Bratz doll on the street and was absolutely sickened by her! She was supposed to represent a child my daughter’s age (around 2), yet she had a full face of make-up (including a full pout of highly glossed lips, a crop-top, fishnet stockings, and a leather mini-skirt. The really devastating part of the whole picture was that she had a baby bottle, full of milk, chained across her chest. I have been a dollmaker my entire life and am now designing a line of dolls for girls. In the past few months, I have come across other brilliantly expressed complaints from concerned parents and I am collecting them for my blog. With your permission, I’d love to add you as a contributor. Please let me know if you’d agree. In any case, I will avidly follow your eloquent thoughts on Pigtail Pals.
    Respectfully yours,
    Christina

  26. Curious… “my bright and beautiful six year old bounding into my bed, saying she wanted to put on all of her make up.” Why does your 6 year old have makeup?

    • Christine-
      My daughter has a little bag that holds a compact of eyeshadow, blush, and a lipgloss. It is all irridescent and sheer but when she chooses to play dress up with it, which is not very often, she gets to feel like she is visiting the land of grown ups for a little bit.

      The important thing to note is that she has it for dress up play. When she asked to wear it during our normal day’s activities, the answer was an emphatic “No.”

  27. The big question here is how can we raise our daughters to believe in things like positive sexual experiences, consent, and making good choices when all the bad choices are becoming normal, little girl experiences?

    I know personal anecdotes aren’t proof of any one thing, but I gotta share this: when I was a little girl (5-6) I had brothers about my age, and I had Barbies (granted, my Barbies did things like leave Ken at the alter to go join the Peace Corps. Your mileage may vary) and I had a crap-ton of Barbie clothes. I remember vividly how *into* my toys I was; how each Barbie had a life and a backstory and feelings! And then my brother’s friends would take my Barbies and look up their skirts and laugh about how Barbie had no panties. I cannot begin to tell you how violated *my* feelings were at the time, and I was a budding feminist for whom the amount of crap taken usually numbered about zero. My Barbie, and by extension, me, had not given permission for our skirts to be lifted. But the boys had learned somewhere that this was an acceptable way to treat a girl’s Barbie. Barbie got zero respect, because she was a girl toy and she was *my* toy and therefore less respected. And this was back in the 90’s when Barbie wasn’t *as* bad.

    Flash forward to now. That little piece of burgeoning sexual harassment probably repeats itself in mixed-gender places of play all the time. Only this time, the message isn’t righteous indignation. The message is that the unwanted sexual attention is the *point*. So while I got right and properly pissed at my doll’s treatment, I imagine now little girls would figure that, perhaps this is the way of the world. I fear for their adolescence.

    I also have a one year old niece who is immediately becoming a PP once she gets out of onesies and into big girl clothes.

  28. I read this letter online last night and was haunted with worries about my own daughter. I didn’t even know about Monster High Dolls before I read your letter. What else don’t I know about? Are we sending her the right messages? Is she hearing them? Having been impressed with your explanation of family values to your six year old girl, I awoke this morning and, while cuddling with my 4 year old daughter in bed before starting the day, tentatively gauged her temperature on the issue.??

    ME: Sophia, tell me, what is more important? How your body looks to other people or how your thoughts and ideas sound??

    SOPHIA: Neither, Mommy. What’s important is how kind you are to others.??

    Well then…I guess the student has become the teacher.

  29. I actually stumbled across this blog looking for something else. Let me first say that I am 38 and have an 8 year old daughter. I love the Monster High dolls and am happy that my daughter has found dolls that she loves and that she can relate to. She loves their stories, their fashions, and their unique looks. For her the fashions aren’t sexy (she doesn’t even know what that means)- they are colorful, shocking, and sparkly and that is what attracts her. When we shop for clothes (and I let her pick out her own) she goes to the same things- color, patterns, sparkles, and crazy (this was also pre-Monster High). The outfits she puts together are outrageous, and occasionally cause other parents give me disapproving looks and shake their heads. Not for the reasons you think though. None of her outfits are sexy, they are just loud and weird and 9 times out of 10 nothing really matches. These dolls have helped her be more confident in her choices and that it is ok to be different. Barbies did nothing for her really other than cause her to ask me questions like why her boobs are so big and why do they all look the same and why is everything pink. Bratz were not and are not allowed in our house. People like to say the two are similar, but I beg to differ. There is a marked difference in their look, attitude, and clothing..not to mention their extended line of baby Bratz who looked like hookers in diapers and Bratz pets who were ridiculous sexualized cats and dogs. The Bratz faces are heavier on the make up, their lips are far larger with that ridiculous duck face expression, and their eyes have that sleepy half lidded come hither look. I find them to be more overtly sexual than the Monster High dolls.
    My daughter is a weird kid that marches to the beat of her own drummer (and sometimes that drummer is out of tune), but I love that about her. She is not a follower and wears and does what she pleases and I am confident in the fact that she will make the right choices because I did my job right. As far as body image..the doll’s body type doesn’t even phase her. In a perfect world, yeah dolls would be all shapes and sizes, but realistically, that would be not only expensive for the company, but for the parent as well. All the outfits fit all of the dolls which allows girls to mix and match and come up with their own creations.
    The positive things I find about these dolls… diversity in a not so “in your face” way. All these dolls list their freaky flaws in their diaries. They also touch on interracial dating in a not so blatant way…the vampire has a werewolf boyfriend and both their families and “races” are against it. They teach girls not to judge a book by it’s cover/first impression. Lots of good stuff in there if you take the time to read the character bios and watch the cartoons and webisodes (full length- not the 1 or 2 minute blurbs that attempt to show you why it is so bad).
    My daughter is a healthy, happy child and is not being harmed or brainwashed by these dolls. And before anyone can say that I am a bad parent or I am not paying attention. I scrutinize everything my daughter watches and plays with. I won’t let her watch many of the shows on Disney because the children are bratty, obnoxious, or lie to adults. Hannah Montana is a huge no-no in my house because of her obnoxiousness and how she speaks to adults.
    Your opinion is your opinion, and I respect that. Your idea of “wholesome” and “morals” probably vastly differs from mine. My daughter has been around eclectic people all of her life from tattoo artists to drag queens to the super conservative. There is no body shame in our house, but at the same time, we teach respect for your body and when it is appropriate and not appropriate to run around naked in front of others. I am confident that as she grows older she will have instilled in her the same morals that I was growing up and continue to have open conversation with me as I did with my father and his partner.

