La De Da: More Fashion Dolls

La De Da dolls main character.

While watching tv together this morning…..

“Mom, are La De Da dolls appropriate? I don’t think they have too much makeup on.” -6yo Original Pigtail Pal

“Well, some of their outfits are really creative and their hair is super cool. But some of their skirts are really short, and they are wearing other items that are usually just for grownups, like fish net stockings and high heels.” -Me

“Well, I think they wear high heels because they live in the city.” -OPP

“Oh, maybe. Except the dolls are supposedly 16. Auntie Courtney and Auntie Lisa and Louise and Lindsey live in big cities. Do they wear high heels and makeup like that?” -Me

“Well, Auntie Lisa can’t because it isn’t safe to wear heels in Africa. I think Auntie Courtney and Louise do when they go out for nights of fashion.” -OPP

“Oh, right. Auntie Courtney does have some fancy heels she wears for special occasions. The only time Auntie Courtney and I have worn makeup like that was in high school when we were being silly for Homecoming.” -Me

“Well, Lindsey can’t wear heels in her science lab because if she drops a beaker of chemicals, her toes will melt off and she’ll become a zombie.” -OPP

“Totally. I think their bodies look like sticks with big heads on top. They look like lollipops.” -Me

“Yeah, they do look like lollipops. So, can I get one of these? They just don’t make nice dolls these days.” -OPP

“You got that right, Sister. Amelia, I want you to realize these dolls aren’t too bad compared to some others, but all they are about is fashion. Design and textiles can be really interesting to study, but these dolls are just about wearing fashion and looking pretty. I’d like it better if they were students at a design school in NYC or at Columbia, and this into fashion. But when wearing cute clothes is their only attribute…. I just want you to realize the four women we talked about who we know in real life all have great wardrobes, but they are also a photographer in Africa, a vice president at a communications firm, a researcher for the government, and a PhD student in chemistry. They all have traveled the world, gone to college, gone to graduate school, and two of them have babies. I’m just saying, there is more to life than fancy eye makeup and super cute dresses.” -Me

“I know, Mom. There’s also zombie experiments. What if when I play with these dolls, I will pretend they are going to college to be President.” -OPP

“President of what, Smalls?” -Me

“The United States.” -OPP


La De Da dolls World Trip Collection




Images from Idle Hands post linked above. (


  1. If these kind of dolls get any skinnier, their legs will break unless they are made of titanium filaments. Lollipops is right! I love what you said to Ameilia. How fortunate you have such great female role models in your own family. Most don’t. Great post that outlines exactly how to have this kind of conversation with a daughter!

    • i say if people want to look or dress like that they can its their business not yours. i think thay look fine they could be much more terrable like brat dolls.

  2. Why are they so skinny? They look like they should be on a commercial for Save the Children or something. She is right, they don’t make great dolls in that size range. My daughter has three “Barbie” dolls that were gifts from friends, two are tattooed fairy dolls and one is Victorious. However, her favourite is her Corolle Chloe Ballerina doll. It’s bigger than the Barbie/Bratz etc… but it’s more natural looking, has adorable clothes, and smells amazing. Now at 10 she really wants a waldorf style doll with a baby sling like one she saw online 🙂

  3. Sarah Curley says:

    Thank you for posting the conversation! I often wonder how I will be able to foster conversations to get my daughter critically thinking (even though right now she’s a toddler so critical thinking and sustained conversation isn’t possible at this point, but I’m thinking ahead!), and this dialogue is exactly the example I needed! My knee-jerk reaction to the OPP’s first question was “no, they aren’t appropriate.” But that wouldn’t lend itself to the kind of reflection and teaching that is necessary. I love that you were able to point out what could be appealing about the dolls (cool hair, creative outfits) but then turn it around and get your daughter to answer her own question. Thank you for this!! And btw, your extended family sounds really strong and full of awesome, too. What great role models!

  4. I just keep hoping that my 3 year old daughter’s current trend of “mothering” her stuffies (rather than the few actual dolls she has) keeps up, the stuffed animals are generally appropriately dressed 😉

  5. That’s the cutest conversation I’ve ever read.I love the fact that your daughter knows how to present her arguments. And it seems like, she’s too smart to think that looks alone can define who she is. It’s just that, like any other little girl, a colorful, shiny doll is too hard too resist. I wonder, did she get a La De Doll?

    Plus Size Fashion

    • Well, these dolls are $20 which I think is really expensive, so Amelia has been told that she has to earn Chore Chart money to cover half of the cost. I also reminded her that if she did that, she would not have spending money for when we visit the Shedd Aquarium before school starts. The ocean is her first true love, and this cooled her heels a little on the doll.

