Monday, October 1, 2007

The Intruder

She came uninvited into my home. She hid stealthily in the Happy Meal picked up at the drive thru, then concealed herself from the distracted Daddy as he passed out the food. She then endeared herself to my little girl before she could be spirited away unseen.

"Look, Mommy, she has roller skates!" Clever, clever doll. She also has a bare midriff, a mini-skirt, and a low-cut blouse. Not to mention ruby red lips and heavily lined doe eyes, her features arranged in an arrogant smirk.

She is not welcome around here. She put me in a difficult position. I had to explain (again) that in this house we don't play with toys like that. That even though some of her friends' parents allow them to have these types of dolls, we don't feel that it is the right thing for our family.

"Look at her clothes, Grace. What's wrong with the way she is dressed?"

"Well, her shirt is supposed to cover her belly button. And that skirt would be too short for her to wear to school...but can I keep her anyway?"

Oh, that wicked, wicked doll. She put me on the spot again. This spot that I thought could be avoided for a few more years. The same spot I stood on this summer in Target, trying to explain to a six year old why she can't wear the two piece child's bikini that she wanted. The one like her friend had at the pool.

It happened again later that month when we went school shopping, and I just couldn't find any clothes that I liked. What happened to those cute little sundresses with watermelon collars? What happened to those little jumpers with flowers or butterflies on them that look so sweet with tights and Mary Janes? Just because she is shopping in the girls' department now doesn't mean that she is old enough to dress like a pop star.

Those thoughts were swirling around in my head as I looked into the suggestive eyes of that doll. I just didn't understand why. Why would anyone market this trash to young girls? What toy executive is standing in a meeting saying, "No, Jim, make that skirt even shorter! And make that doll's breasts bulge right out of the top of that shirt!" What is the purpose of this marketing trend? Why are they trying to send this message to my daughter?

I'd love to say I marched right into McDonald's and caused a scene, returned the doll, and taught my girls a moral lesson worth remembering. I kind of wish I had. Instead, Grace showed up a little while later, having covered the doll's exposed skin with paper clothing she had colored to match her existing outfit, with Scotch tape covering every inch. Her creativity and ingenuity made me smile.

"I guess that's all right, as long as she keeps those clothes on."

"Yeah, she needed some more clothes. It's too bad I can't wash off all her makeup, Mommy. She really has too much on, doesn't she?" And with that she ran off to play.

No, I'm not totally at peace with my decision to let the doll stay. I will probably sneak the little brat into the trash in a few days after she has been forgotten, like I do with most happy meal toys.

But I can't help feeling like she is going to try to intrude again. I'm afraid the battle has barely begun.


  1. Amen Sistah! We are finally past this now with Allie but we had to ban the Bratts from our house too and also some of the Barbies. My mom gave Allie a Barbie one year for Christmas and Jon burst out "Look! It's street walker Barbie!" and that looked about right.

    And just like you, I don't understand. Why are we trying to sexualize five year olds? Who actually thinks this is a good idea? And just like you, it makes me mad.

  2. Well, I'm not sure if it's better or worse that your three year old nephew received that same toy in his happy meal this weekend. I did almost save it to give to a friend's daughter, then I pulled it out and saw the clothes. NOPE. Into the trash she went.

    I love that Grace made clothes for her, though. That is definitely a creative solution to the problem!

  3. I'm dreading this. I hate that it is a battle we have to fight at all. Really, who thinks it is a good idea to market it to young girls? The makers of Girls Gone Wild? It is ridiculous.

  4. My daughter, Hannah, wants the new Bratts dolls that are in evening wear. She came to me asked if she could have them since they had on decent clothes. I am trying to distract her because I do NOT want to give any of my money to any Bratt product!

  5. i abhor those dolls. you make the point so perfectly. What ARE they thinking when they design that trash and market it to our children?!?!?!? Someone gave my daughter a pair of socks that had monkeys on them, but said "brat" on the bottom of the foot. I threw them away.


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