    • Darah,

      It sounds to me like you and your daughter are Full of Awesome and marching to the beat of your own drummer. Bright colors, sparkles, individuality, and diversity are wonderful! Punky Brewster had all of those traits without dressing like Nefera De Nile – short skirt, stilettos, one shoulder exposed, heavy eyeliner and long earrings.

      There are many wonderful aspects of the Monster High dolls – the trouble is that all of the good is packaged up in dolls that are dressed like tramps. Whether our young daughters know what “sexy” is or not – if you put Nefera’s outfit on a real woman – she’s dressed like a hooker.

      Could we not aspire to be bright bold individuals with flaws and diverse tastes in friends and clothes without dressing all those wonderful character traits in a costume straight from an adult film? I too know and love tattoo artists and drag queens and even they don’t go to work or school dressed like the young girls attending Monster high.

      I don’t think that there is a person who holds the values being presented by the PP&BB cause that judges you. We are judging Mattel for not giving our daughters the opportunity to embrace the good without implanting the idea that in order to be flawed or flashy or colorful you also have to be able to pull off the high hemline, the ankle breaking heels and the fake lashes. Because at Monster High, who wants to be friends with the flawed girl that is frumpy, wearing sneakers and has forgotten her lipstick??

      Wholesomeness and morality are not the issue here. Kudos to you for taking the time to teach your daughter respect for her body. I’m sure that she will have a fine set of morals.

      Parenting is a full time job and it sounds like we’re all taking that job very seriously here. I guess the issue is – is your job as a mother made easier with the existence of Monster High dolls, or do you find yourself having to work harder to parent around them? Should we have to explain to our children that though these outfits are okay for dolls, if they try to leave the house dressed like this for school when they’re 15 there is going to be an issue?

      That’s the problem with Mattel. It’s hard enough to parent without toys that say, “it’s okay to be different – as long as you’re gorgeous and/or showing some skin.” Because whether they know it or not, that is at least part of the message these young girls are receiving. Even when they don’t get this message from their loving parents, they get it from the rest of the world. It would be nice if they didn’t find that message in their toy box as well.

  30. Katie Rhoads says:

    AMEN!! Amen!!

  31. If you think your appreciation of these dolls has nothing to do with their reinforcing a common, sexualized image of women that pervades our modern culture, then consider for a second what these outfits would look like on a male doll.

    Suddenly these dolls aren’t just about friends and fun fashion anymore, are they? There’s a very different feeling about a male in tiny short-shorts compared to a female. But if these dolls really were appealing because they were unique and different and the fashions were fun and “sparkly”, then shouldn’t these criteria apply to the doll regardless of its sex?

    Would most people let their children play with a male doll done up in skintight pants, high heels, and makeup without batting an eye? Likely not, because this isn’t a normalized gender representation in our society. Most people fail to take into account that it’s not just “this one doll” that is problematic for female representation, it’s the whole fabric of our society. Maybe Monster High would be fine as an anomaly, but this is quickly becoming the standard image with which young people are presented.

    And honestly, there are so many better ways to introduce children to “accepting differences” and “fun and unique fashion”. There are so many ways to do alternative fashion without resorting to sexualization. I was kind of a goth kid in high school, and I did it with long, victorian-esque skirts, buckled shoes, and sweaters. I didn’t need stripper boots to express my own personal style and neither does a pre-teen kid.

    If you don’t think these dolls are sexualized you should probably go get your head checked.

  32. That’s a whole lot of assumption there. I’m not speaking for Melissa here, but I for one do NOT buy Barbie dolls for my daughter. She has some, but I didn’t buy them and I make sure that the clothes she has for her Barbies are more appropriate. I also don’t allow make-up for my daughter. The only “lipstick” she has is a colour-free lip-balm. In fact my daughter does not do ballet due to the simple fact that the schools I checked out made the kids wear heavy make-up for performances. Instead she is doing swimming and martial arts. That’s on top of other sporty things we do, like bike riding, ice skating, skiing, bush walking, etc.
    And unfortunately it’s not as simple as “just don’t buy it” as this article demonstrates. Our children are unfortunately influenced by the society around them.
    Ask me how much I cringed when I heard my daughter dancing around the house singing “I’m sexy and I know it”. It’s not cute coming out of the mouth of a 5 year old!!!!!

    • Alex,
      Actually, this isn’t at all about “just don’t buy it”. As was said over and over and over again in the post, I have discussed with my daughter countless times the WHY of this all being so inappropriate for her and her girlhood. Trust me, it has been anything but simple.

      Sports is a huge part in fighting sexualization, so I hope your daughter sticks with that. And I encourage you to read the links in the post and explore the rest of the blog — all of it talks about the sexualized culture we are forced to raise our kids in, and how families can fight back.

  33. ex-stripper says:

    In defense of strippers:

    I found this blog while looking for reviews of MH dolls. I had to write because some of these posts including your own are just hurtful and judgemental. I realize the first stripper attacked you but your reply to her spoke volumes about how you judge a group of a people.

    First things: I realize this is your blog, your party, if you choose to throw everyone out or ban them for not seeing things your way you have that right. But time and time again I see on blogs of this sort I see people with different ideas who are still slammed for simply not agreeing with you. Collective you as in the writer of the blog. Sorry Melissa, you’re just the lucky one whose blog had responses that spurned me into posting a reply.

    Second: I have no children (nor do I want any) and I realize on that alone that you will probably dismiss anything I have to say and of course being an ex-stripper you may have already decided that I have nothing of value to add. I’m an ex-sex worker so of course I must be as dumb as a post.

