Have you seen the newest doll for girls? Fairy Tale High is the latest to hit the shelves and I think it has all the prerequisites we have come to expect these days:
~ narrow version of beauty that favors skinny White girls with perfect features
~ impossibly spindly legs supporting giant heads with giant amounts of hair
~ heavy makeup and long, luscious hair styled perfectly
~ short skirts, thigh high stockings, fetishized footwear (lucite heels, anyone?)
~ bare midriffs
~ “Come hither” looks from overly large eyes
~ story lines limited to fashion, singing, and dancing
~ webisodes where characters treat each other horribly until the 3 second feel-good spot at the end
~ faux-social marketing meant to masquerade as empowerment
Here’s the website if you want to see more: www.fairytalehigh.com
If this was the only brand like this, it wouldn’t be so offensive. But when this is all that is marketed to our daughters in the mainstream by company after company, it sells our daughters short. If Fairy Tale High was on the shelf next to the Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Sonia Sotomayor dolls I would tell parents that you can choose how to spend your dollars in the marketplace and ultimately it is up to you to make good decisions about the media and messages that come into your home. But when there is such a lack of choice, how much room for healthy and responsible decisions to we really have? Did you take into consideration the billions spent on children’s advertising each year? Is it fair that parents have to constantly be battling inappropriate and sexualized, stereotyped media? I didn’t sign up for this when I had kids.
People will come back and say two things:
1. Just don’t buy it.
2. Companies don’t raise your kids, you do.
This kind of lowest-common denominator garbage dominates the marketplace, leaves girls with a very narrow definition of who they can be and leaves them lacking any real role models, teaches boys not to expect much from girls, and reinforces gender stereotypes about girls for those who view these toys and are inundated with the marketing and merchandising. Can parents provide different role models? Absolutely, but it doesn’t take an exceptionally clever kid to figure out very quickly what our society values from females and what it doesn’t.
I think a lot of parents do raise their children well and have a vested interested in having these children enter adulthood as whole, intelligent, accomplished people. It is a shame so many toy companies don’t share those same values, especially when it comes to our girls.
I am going to spend the rest of the day obsessing over a Sonia Sotomayor action figure. Because I need media like Fairy Tale High to die. Compare the FTH webisode when Cinderella’s lucite heel falls off in the hallway and she becomes a limping, exasperated mess to the video below of the Bronte sisters, and ask yourself if maybe the toy industry for girls doesn’t suck just a little bit.
Look at Sotomayor and Ginsburg in the new portrait for the National Portrait Gallery, they smolder confidence, intelligence, and I detect a little bit of badassness off Ginsburg. Which is so much more desirable than looking like a piece of sparkly bubble gum, a la Fairy Tale High.