      Aside from the culture outfits being a tish offensive, this line could actually be cute if so many of the dolls weren’t sexualized. And the scary skinny limbs coupled with ginormous heads…..

  6. “They just don’t make nice dolls these days.” I love it!! And I love how you talked this request through with Amelia. Thanks for always inspiring us parents to engage in these conversations with our kiddos.

  7. Auntie Courtney says:

    I want a night of fashion! That sounds amazing. Also, that doll’s head is fully bigger than her body. That’s really weird.

    • I will come babysit Baby T so that you and Louise can hit the streets of DC for a crazy night of fashion. Amelia thinks you are glamorous 😉

  8. I feel disheartened every time I see a new doll like this. Could you put together a list of good dolls I could look into for my daughter? My daughter is 3.5 and though she has a long list of interests (cars, trains, painting, etc.) she still FLOCKS to the pink princess aisle at the store, (I literally start panicking) so I prefer to buy toys for her instead of with her. I want to be prepared and put thought into the dolls I buy her, and right now the only junk in most toy aisles are all Barbie, MH, Bratz, etc. I’d love love love some type of buying guide!

  9. Joanna Pitt says:

    La de da says it all. But seriously, what is with the massive heads? Is this some sort of Freudian thing?

  10. Holly- you might look into the Hearts for Hearts Girls dolls. They dress appropriately, are multicultural and have stories with each doll about girls that are working to make their communities better.

  11. i agree with the principle of your objections to the dolls for your 6 year old, but disagree with your assessment of what is appropriate for a 16 year old to wear. i’m coming from the perspective of someone who wore high heels and fishnets (and also handmade and safety pin adorned outfits, mens pants, all sorts of craziness) at 16, and was also naturally extremely skinny. i looked remarkably like the dolls. i was a straight-A student who wanted to be a clerk for the supreme court, and also spent hours pouring over makeup artistry books and the pages of vogue. besides wearing heavy makeup, i also designed all the makeup for school plays and had a blast doing gory effects makeup on halloween. makeup and heels are not always about sexuality. nor are teens who wear then always only interested in looks and impressing others. sometimes they are about theatre, and about the ability to play with one’s persona. sometimes they’re about canvas and paint being expensive and makeup being cheap. some days in high school i looked like a goth, and some days like a hippy, and some days like a fashion plate. it was about having fun with my image. i struggle sometimes as a feninist, because i love makeup and fashion and am very thin (through no lack of cupcake eating), and i often feel that those things get too harsh a treatment. i hear over and over that i must love what i love and look how i look because i’m objectifying myself, and that’s simply not true. in my own experience, the amount of makeup worn had much less to do with how sexual i was trying to be and much more to do with how adventurous and creative i was trying to be. makeup and fashion are tools, not definitions. they can be used in many ways, some of which are full of awesome. i’m glad that my hippy feminist mother allowed me the freedom to express my creativity, though i’m sure it made her shudder. i get that expressing oneself with makeup and fishnets is not appropriate for a 6 year old, and agree with your concern about the dolls being marketed to young girls. but your posts always seem of the mindset that dressing up is always about sexiness. in all my high school years of heels and makeup and hot pink fish nets i never dated, and was never really interested in doing so or in what boys thought of my look. i didn’t wear makeup to fit in – in fact, i didn’t look like anyone else at my school or really anyone else i knew. i wore makeup because i had so much confidence in myself and my own opinions and tastes that i was free to play with my image. some strong, confident, creative girls wear makeup and heels *because* they are strong, confident, and creative. please don’t count us out, or teach your daughter that wearing makeup says something about who a person is.

    • Betsy –
      I wear make up. I wear heels. The only thing I’m teaching my daughter is that those are adult things to do. Both fishnets and heels have become fetishized items from the pornography and sex trade industries. That isn’t my opinion on dress up or sexiness, it is a fact.

      But how nice for you that you got to play around with your style in high school.