    Third: Let’s get this out of the way, I had a good childhood, great parents although my mum like any mum was over-protective. I was not abused, it is not their fault I went into such a job. I’ll explain myself here on that…I did things the right way, went to school got an ok job and because my parents were not rich and could not help with schooling I chose to do that myself and did it by waitressing and bartending. After I graduated I got bogged down with credit card debt and my schoolloans, all of which became overwhelming. I got tired of living paycheck to paycheck and making only minimum payments and couldn’t imagine asking my parents for thousands of dollars to help me. I had a couple of friends who were strippers, one who still danced, another who had quit, both lovely women who you would probably never give the time of day to due to their choices alone. I went and researched it, visited the clubs as a customer, talked to many dancers and finally auditioned at the Spearmint Rhino, a well-know chain that is run like any other business one hopes..very professionally. Their corporate feel was the reason I chose them and found their (mostly male) employees (as a dancer, oh, sorry, stripper…you are on contract and basically considered an independent contractor for tax purposes..for better or worse. There are pros and cons to this but since I don’t plan on returning after this post I’ll leave it to you to research that if you like) to be very professional. As most jobs there were things I loved and things I hated. I loved being able to wear outrageous clothes and act flirty in a way that would get you in trouble in the real world. I loved the comaraderie of the girls, won’t say they’re all good and there were the unfortunate stereotypes, drugged party girls but the vast majority were not. The male employees were cool as well, again many of the bouncers were there for only a certain amount of time before they rose up in the company or moved on to other things. Like the girls many were also in school. Fraternizing between the male employees and the strippers is frowned upon although it does happen occasionally just as it does in any workplace. In fact I found most strippers to engage in less promiscuous behavior than many of my non-stripper friends. I was the same, when you work in a nightclub and flirt and dance for men all night for money the last thing you want to do on your off time is go to a real nightclub or wear a lot of makeup. I still wear very little makeup and can’t see myself ever putting on a pair of false eyelashes again in my lifetime. Was it all good? No. Was the money good? Mostly. Is it soul-sucking and demoralizing and hard to do? Not always but sometimes. Sometimes I’d have bad nights and want to cry. Men can very rude and callous without even meaning to when they don’t always realize there’s a human being under all the makeup standing in front of them in ridiculous platforms. Would I recommend it as a job for a young woman. Maybe. But not if she doesn’t have to. If I could’ve paid my debt off another way I would’ve. I’m grateful that stripping helped me to do that. If I hadn’t I’d still be in debt or worse having my wages garnished. (Bankruptcy for school loans is not an option) I’m debt free today and going into my marriage happy with that and I know I wouldn’t have accomplished it without stripping. Many girls I know have done the same. I’ve seen girls get their degrees and move on, one became a very successful real estate agent. You’d be surprised at how often that happens, strippers are very good at sales. I’ve also seen single mothers who have used stripping as a way to support their children, frown if you like but a child is something I understand even though I don’t want one. If I had one I’d prostitute myself if I had to in order to give him or her the care they needed. Be grateful you are not in that position. I am not saying it’s a great career nor would I ever want my daughter to do it if I had one but to paint all of us in the same brush is mean and hateful.

    As for Monster High dolls I won’t get in to that too much. You have the right to pick what your child plays with. I will only add this, I love monsters and horror movies and think the designs on the MH dolls are creative and imaginative. Would I let my little girl if I had one play with them? Yes but I’d also encourage her to play with Legos and Star Wars like I did as child. I’d encourage her to play sports like my older sister and I did. I wouldn’t force her to if she didn’t like sports though, not all kids do and that’s ok as well. Also, I really love sculpture; it’s my favorite form of fine art and well-sculpted toys are like small affordable pieces of art available to everyone. I can only describe it as such.

    I only wanted to post so you could see a different view. Do I think toys are sexualized? Yes many are but children don’t always see it that way. I never looked at Barbie and thought she was real, she was like a cartoon figure in the same way that MH dolls are. I can’t imagine anyone who looks at them thinks that their bodies are meant to be realistic. Plus as a toy collector I just want to let you and all the other mums who forbid certain types of toys. I’ve met so many collectors, many of them gay men but plenty who were women as well who all say the same thing: “I loved Barbie/Bratz/any other toy but was DENIED them as a child.” Now these people are usually the ones who have this forbidden fruit/object of desire stockpiled! Don’t let your child become a crazy hoarder later..:) I joke but it’s true…I hear that same thing over and over.

    Last note: Ghoulia Yelps. You and everyone else who hates these dolls complain that she only speaks in moans and groans. For the last time, she’s a zombie. She speaks only in moans and groans for that reason alone. I thought it was quite clever for Mattel to make the zombie, the most boring (IMO) movie monster, the one who eats brains, the smartest girl in school. And also one of the most caring and kindest. That’s all. I know I won’t change you or anyone else’s mind because you’ve formed your opinion and don’t even want to consider another point of view but I do hope you realize that strippers aren’t evil people. Many of them are just misguided yes, but many just use it as a stepping stone for something better. I wasn’t lucky enough to have rich parents but I was lucky enough to have parents who were understanding and were there for me in other ways.

    Good luck to you. Like I said I won’t be back but I hope you’ll consider some of the points I made. And no, I don’t expect you to love the adult industry. It IS soul-sucking and eploitative. Just don’t always judge all the women in it the same. They are different and have their own stories like everyone else.

    • Ex-Stripper –
      I’m glad you wrote in. I don’t think strippers are evil or stupid people. I think they contribute to a larger social problem of misogyny and sex trafficking. I’m sure girls aren’t thinking of that when they are just trying to pay down debt or pay their way through school, but other women and girls pay the price for the climate towards females that the sex trade industry creates, and you were complicit in that. I’ve been broke as hell, but decided to work two or three jobs instead of taking my clothes off for men so that they could sit there and view me as a sex object. That doesn’t mean I don’t like you as a person, I just really hate your former job. I have had friends past who were former strippers, so yes, I am capable of hearing and respecting other points of view and personal stories that differ from my own.

      I’ve just recently traveled to Mattel headquarters to speak with the creators of this line. Several people in the room agreed the manner of dress on some of the original dolls was too provocative and needed to change. These are children’s toys, and any representation of the adult sex industry reflected in a toy is disturbing and wrong.

  34. Okay, I was going to write an angry post defending a doll line that I am in love with but it is pointless.

    Let me show you this.

    That is what monster high is teaching young girls, be yourself, be kind to others.

    Yes some of the girls wear short skirts, yes quite a bit of them do, however, you will see this with any other doll line, make up is also part of this, if your child likes make up turn it into an opportunity to make it into something about the theatrical arts, because no one would go out with monster high make up on normally anyway.

    Please do not try to block this out of your child’s life, let her obsess for a while and then get over it like every other kid, or if you are dead set on not letting her watch it, try getting her to play with my little ponies, since there is no make up or short skirts to be seen anywhere in that show.

  35. It is as simple as if you do no want your kid to play with it explain your reasons and do not buy it. I have the sweetest daughter in the world and she likes Barbies and “Monsters High” and I believe is a great way to encourage her imagination. Also, I dedicate time to play with her and believe there is no difference to play with a monster high than to play with a doll like the one that is posted on the picture. It depends on our kids own ideas and the examples they have at home. Just my opinion.

  36. I would like to share a positive way monster high has affected my life. My little girl wanted to collect these. I allowed her to do so. I listed a few on ebay when she had duplicates. I now sell these dolls to adult collectors all over the world. I helps me afford to stay home with my Autistic son. Last month my daughter, after collecting for 3 years had 100 of these dolls. She is now 11 and wanted to go to Washington D.C. to learn more about the wonderful and scary country we live in. We sold her dolls to collectors and will be able to take the family on a learning vacation and put several thousand dollars into her collage fund. She is still an honer roll student. She won the rotary club peace award for her school and is am amazing creative kind hearted girl. My daughter lost her interest and moved on to other adventures. Children are intelligent beings they know what is make believe. I fear there are many things that will damage a child in our environment much more than a plastic doll with tight clothes and too much make-up.

  37. I collect these dolls and I get the point about the clothes and even agree.. I have though seen somewhat of a improvement since they first came out, althought their could be more. i buy handmade clothes for my dolls they are actually really nice. Other than the clothes though I cannot not see a real problem with the dolls. Yes they are monsters, but it’s not like they are incredibly gross or scary. Yes some are weird, but as I have seen in the web episodes the over all lesson that is taught, is to be your self no matter what you look like and I think that message is a good one for kids (especially now days) because it lets them know you don’t have to be perfect, or look a certain way to be accepted. To me by telling kids that the dolls are weird, gross,ugly, in the long run is telling them that anything the is not normal or different in the slightest way is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. No I do not have kids and I can only imagine what people are going through nowadays, The weirdest doll I had growing up was Rainbow Brite and Jem and the holograms. they where just toys, dolls used for my play time and to use my imagination and they had nothing to do with the real world, I knew that and my parents taught me that. Would they have bought me Monster High dolls? Lol probably not, but only because of the clothes. If I had a child right now I honestly would be more concerned with the real life role models(if you want to call them that) that the younger kids as well as teens look up too. Yes the dolls need better clothes I will back that up 100%, but other than that I really don’t understand the hatred for them.. It’s like saying you have to look this way to be ok and if you look different from that then your not ok and I am sorry but I don’t agree with that at all. I was picked on from elementary to high school because I looked just a little different from a surgury I had to have as a child. If you have a problem with Monster High then dont watch Coraline( sorry to the person who suggested it) there is nothing wrong with the movie but for the OP I think they would find it too wierd and what not.. Just my two cents on it..

  38. They are just fictional characters dolls/animated look at the dolls bratzilla monster high winx club etc just fantasy for fun and if you watch the shows they are NOT meant for 6 year olds they are for people who can relate to them such as those going to high school(14-19)teens and grownup who collect them for their beauty it is not unrealistic to have a body like these characters(i am talking about if you have gone through puberty already) if you eat right and exercise little girls should play with baby dolls and dolls that look like them american girl etc not figures that are in there teens/early 20s like the bratzilla monster high novi star etc are.

  39. Mattel produce American Girl dolls which do not wear make up, are very wholesome, and have traditional values, your daughter could just as easily as show interest in one of those Mattel dolls. Instead your daughter chose to be interested in Monster High dolls, the dolls are 15 years old and dress like 15 year olds do, they do not show off body parts, they are covered up, yes the clothing is tight, yes they are fashionable, but they have excellent values such as self acceptance, and are very intelligent girls. 15 year old girls do wear make up, and little girls like to dress up sometimes, you don’t need to remove such dolls, just use moderation.
    There is no need for moral panic, as a girl I played dress up and wore make up to play, and often I did not, my daughter had access to many types of dolls, and played dress up too and has grown into a very modest young woman.

    • Monster High Fan –
      Mattel does not produce American Girl, Mattel bought out American Girl. Their is a pattern of what Mattel produces. And it isn’t wholesome.

  40. LexieDi says:

    There’s nothing wrong with wearing makeup and sexy clothes, though. A woman’s value is not determined by how she looks or dresses. You worried about using the words “street walker” and “stripper” as if being a sex worker is a negative thing… and it’s not. You’re slut shaming and making women who DO CHOOSE to sell sex out to be dumb and vapid and that’s messed up.

    Wearing makeup and clothes is a form of self expression and saying all women do it only to look good for men is just plain incorrect.

    When it comes to the dolls… they are sexualized and people are allowed to feel how they wish about them. But don’t hate on women who choose to do something you don’t like just because some of your values were left over from the puritans.

    • LexieDi –
      Please don’t glamorize sex work here. Most of the women and girls participating in sex work are not there voluntarily, it is commercialized rape, these women are not becoming financially independent and there is very, very rarely anything positive about it. I’ve interviewed enough sex workers – various points on the continuum from strippers to call girls to street prostitutes – to understand the grit that goes with the job.

      There was no slut-shaming that took place. People are a little too fast and loose with that phrase, no pun intended. The only thing more tired out than the “ohmygodyou’reslumshaming” scream is the linkage of being anti-sexualization to being a Puritan.

      • LexieDi says:

        “I had to explain that real women who wear such small and tight clothing are usually more concerned about how their body looks to other people than how their thoughts and ideas sound.”