      • hmm, but school uniforms and nurse uniforms (any uniform, for that matter) have also been fetishized by the porn industry. which doesn’t make wearing a uniform of some sort an attempt at sexiness. punk music (which was my introduction to them) and roller derby also feature fishnets, and both are scenes that are generally quite empowering for girls. again i think it comes down to you viewing an article of clothing as a definition of a person rather than a vehicle of expression (which can be used to express either appropriate or inappropriate things).
        it’s your prerogative to raise your daughter in line with your view that heels are never appropriate until one has reached voting age. but please understand that such view leaves out a lot of women and girls who have the confidence in themselves to wear what they like and what sparks their creativity, regardless of whether or not it has ever been worn by a porn star. and choosing to view certain items of clothing as *only* sexy further contributes to their fetishization, and to the fetishization of women. i still wear fishnets, and sometimes it is with sexy intentions and styling and sometimes it is with non-sexy intentions and styling. and i get to make that choice, the clothes don’t make it for me. when i put on fishnets i am not suddenly confined to only sexy things any more than putting on riding boots would confine me to only go to a stable.
        i’m sure i’m going to get nowhere with these comments. it’s just intensely frustrating to be constantly told that if i *look* a certain way or wear a certain thing i must necessarily *be* a certain way. it frustrated me at 16 – when i was already a staunch and vocal feminist – and frustrates me still. feminism often strikes me as just as all-about-image as patriarchy.

        • Betsy –
          I think you are taking my words to have a much harder stance than they really do, mostly because you feel the need to defend the way that you dress. This isn’t about you, and I really have no interest in how you dress yourself. I’m not saying that to be rude. I’m saying that because I really don’t care how other women dress, it is none of my business.

          Fashion only has meaning when we give it context. So fishnets on a sexed up doll, in combination with other sexualized pieces of apparel, is incredibly different than one of my many friends who wear fishnets during roller derby. The dolls we are discussing are a far cry from giving off a Derby or punk vibe (as opposed to say, Ruby Gloom or Emily the Strange), so that comparison is moot. And it is incredibly different than a grown woman deciding to wear them, because as you have clearly demonstrated you understand the various cultural meanings fishnets can hold and as a grown woman, I think you can handle that.

          I do not define people by what they wear, but I do believe in teaching our daughters to have a “personal brand”. If that brand says “cheap sex” because of the cultural ties and values to the apparel they wear, then that girl is going to have to understand what meaning those perceptions carry for the people who interact with her. At six years old, my daughter does not have the ability to comprehend that yet. You are comparing your fashion sense to what my little girl can comprehend, and that just doesn’t work.

          I don’t remember saying that my daughter could not wear heels until she was 18. What I said is that there is a time and a place for makeup and heels, and it isn’t in grade school, which is the demographic these sexualized dolls target. I am teaching my daughter that she can wait for those things, because her job right now is to be a little kid.

  12. Kirsten says:

    It’s kind of interesting, these have the same kind of look that you get from the naive heroines in a lot of anime targeted to girls, like Tohru Honda in Fruits Basket. Big head, heart shaped face, enormous eyes, and a school uniform skirt so short that it’s almost not there. Tohru herself is very capable, caring, and determined.

    I think these doll manufacturers have taken a “type” that has been proven to be attractive and are running with it. But I don’t see the same kind of character in these dolls.

    Betsy, I get what you are saying, makeup and dressing up can be about developing confidence and identity in ways that are completely unrelated to trying to be sexy. But as a mom I have told my kids some things are “grown-up”. There may be some wiggle room at the top there some day, but at age 6 it’s much more effective to tell my son he can watch zombie movies when he’s a grown-up (actually, he decided the age of “grown-ups” was 55, and I imagine he’ll see a zombie movie well before then). When my daughter is 16, maybe she’ll be able to successfully make a case for wearing fishnets to the grocery store, but I’m not going to suggest that it’s appropriate.

  13. I love that your daughter wants to play President with her dolls . . . that’s SENATOR La-Dee-Da to you, sister! I am crossing my fingers that my 5yo sticks with stuffed animals and other toys (she has no fashion dolls, but she’s just now starting Kindergarten, we’ll see)

    . . . and sadly, that “lollipop look” is real thing. There’s an entire world of “thinspiration” and “pro-ana” blogs where young women promote eating-disordered behavior, call each other “fat” if they hit a Size 2, etc. “Lollipop” is a buzzword for losing so much weight that your head looks big 🙁 Anyone who thinks this can’t happen to our sweet little daughters — it’s happening all around us.

    (Also the “kabuki theme” Asian doll and “Safari” African-americanized doll are more than a little offensive! Ick!)

  14. I disagree with most of the comments above. What happen to a time when toys were just toys. Why do all toys now have to have a purpose or be about something. For crying out loud they are toys. Why cant we just let children be children. Do I think these dolls are a litte over the top? Yeah, but my daughter likes them so I am going to buy them. They have the rest of their lives to worry about college, PhD’s, and being successful. For right now I am just going to allow my daughter to be a kid and play with what toys she wants.

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