        You know how people say “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, you’re teaching kids that any woman (and I won’t even get into the double-standard between men and women with what’s “acceptable” to wear) who wears something that is too revealing by YOUR standards is pretty much automatically stupid and shallow. It says that dressing this way isn’t good and suggests that women who do dress this way are no good just by virtue of what they choose to wear. And I totally disagree with teaching children that kind of prejudice… especially against women.

        I’m not glamorizing sex work, I’m saying it’s wrong to devalue women who choose (note the word “choose”) to do sex work. (And it IS slut-shaming to hate on women for wearing revealing clothes.)

  41. As a 21-year-old woman, I understand that me collecting Monster High dolls puts me squarely out of the target audience for these dolls, and I’m not going to comment on the appropriateness of them for 6 year olds. (I didn’t even realize they were for six-year-olds. They’re shelved next to Bratz dolls and some of the more collectible movie dolls like Twilight dolls in my local stores – the 13-16 year old section.)

    However, I think that you really need to be careful about the words you use to describe their appropriateness. I agree with other posters that your words are blatant slut shaming, not to mention that it displays an incredible ignorance of the fashions that inspired the dress of Monster High characters. For starters: half of the girls are dressed in traditional goth or emo fashions. Draculara and Frankie in particular are wearing things that are easily found in Hot Topic. Going off of that, Lagoona is clearly wearing a swim outfit, which makes sense, given that she’s a sea monster who would probably swim. Putting all of these things under the banner of ‘prostitute clothes’ is insulting to anyone who might swim, be goth, or like skirts. On a more serious level, equating dress with sex crime like prostitution is INCREDIBLY dangerous – it reeks of the old rape myth that what you wear will lead to you being attacked or victimized. It comes from a privileged place, and reeks of ignorance.

    Full disclosure: I did dress like the MH dolls in high school (and did in my work as a rape prevention counselor), because I identified as emo. I was a very visible emo kid in my school, being president of Anime Club, president of the Women’s Choir, and having a 4.2. And tons of parents just like you were busy judging me based solely on my appearance, assuming that I was ‘whorish’, ‘slutty’, ‘Satanic’, and even on one occasion, ‘a succubus’. It’s falling directly into the trap that Jennifer Shewmaker notes in this article on the MH webisodes (which I pretty much loathe): http://jennifershewmaker.com/2011/05/20/does-monster-high-teach-kindness/ The webisodes of MH utilize a lot of girl-on-girl cruelty, things that manifest themselves in people claiming that other girls’ clothes are ‘like those worn by people in sex work’. Tearing women down for their appearance is negative, cruel, and bullying behavior.

    In your defenses of yourself, you’ve mentioned that sex work should not be glamorized. I agree with that – prostitution is a structural oppression of women. But I do not agree with your dismissal of the clothing of the dolls because there are far more people who wear pleated skirts, high heels, corsets, etc. in their daily lives, and you’re teaching your daughter a terrible thing if your rage is entirely rooted in the appearance of another, and not their inner self, ESPECIALLY since your judgment seems to be tethered in the kinds of statements that perpetuate rape culture and rape apologia in the US.

    • Hal –
      Your comment has a bit of a stank of ignorance to it, to be honest. At best, it is overreaching. There is nothing in this post that is slut shaming, not in the words I used to write it, what was said to my daughter, nor the big picture items I ask people to look at. There are goth and emo elements in the design, you bet. There are also elements right out of porn and the sex trade. On a toy. For a child.

      You know full well there is quite a bit of crossover of adult sexual fetishization into the emo and anime worlds. It is INCREDIBLY dangerous to be obtuse about that and pass it off as edgy or artful for children. I could care less about what you do as an adult; I care a lot about corporate pedophilia and people like you who dismiss it.

      Furthermore – as a collector then I’m sure you’ve noticed the packaging of your dolls, which does say it is for ages 6+. Six years old is a child. Does a six year old wear corsets, high heels, and pleated mini skirts to school? Would a sixteen year old be able to wear those things to school? When a young girls does wear those things and value those things, does she get the message she is valued for WHO she is, or what she looks like and the sex she could offer?

      There isn’t a 13-16yo section in your local store for toys because that is not a segment these manufacturers are producing product for. That statement is moronic. These dolls, just like Bratz and Winx Club and some of the others are hung and shelved directly in the middle of the toy aisles at all the major big box shops, at eye level with kids who still believe in the Tooth Fairy. Give. Me. A. Break.

      Full disclosure: I have interviewed many sex workers, both on and off the job, and most of them feel these dolls and the clothing are horrible for little girls. To make the factual statement that these dolls are wearing garments traditionally associated with sex work is not a judgement. These dolls were dressed very similarly to the way some of the women I spoke with were dressed. YOU are placing assumptions and judgements there, not me. It is the same as associating a chef’s hat with the culinary arts. “This is what a person typically wears when they do this job” isn’t an offensive remark. But you know, I’ve never seen women dressed like this in the job I held in the legal or corporate field. I have never seen a parent in my community dressed this way. You make it sound like corsets and stilettos are ever so common. There are not too many jobs that you could show up to dressed like that.

      While you were working at the rape crisis center, I was working as a private investigator and had to talk to a lot of these women (and girls) on the streets. You should also know, I am a rape survivor. So my strong feelings on this do not come from assumptions, judgements, slut shaming, or a place of (ignorant) privilege. They come from first hand interaction with woman who dress like this to conduct their trade.

      This is more about self-objectification than slut-shaming and Rape Culture: “I had to explain that real women who wear such small and tight clothing are usually more concerned about how their body looks to other people than how their thoughts and ideas sound.”

      My rage is in corporations selling “toys” to my daughter that do not reflect nor honor childhood. These toys give a very narrow version of what it means to be a woman, and that version is very much dripping in sex. Re-read the post, it is about focusing what is on the inside of a person. The problem is, I have to teach my daughter to do that among a sea of sexualized toys and an ignorant culture.

      • You missed the entire point of my post, and honestly, your response gives me little hope that you understand just how dangerous your statements are. Thank you for devaluing my work with rape crisis centers – and devaluing my own experiences as a high schooler who told you she wore all those things on the MH dolls so you can stop asking that asinine rhetorical question of whether a school would allow corsets or not – to make your point that you should be allowed to shame those who you yourself said you interacted with.

        I could care less whether your daughter plays with the dolls or not. I just wish you’d check your language and say simply that you feel they’re inappropriate for her age because the clothes are designed for people older than her, and not say that “I was trying so hard to not tell my daughter they looked like streetwalkers”.

        You should know I am a rape survivor, and half of the words I got about my assault after the fact were about my dress. Thanks for letting me know that I wasn’t really expressing myself with my dress, but was rather more concerned with how I looked to the men who assaulted me! That was enlightening.

      • We Are Monster High says:

        Um, a lot of toy stores have 13-16 year old sections. I’m sorry that you’ve never been to one, but that’s not Hal’s fault.

    • Hi, Hal – Love to hear from another woman who collects toys. You are probably in the 50% dynamic of Monster High buyers (if you just include adults).

      I am also a toy collector. I have a few Pullip dolls–as well as a gen 1 Bratzilla (couldn’t resist those cool eyes). I also have reborned baby dolls and I make stuffed animals (ex – I created a Hobbes from Calvin and Hobbes that is awesome). I just got my first Monster High Doll today so I had it to review against a My Little Pony Doll, but I’ve been curious about them for some time as they have such a heavy following. They are *neat* dolls. Very well-made and high-quality for the price you pay for them. I dig that they are gothy and quite unique.

      However, I am also a mother who will not be letting my 4 year old get any until maybe when she’s a tween or teenager (she doesn’t see mine right now). If she makes a big fuss over wanting one (which could happen when she’s older), I will be removing the doll from the packaging and probably altering the outfit and possibly make-up (the horror XD ) before she gets it.

      So I also have to disagree with you. While these clothes are gothy (I am a big fan of Hot Topic), the combination of how short the dresses/skirts are cut in combination with the dolls’ poses in the packages really look like street walkers. I’m not slut-shaming. Being honest. If you have seen sex workers in real life (go to New York City 😉 ), this his how they dress. If you bend any of those dolls over, their dresses/skirts ride up their back. While I embrace all things goth, I really think this is inappropriate to market to kids. It’s not that they need them that short to be short either. They have beautifully long legs. Adding a couple inches would not hurt the goth look at all!

      My choices are not slut-shaming. I think sexuality is a fantastic thing, but I think my child needs to discover it on her own at an appropriate age versus having it shoved in her face by owning dolls that are dressed in things she won’t be wearing until college (and hopefully in a private and/or safe environment)–if at all. I didn’t used to care about these things. I even used to get angry at over-protective parents. But then I had a kid. 😉

      You don’t need to have one to figure it out. Just spend enough time around them, and you’ll see why some people feel this way.

      Best to you from another female toy collector!

  42. I was raised without Barbie. It didn’t prevent me from playing with her at friends’ homes, but it sure made me wonder why I didn’t get one when my friends did and my younger sister did (my parents were seperated). Seeing all the other little girls with cute dolls made me wonder if my mom thought there was something wrong with me, and I had a harder time connecting with female friends as a child.

    Now I’m an adult. At first, I embraced the anti-Barbie mentality, but after a few years of being a mom I think it’s bullshit. It’s not Barbie that creates eating disorders, the parents who talk trash about women’s bodies (including their own) around their kids who make eating disorders.

    I have a lot of friends who are feminists who had Barbie and not only turned out fine, but gave them to their daughters.

    While many dolls have heavy makeup and outfits not fit for kids, there are plenty that *aren’t* that way. Barbie is whatever you make of her. Same with Monster High dolls (though I’m not very impressed with the kinds of clothes they wear). Still, you don’t like the outfits? Get new ones. Don’t like how some of them are made up. Find ones that aren’t so makeup heavy. It’s not hard–especially with Barbies now.

    Last year, my 3-year old daughter asked only for a Barbie for Christmas. She saw them at a friend’s house and fell in love. I ended up finding a Paleotologist Barbie and swapped heads with a brunette doll so she’d look like my little girl. My kid has spent many a day having her doll go on amazing adventures with her She-Hulk doll in their purple VW Bug (they store dragon and dinosaur bones in the trunk).

    We also have a few Princess dolls from the Disney store (Rapunzel, Merida, a second-hand Belle who we’ve reinvented into someone else), and I found a Skipper. They aren’t silly girls who sit around shopping all day and waiting for men to rescue them. They are vetrinarians, doctors, super heroes, and sometimes mommies (and don’t any of you *dare* tell me that’s wrong when you yourselves are mothers).

    You can be angry at how the toy industry conducts itself, but you have the power to do something better about it other than completely cutting your kids off from toys.

    First, get rid of your cable! I promise you that those ads are the biggest driving force making your child think he/she wants something. Commercials also lower a child’s IQ and make them have difficulty concentrating. With Netflix, DVDs, and the internet, the only people who “need” cable are sports fanatics–and that is even questionable with the internet. Besides, it’s nice to save $50-100/month. 🙂

    Second, give a little when it comes to a child craving a certain toy. This doesn’t mean you buy your kid that doll in a street-walker fishnet outfit. Find one that *isn’t* dressed that way that reflects your child’s interests and your values. If one isn’t in the store, get creative and re-invent a toy or have a crafty friend help you (ex- make new clothes, repaint some of the make up – acetone and Glass Paints are glorious things).

    Third – Don’t give your child the toys in their original packages. They are just marketing schemes.

    Fourth – Make friends with confident good parents who have confident good kids. Cut ties or make space from people who are destructive and negative (even family members). This, and how you treat women (including yourself) will have a much larger impact on your child than any toy.

  43. michelle moore says:

    I think parents need to stop worrying about what toys their kids are playing with and just start being parents. A toy is not going to give your child low self esteem, its parents and how they react to the toys that makes the impression on children. If you think that playing with a barbie or monster high doll is going to make your daughter have problems with body image or self esteem, I would say that mom needs to look at her own problems with body image and self esteem. The most important influence on a young child is their parents and not what you say but how you act and react.

  44. First of all, you are the mother. And as a mother to a young child, you have the final say in what you buy her for toys and the like. If you are the one responsible for her having Monster High in her possession in the first place, you have no one else to blame than yourself. And if that it is indeed the case, then don’t buy them for her.

    “…why your sexualized and unrealisitic dolls are not the look our family strives for, all the while I try not to use the words “street walker” and “stripper”. My God people, these are toys for children. Children.” Excuse you. I understand many of these dolls may have clothing that is deemed inappropriate by you, and that is okay, that’s your opinion. But the fact you use such harsh and crude words is extremely rude and shallow. Is it the short skirts? The high heels? The tank tops? Exactly what is it that makes these dolls strippers and streetwalkers? These are clothes that many women like to wear on a night out, or clothes that girls like to wear simply because they want to.
    Which leads me to your next paragraph- ” I had to explain that real women who wear such small and tight clothing are usually more concerned about how their body looks to other people than how their thoughts and ideas sound. I told her our family is focused on bright minds and healthy bodies and happy hearts.” Do you realize how terribly arrogant and judgmental that sounds? First of all, no. Contrary to what you believe, a lot of girls who wear such clothing do it because they can. Because what’s the point in having a good body if you can’t show it off? And just because they are wearing these clothes doesn’t mean they don’t have the same ideals you do. You make it sound like girls who wear what you dub “stripper” clothes don’t think about having bright minds, healthy bodies, and happy hearts. You make it sound like all girls who wear these clothes are automatically stupid, unhealthy, and unhappy. In which case, how dare you. You are judging a book by its cover.
    “You make me tap dance around the topic that your dolls are dressed like women who sell their bodies for sex, often to men who offer zero respect to the human being that lives inside. My husband cannot even talk to his little girl about this, because his voice catches in his throat, knowing how awful the world is to its girls. He also knows the thousands of girls who aren’t having this conversation with her parents, and it scares him.” Again, vain and with a high scent of superiority complex. How are these dolls dressed like prostitutes again? And since we’re talking about prostitutes, so what if women sell their bodies for sex? If it is their choice (emphasis on choice) who cares? That’s really none of your business. But I digress. Getting back on topic, exactly what conversation are you talking about? The fact that people are going to judge girls because of the clothes they wear? The fact that some people are in fact going to look at them as nothing but objects REGARDLESS of how they dress because it doesn’t matter what you wear, people are going to try and get what they want no matter what you say or do? Because these are the points that you seem to be missing- all I’m really seeing here is you saying these dolls are sluts because of simply the way they are dressed. If that’s the case, shame on you.
    “Before, when I spoke about your products, I did so as sort of a far-off and removed concept that might someday touch my child. Today, I am speaking from a place of deep anger because you have reached her. Today, more than ever, I am dedicated to making change. Serious change. Today it became personal. Today, the gloves came off. It is never wise to be in the space between a mother and her child.”
    I’m sorry, did Mattel barge into your house, point a gun in your face, and force you to buy these products for your child? I am very sorry if at any point I sound impolite and judgmental, ma’am, but all I’m seeing here is you complaining about your child wanting to look like a product that YOU bought her, if indeed the Monster High or Barbie dolls in her possession came from you and your husband. If you find these dolls to be a bad influence on your child, then that’s absolutely fine. But if you consider them to be a bad influence, then don’t let your daughter have any products that come from the toylines. Your post comes off as audacious, pointing-the-finger material, and ignorant. As a teenage girl, I cannot even fathom to you how infuritating it is to see posts like these where you throw the concept that somehow, because these dolls are dressed sexy and in short skirts and makeup and high heels, they are somehow similar to streetwalkers, somehow similar to strippers. Because it doesn’t soound like anything but you saying that because you don’t agree with how someone dresses, that they’re somehow below you, that they’re somehow desperate or in a bad line of work. Which, once again, is extremely critical, rude, and concieted.
    I understand that toys and TV and the like have large influence on the way your child sees the world. But you as the parent control all that, and frankly, if you are letting what you deem bad influences be around your children, you have nobody what to blame but yourself.

    • Jade –
      Appreciate the ranty comment, need to correct one thing for you. I have never and will never purchase these dolls for my child. Toys like this have no place in my home, I do not buy them for my child nor do I allow them as gifts. This post was written in response to the relentless marketing of sexualized toys to very young girls.
      Also? You can’t really send in a comment apologizing for sounding “impolite and judgmental” when for six paragraphs you go on about how rude, conceited, audacious, ignorant, and judgmental I am.

  45. I’m in my early twenties now. When I was 5 I got my first barbie in a carboot sale and she was 80’s disco barbie with a neon yellow and pink dress and missing one gigantic thunderbolt earring. From then on I got a few other barbies (Dr Barbie, Vet Barbie, a Skipper doll, Barbie princess, Barbie Air hostess etc). When I moved across country I spent time with my cousins (aged roughly 10-11 at the time) we all started playing with bratz dolls. All through highschool I grew out of playing with dolls, and when I was abou 19 I heard of Monster High and thought they were totally cute since I’d been a goth since I was 12 and there were few “goth” dolls when I was 11-13 and still played with them.

    So I’ve been through the 3 big doll phases, and I have this much to say about the sexualization of young girls.

    Dolls aren’t to blame. Its a whole bunch of things, society, clothing, tv shows, other kids in school, magazines etc. If you condemn these dolls you’re just taking something fun and something GOOD out of their lives. These dolls represent things that bratz didn’t that I needed growing up. DIVERSITY, as someone has already mentioned, where else can you find mortal enemies (wolf and vamps) being best friends? These dolls invoke positive messages about being yourself and loving your own style no matter how original and different it is, be true to yourself even if you are the “weird goth kid” you’re still beautiful. Love your family and friends and try your best in school. Bratz cared about Boyfriends, Parties and Fashion, at least MH has some substance.

    If you dont like the clothes, why not teach your daughters to knit and make new more modest outfits? I know how to knit and sew because my mom taught me, I really value the hard work that goes into making clothes and it taught me to patch up holes and fix on buttons as well as how to wash and iron, its a great hobby too, I think all girls should learn that from their moms, great bonding too.

    As for eliminating the dolls, I sincerely hope that doesn’t happen, because you are condemning the wrong people here. Have a look through a magazine geared towards a 13 year old, it is LOADED with kissing techniques and “how to impress boys”, at 13 I was still afraid of boys!!! Yet magazines are loaded with 12 and 13 year olds asking questions about how to mke their boobs look bigger or where to put their hands when they kiss boys. Take a look at that kind of stuff before you blame a doll. These dolls cant talk to girls the same way magazines can. Magazines are telling these girls how to be sexually active, these dolls don’t talk, and if they did, all they say is “Im spooky and have great style”. You’re pointing the gun at the wrong target here. Listen to what young girls are talking about in school, its horrifyingly sexual, it terrifies me as well and I am a single, independent and educated woman with no children.

    If/when I have kids, I’m gonna teach them the important things, self respect, if you push those values deep enough into children and make them understand, it will take a lot more than a doll in a short skirt to convince them they should become street walkers.

    Also, if your child is six years old OP, I’d be concerned if they knew anything about sex. Period.
    My mom didnt give me the talk till I was 9 and at that she just told me what a period was, I didn’t know what sex was till I was 11 and even then, she was very sketchy on the details until I started asking my own questions. Schools teach kids about sex when they are about 12 and 13 now since thats when puberty kicks in. At 6 years old, your child isn’t aware of what is sexual or not sexual, and if they are acting in a sexual way, its not because a doll showed them because a doll is just a hunk of plastic, so they are getting info from somewhere else and that is where your concern should be.

  46. We Are Monster High says:

    Ok, so first of all, MH is fangtastic. Have you seen at least 2 of the boovies? Friday Night Frights is literally all about sexism in sports, fair play, teamwork, and compassion. Frights Camera Action confronts racism, racial inequality, bullying, and speaking with adults rationally. 13 Wishes has messages telling girls not to indulge in a consumerist society, and to be happy with who you are, and not try to change yourself for others. It’s obvious that these dolls are not meant to be realistic. How many ghouls do you know with pink, blue, or green skin? I suggest you take a closer look at the personalities of these dolls, not just what’s on the outside. Posts like yours drive me batty! My 9 year old twin sisters have loved these dolls for about 3 years. They both think that MH is clawsome! Since watching the episodes and boovies, I can see their confidence and imagination grow. Their dolls have traveled back in time(as the ghouls will this fall in the new Freaky Fusion boovie), discovered the cure for the common cold, created their own bakery, started a graphic design company, and so much more. In their song, the key line is WE ARE PROUD. I suggest you take a deeper look at these dolls. You might be surprised at what you find.

  47. They’re toys for crying out load! Have an imagination. Calling them strippers & sexy, bwahahaha! Your kidding right? This lady is nuts to think that! My daughters are 5, 6 & 8 & they love Monster High. They have everything from dolls to clothes to bedding, even dress up clothes. I’m not goig to tell them they can’t like them or watch the movies because I see nothing wrong. They don’t prmote anythig bad. I watch it with them & I’m right there playing with there Monster High dolls with them, as well as all their other toys they have. But everyone has their own opinion about everything! Ghouls Rule! Lol! Have a great day!

  48. Elly H. Elliott says:

    I know this is a very old article but I felt the need to comment on this. This will get a little touchy, so be mindful if you have a weak stomach when reading ahead.

    I come from the opposite side of my family, and I now live with the more conservative side of them. All of my brothers were jailed before finishing highschool and I had my own set of issues. In high school, I was bullimic and depressed to the point of suicide attempts, including an incident where I permanently damaged the muscle of my arm. What didn’t help was insults thrown at me for the way I dressed.

    Being a fat girl (a size 14-16-18 depending on brand, and I’ve been big all my life despite having a rather healthy diet and excersize regiment) and living in now southern Texas, it’s hard to cover up. The heat can reach 115 on a summer day and our lowers are generally in the 70s. The bullying made my bullimia even worse, to the point where now, when I am fully recovered, my stomach is so weak that the smell of coffee can make me throw up because it’s too strong.

    I collected several Monster High dolls because they gave me something pretty to look at. One day my little eight year old cousin came over, and she doesn’t play with Barbies, Bratz, or MH, not because of values imposed on her because of her parents but because they don’t have any hunting dolls and she adores hunting. I got her a cute Bass Pro hunting doll once and she was overjoyed.

    On this particular day I’d been feeling especially bad and yet the family had insisted on a get together. This little eight year old girl was looking at my dolls and she reached in and picked out one, a Draculaura, and held it toward me, and in the most pure voice I’ve ever heard said “this one dresses like you and she’s pretty like you. Can I have her?”

    I had to try so hard not to cry. It was the best thing I’d ever heard, from this child, who didn’t care how slutty this doll dressed, only that it looked like her cousin that she loved. Every time I went to her house after that she had that Draculaura set up in her little dollhouse, right alongside the various dolls she’d gotten who did things like hunt.

    I can safely say without that gesture of acceptance, I wouldn’t be here today. I’m currently going into schooling to be a cosmetologist when previously I thought I wouldn’t be able to graduate high school. And my cousin corrects her mother when she says things about other girls. “That girl wears too much makeup” is made into “That girl wears the amount of makeup she wants” and “She dresses too skimpy” becomes “She dresses like she wants”, with little input from me.

    How can my cousin be so open minded yet you can’t?

    Despite how skimpy I dress on my free time, I do care about my thoughts and ideas being heard. I write a lot and I’ve had writing published as well as participated in debate, and I regularly advise people on caring for their skin and hair as well as building their confidence, in and out of my school. I dress for myself because my body deserves to dress cute, regardless of how skimpy my idea of cute is. I do not do this for others but for myself.

Trackbacks

  1. […] “Mattel, I Am Seething” post by colleague Melissa Wardy, parent of a 6-year old girl who has watched the toddler high […]

  2. […] a very personal, grizzly mama bear intensity seething send-up of Mattel’s Monster High dolls on Pigtail Pals, ‘Redefining Girly’ site which is actually where I first encountered the Go! Go! Sports Girls as a healthy alternative. She […]

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